Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG) awarded $80,000 to 16 distinct Rhode Island small businesses and nonprofits through its recently launched Microgrant Fund. Each awardee received up to $5,000 to support key activities or obtain the necessary tools that will help take ventures to the next level. SEG’s Microgrant Fund was established with an initial gift from donors Mary Elleen and Chris Patton earlier this year. 

“Over the years, we have consistently heard from our community of entrepreneurs and ventures that access to early stage capital is a challenge and that small amounts of grant funding can make a significant difference in helping impact ventures launch and grow. We are very well positioned to make strategic decisions around early stage philanthropic investments because we get to know the entrepreneurs and their ventures as they participate in and graduate from our programs” said Kelly Ramirez, CEO of SEG. “We are so grateful for the foresight and trust of donors Mary Elleen and Chris Patton who seeded this fund. We plan to continue to seek philanthropic funding to further grow the fund and continue to better meet the demand for this type of seed investment.”

The businesses and organizations supported through these grants are leading a broad range of initiatives that include paid peer mental health advocacy, training for members of the nation’s first co-op for neurodivergent adults, bringing the benefits of sea kelp to soil in farms and community gardens, and construction costs for a new space that offers equitable healthcare for Black, Brown, and LGBTQ+ community members. The ventures are spread out across all parts of Rhode Island and represent nearly one quarter of the state’s cities and towns.

“Rhode Island’s social impact ecosystem has grown over the years because of SEG’s impact. We are proud to support local businesses and nonprofits that are focused on leading initiatives that simultaneously push toward a common good and spark economic growth,” said SEG donors Mary Elleen and Chris Patton. “The SEG Microgrant Fund provides promising ventures with an influx of targeted investment for specific needs.”

SEG will award another round of grants later this year and will accept applications through mid-September. All graduates of the SEG Incubator and Accelerator programs are eligible for funding. More details about the SEG Microgrant Fund can be found here.  

Since SEG launched in 2009, more than 1,800 entrepreneurs and companies have participated in SEG programs. SEG was one of the first incubation and accelerator organizations in the country to focus on social impact as a pathway to create opportunities, especially for those entrepreneurs and businesses that traditionally face barriers to access.

The microgrant recipients (with their mission statements) include:

  • 3B Thrift Shop Store | Central Falls, RI

Ayudar a la ciudadania de bajos recursos de Central Falls y ciudades limítrofes a obtener articulos usados pero en buenas condiciones, a bajos precios tales como ropa y zapatos. A su vez, estaremos a recuperar toneladas de artículos que pueden ser reutilizados por mayor tiempo sin necesidad de convertirse en toneladas de basura que pueden crear conta.

  • Break Through Waves | Providence, RI

At Break Through Waves, adults learn to lead lives of balance in mind, body, and spirit. Together we harness the healing force of the ocean through surf therapy, yoga, and mindfulness.

  • Conexion Latina Newport | Newport, RI

Conexion Latina educates, informs, mobilizes and creates a leadership pipeline for Hispanics in Newport, as well as advises and partners with social services, businesses, education and government agencies, on how to increase access and best meet the needs of the Newport Hispanic Community.

  • Ends+Stems | Rumford, RI

Ends+Stems provides awareness, practical education, inspiration and support for home cooks so they can run their kitchens more sustainably and with less stress; specifically by reducing wasted food.

  • GATHER TOGETHER UNITED AS 1 | Providence, RI

GTUA1 seeks to empower its community to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty, through engagement, education, advocacy, and innovative programming that drives system-level change.

  • Giving Beyond the Box, LLC | Wakefield, RI

Giving Beyond the Box curates gift boxes that feature item from local businesses, social enterprises, women- and BIPOC owned businesses, local farmers, Providence-based artists and others. They seek to promote and build a more inclusive and generative economy.

  • Hope Scholars Initiative | Providence, RI

Their goal is to provide social and emotional support for youth through Hip Hop based practices.

  • Legacy Home Improvement, LLC | Woonsocket, RI 

Legacy Home Improvement, LLC delivers high quality trade services to both small and large businesses/customer base. They are a trustworthy company that not only thrives to fulfill customer satisfaction, but also works closely with community ties to create impact and build skilled trades workers.

  • LUNA Community Care | Pawtucket, RI

LUNA Community Care is a cooperative community led by/for Neurodivergent adults offering peer support, trainings, consultations, and activities that celebrate joy!

  • Omena, Inc | Providence, RI

Omena’s mission is to equip children and young adults with social and emotional intelligence tools, in hopes to build a more self-loving, self-aware, and empathic generation who ultimately foster healthy relationships and prevent abuse and violence worldwide, starting in Madagascar.

  • Rhody Wild Sea Gardens | Narragansett, RI 

Rhody Wild Sea Gardens grows sugar kelp in Narragansett Bay, RI to both fuel the local and regional food system and also to provide vital ecosystem services to our marine environment. 

  • Taylor Health Enterprises/Lotus Noire Health | East Providence, RI

Providing culturally sensitive, trauma informed, and equitable healthcare for Black, Brown, and LGBTQ community members.

  • Thrive Outside | Bristol, RI

Thrive Outside is on a mission to give all kids and teens the opportunity to fall in love with nature and to thrive through the experience. We believe that hands-on outdoor learning, nature play, and environmental literacy are all essential to educating the whole child.

  • Urban Perinatal Education Center | Providence, RI

Urban Perinatal Education creates a space for perinatal equity through three lenses: culturally congruent care and community, supporting equity in care and building a workforce for change. Their focus is to create a safe space for perinatal care for those adversely affected by poor perinatal health outcomes among the BIPOC community.

  • RI Women in the Trades | Providence, RI

The Rhode Island Women in the Trades educates, organizes and expands RI’s current and future tradeswomen to become one voice advocating to ensure fair and equal access to information, training and opportunity for employment in the construction industry.

  • Roots2Empower | Providence, RI

Root2Empower’s mission improves the lives of formerly justice-involved citizens and their families in Southern New England.

SEG has always been outcome and impact focused. Since launching, SEG’s network of ventures have grown to support more than 3,000 jobs. An estimated 80 percent of SEG Accelerator graduates are operational and employ on average five people. By comparison, the Small Business Association reports roughly half of all startups close shop within five years of founding and only 30 percent are operational 10 years after launching. SEG’s ventures are firmly rooted in social impact and span a variety of industries, including health and wellness, food and agriculture, and environment. Combined, SEG’s ventures have reached more than 5 million people.

About Social Enterprise Greenhouse: Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG) accelerates impact by providing inclusive support and networks for entrepreneurs and businesses committed to positive societal and economic change. SEG fosters an ecosystem of diverse stakeholders who work to enable a more just, equitable, and resilient economy. SEG is based in Rhode Island and operates statewide virtually and from sites in Providence, Newport, and Pawtucket/Central Falls. Its network of 1,800+ enterprises and 200+ business and community leaders contributes time, expertise, and funding to grow Rhode Island’s social impact ecosystem. To learn more, visit www.segreenhouse.org.

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