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TOMÁS ÁVILA TOOK OVER as associate director for the R.I. Office of Diversity, Equity and Opportunity last August. / PBN FILE PHOTO/MIKE SKORSKI

Is help on the way for R.I.’s Minority Business Enterprise program?

THE STATE IS STILL STRUGGLING to overcome decades of dysfunction around tracking and enforcing its laws for contracting with minority-owned businesses, even after a...

State of Innovation: R.I.’s ecosystem for entrepreneurs shows resilience

For the developers of Pointz, a navigation app geared toward safer routes for cyclists, Rhode Island offered a wealth of mentoring and networking opportunities,...

Unique gift reflects broad appeal

The concept started as a gift: Toye Onikoyi, a ­University of Rhode Island graduate who was working as an engineer at Rite-Solutions Inc. in...
SETTING UP SHOP: Laura Guillén, the new Rhode Island executive director for Entrepreneurship for All, is forming a network of mentors and prospective program participants. / PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO

Mass. business incubator arrives in Providence

Getting a business off the ground is no easy feat, especially for people of color. And if Rhode Island’s undersized share of minority-owned businesses is...
FINDING PURPOSE: Lexus Fernandez, right, launched her vegan skincare products company Soulita in Providence with co-founder Evan Delpeche in 2019 after seeking a solution for her sensitive skin as a result of treatment for a ruptured brain aneurysm. / PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO

Everybody’s Business: Fernandez overcomes obstacles on journey to finding Soulita

(Editor’s note: This is the 20th installment in a monthly series speaking with minority business owners and leaders. Each are asked their views on...

‘Biz Bodega’ to assist central Providence entrepreneurs

PROVIDENCE – For entrepreneurs, community resources often play an invaluable role in launching or growing a business. But for some, these innovation opportunities are...

R.I. Black Business Association accepting scholarship applications

PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Black Business Association and the Institute of Economic Empowerment & Development are now accepting applications for the association’s 2022...
INTERSTATE BUSINESS: Nina Reed, owner of Sarcastic Sweets LLC, operates a food truck in Rhode Island but had difficulty finding a location for a café in Providence and decided to open one across the state line in Seekonk. / PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO

Facing challenges in R.I., she set up shop in Seekonk

(Editor’s note: This is the 16th installment in a monthly series speaking with minority business owners and leaders. Each will be asked their views...
NEXT GEN: M&G Plumbing Supply Co. owner Richard Correia, left, speaks with stock clerk Alex Knowles. Correia is of Portuguese descent but sees no need to participate in the state Minority Business Enterprise program. His father, John, emigrated from the Azores and started in the business in the 1960s. / PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO

WHO IS A MINORITY? Some argue R.I. needs to reexamine groups...

John Correia’s thick Azorean accent made him an easy target when he immigrated to Rhode Island in 1963. He was called a “greenhorn” and accused...
NEARLY 23% OF THE $103.8 million in contracts and purchase orders the city of Providence awarded in fiscal year 2020 went to certified women and minority businesses. / PBN FILE PHOTO/CHRIS BERGENHEIM

City, state have differing outcomes on minority contracting goal

While the state continues to fall short of its requirements for contracting with minority and women-owned businesses, the city of Providence has, for the...

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