SEG awarded $257K grant to expand into Newport, Pawtucket/Central Falls

PROVIDENCE – Social Enterprise Greenhouse has received a $257,321 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to expand the organization’s footprint in Newport and Pawtucket/Central Falls, U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Reps. David N. Cicilline and James R. Langevin announced Thursday.

The organization also received a local match of equal value, according to the EDA, for the project titled, “Building a Statewide, Inclusive Innovation Ecosystem.” The local match came from a consortium of entities, including but not limited to Delta Dental, the Island Foundation, the Newman’s Own Foundation, the R.I. Department of Labor and Training and United Natural Foods Inc.

SEG’s project said it aims to spur entrepreneurial activity in some of Rhode Island’s new Opportunity Zones. The project includes two regional satellites other than its headquarters in Providence, one in Newport and the other in Pawtucket/Central Falls.

“The SEG Community is honored and thrilled to receive this award from the EDA,” stated Kelly Ramirez, CEO of SEG. “The support will enable us to more intentionally expand our footprint into communities across Rhode Island, particularly those designated as Opportunity Zones. The end goal is to ensure that more businesses and entrepreneurs have access to and can leverage the resources of Rhode Island’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.”

- Advertisement -

SEG said that initial efforts will focus on conducting entrepreneurial landscape and needs assessments, engaging in outreach and recruitment, providing business technical assistance and concierge services customized to local needs, and delivering coaching and ongoing network support.

The funding was awarded as part of the EDA’s i6 Innovation Challenge, which supports the creation of centers for innovation and invests funds to accelerate entrepreneurship across the United States through regional innovation strategies competitions.

The i6 competition also made an award to Fall River-based ACTION Innovation Network’s Plymouth Rock Project, which will develop and expand programs that assist international startups forming or expanding their ventures in the greater Boston region. The organization received $271,240 in federal funds also matched dollar-for-dollar by local funds.

The two local organizations were among 24 awarded nationally in the 2018 i6 program.

Chris Bergenhim is the PBN web editor. Email him at