By PBN Staff
PROVIDENCE – The first class of eight social entrepreneurs graduated Wednesday from the new Change Accelerator incubator program created by Social Venture Partners Rhode Island, a nonprofit that provides guidance to other organizations.
The eight-week mentor program for small organizations offered workshops about mentoring, business-plan refinement and early-stage seed capital at the Rhode Island Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Providence.
“We are thrilled to play this important role in helping to launch businesses in Rhode Island,” said Chuck Holland, chairman of Social Venture Partners’ board. “This program … meets the needs of these unique, mission-based businesses at a time when the social enterprise sector is gaining speed and power nationally.”
The program’s first class of eight social entrepreneurs, as chosen from 20 applicants and described by its organizers, are:
The Change Accelerator was inspired by Betaspring, a 12-week incubator program for startup companies launched in the city last year, after being conceived at SVPRI’s Social Enterprise Summer, held at Bryant University last November. The graduation was scheduled to be attended by a number of state officials and business leaders.
“Rhode Island has a real opportunity to position itself as a national leader in the rapidly growing field of social enterprise,” said Kelly Ramirez, executive director of Social Venture Partners and founder of the Change Accelerator. “The state has a high concentration of innovative social ventures – more than 100 – a pipeline of new ventures coming out of our universities, and an enabling environment that few other places rival.”
A report on the statewide impact of social enterprises is scheduled to be released Nov. 5 at the Social Enterprise Rhode Island Summit at Bryant University.
Additional information is available at socialenterpriseri.org.