RIBBA offering loans, technical services to minority entrepreneurs

PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Black Business Association is calling upon all “young minority entrepreneurs” to make a pitch for a $3,000 business loan with a “very low” interest rate and three to six months of “high-value” customized technical services.

It’s called the Millennial Pitch Competition, the association announced Wednesday. Eight winners will receive both a loan and the services.

The event is open to all minority entrepreneurs in Rhode Island ages 18 to 30. It’s scheduled for Feb. 23 at The Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center, also known as the Met School, at 325 Public St. in Providence. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“Access to capital for this underserved population is very limited,” said Lisa Ranglin, the association’s president. “We are offering [the association’s] unique approach of combining a … low-interest business loan with expert technical services to help them grow their businesses. Business information is an effective way to decrease unemployment.”

- Advertisement -

Despite reports of record low unemployment among minorities, federal labor statistics for October 2018 showed a nearly 20 percent unemployment rate among 18-year-old blacks and a nearly 17 percent unemployment rate among Latino youths, according to the association. Those jobless rates are about 30 percent higher than the rate for 18-year-old whites, the group said.

The association is organizing the Millennial Pitch Competition in collaboration with the Met Entrepreneur Center and the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. Those interested in participating can call (401) 383-1179 or visit the association’s website at www.ri-bba.com to apply. The deadline for applications is Jan. 31.

“The business competition will support young Rhode Island minority entrepreneurs who seldom have access to capital or resources of any kind,” said Jodie Woodruff, director of the Met Entrepreneur Center.

“We are joining together to support the efforts of ambitious young entrepreneurs who have chosen to generate income by starting and growing a business,” said Keno Mullins, director of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

Scott Blake is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Blake@PBN.com.