Archive for year: 2020

Rhode Island Black Business Association Now Accepting Applications for Young Adult Mentor Program Pilot

Providence, RI – Monday, October 5, 2020 -The Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA) and its charitable arm that focuses on empowerment and training related activities – the Institute of Economic Empowerment & Development (IEED), are now accepting applications for mentors and mentees to participate in the LEAP (Leadership Equity Accelerated Pathway) Initiative Mentor Program Pilot.

The mission of the LEAP Initiative is to train and support individuals through their academic and early careers by providing well-informed programs and services that strengthen their skills and support the many complex challenges they face. The LEAP Initiative’s Mentor Program is the first stage in this transformative and multi-layered initiative focused on developing a sustainable generation of diverse, empowered, and well-informed individuals.

The LEAP Mentor Program will take place over the course of 6 months, from the beginning of November  2020 until the end of May 2021. Mentors will be matched with middle school through early career aged mentees. Mentor and Mentee pairs will work together solving attainable goals, resolving challenges and removing barriers with the support of IEED. The deadline for applications is October 28, 2020.

“We’re extremely proud to be launching the LEAP Initiative with the Mentor Program Pilot,” said Lisa Ranglin – President of Rhode Island Black Business Association. “I’m confident that this transformative and impactful program will change the trajectory of people’s lives. There are a wide number of barriers and challenges that underrepresented individuals face throughout their academic and career journeys. We are working diligently to support young people as they navigate these roadblocks and to provide them with mentorship and evaluate each of their needs to determine what else supports their route to success.”

The initiative and program are informed by the Community Advisory Board for Young Adults. Each program detail has been assessed and designed by future participants as well as the business community, ensuring all individuals who are impacted are involved in the planning. The LEAP Mentor Program Pilot is free for both mentors and mentees.

To participate in the program, interested individuals can find more information and the mentee and mentor applications here. For more information on how to  support this program and overall initiative, contact:

 The Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA) is an independent non-profit organization. RIBBA’s purpose is to leverage the region’s core assets to find solutions in the areas that matter most to the business and community: quality jobs, quality growth, and quality of life. Our membership is open to the public and includes both small storefronts and large corporations – no matter the size or type of business, and professionals. We provide proactive policies, aggressive advocacy, and meaningful investor services that impact our members’ bottom line.

The Institute for Economic Empowerment and Development is a 501 (c) (3) charitable arm of RIBBA and provides mentorship/career/ business readiness training and financial support for RIBBA’s initiatives and programs by the way of grants and fundraisers. Learn More, call 401-383-1179 or e-Mail:

R.I. Black-owned businesses seek a level playing field’

PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island needs to do more to ensure that minority-owned businesses receive their fair share of state contracts, Black business leaders said Thursday at a news conference.

But the problem goes further than just state contracts, said Lisa Ranglin, founder and president of the Rhode Island Black Business Association, which organized the news conference.

Ranglin called the state of black business in Rhode Island alarming, and cited several statistics.

Read full article online:

R.I. Black-owned businesses seek a level playing field’


The Rhode Island Black Business Association proposes that Commerce RI establish an Office of Microbusiness Support, to be administered and staffed by RIBBA. The Office will permanently target support to low revenue under-served microbusinesses, the very small businesses that cannot qualify for the current SBA Disaster Loan, and generally don’t qualify for SBA loans at all.

In late March and early April, beauty salon owners and retail business owners began to contact RIBBA desperate for a loan or other assistance to sustain their businesses during this crisis. None of the businesses that contacted us were aware of any of the loan and grant programs established to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19. In response, in addition to serving our current clients, RIBBA has made counseling and technical assistance available to help clients harmed by the COVID-19 crisis negotiate applications for financial support and we have established our own emergency loan program of up to $5,000. Business owners can call RIBBA at 401-383-1179 to request support or go to our website to apply for assistance,

At RIBBA, we believe that providing permanent support for low revenue microbusinesses is essential both during and after this crisis. These underserved businesses are the core of our neighborhoods – they are various stores, beauty salons, nail salons, barbershops, breakfast shops, pizza parlors, and more. In RI, there are around 22,000 businesses with 9 or fewer employees – microbusinesses. Nationally, microbusiness owners who work full time, earn less than $50,000 in sales and receipts.

Actions taken to combat the COVID-19 virus have already forced many RI microbusinesses to close. Without encouragement and financial support, many will not reopen. And the expected economic recession is likely to all but wipe out RI’s small minority microbusiness community almost all of which earn business revenue considerably lower than non-minority small business revenues. And with lower revenue, minority businesses have fewer resources to help them weather this crisis.

RIBBA counselors and experts stand ready to assist microbusiness owners who need assistance to apply for loans and grants, and advice on how to assist their employees or former employees to get through this crisis.