How to: Prepare for Upcoming COVID-19 Business Relief Grants


Previous COVID-19 relief funds drastically missed RI’s own Black and minority businesses. We know that new business relief funds are on their way, and want to help you prepare as best as possible. Here are some tips on how you can prepare:


How to look up your D-U-N-S Number if you can’t find?

  1. Click Here: D&B D-U-N-S Number Lookup (
  2. Select “My company” in the Search for Line
  3. Click on Business Name or Business Phone
    1. Try them both if one does not work
  4. Your business should pop up if you already have a D-U-N-S Number
  5. Choose to modify Business Information or have your D-U-N-S Number emailed.
  6. Your Business Information on Duns & Bradstreet should match your current address and phone number for your business.


How to sign up for a D-U-N-S Number

  1. Click Here: Get a D-U-N-S Number – Establish Your Business – D&B (
  2. Pick your reason: Choose US Government Contractor or Grantee
  3. Click Continue
  4. Select Your Country: United States of America
  5. Click Continue
  6. Enter your Business information
  7. Type in the correct captcha and click submit.
  8. Locate your business on the list
    1. Look for your exact name and address
    2. Click request or modify information to update
  9. Request the number or make the necessary changes.
  10. A Duns and Bradstreet Agent will be in contact in a couple days to verify your identity ad the business and provide an update.


*Please Note: You can use the contact information on the bottom of the links to get assistance from a Duns & Bradstreet Agent. The screenshot below shows the available options.  




How to look Up your NAICS Code:

Click Here: NAICS & SIC Identification Tools | NAICS Association

The NAICS code is a requirement on your Business Tax Return even if you file as Self-Employed on a Schedule C. NAICS is the North American Industry Industry Classification System. This code will identify the industry your business operates in. Using the correct industry code on your tax return will make it easier to apply for industry specific programs. Registration with the Secretary of State also suggests to identify all the Industries your Business operates in using the NAICS code.*Please Note: A Business can use multiple NAICS codes



How to register your business with to obtain a unique entity ID 

Step 1: Create an account at: Welcome – this will provide you the log in credentials to submit documents and log into your account in the future. 

Step 2: Gather Documents: Representations and certifications questionnaire 

  • Points of contact (mandatory and optional points of contact) 
  • Gathering documents can be different for each business. It depends on the complexity of your interest in obtaining a ID. Some documents will require the services of a notary. *This process could take 2 to 3 days.*

Step 3: Submit your documents via the portal with your log in credentials.



Need more assistance, contact RIBBA to meet with a Business Development Specialist:

LEAP Mentor Program – 3rd Cohort Launched!

On December 2nd, RIBBA welcomed 15 new mentees into the newly expanded LEAP Mentor Program. These 15 young adults will work with mentors over the next 5 months to refine their goals and navigate barriers to achieving them.
In addition, the newly expanded program will provide not just mentorship, but also help each participant identify and utilize their strengths, provide education on financial literacy and work readiness, as well 1:1 sessions with career and financial coaches.
Since the program’s start, we’ve been able to support over 40 mentees. We’re grateful to our sponsor Bay Coast and funding partner Real Jobs Rhode Island for making this expanded program a reality.
For more information on upcoming cohorts, please contact Amanda Roman | Director of Program Development & Operations |

Emerging Leader Highlight: Edinalia Lopes

Edinalia Lopes is a Financial Analyst at IGT and a participant in the inaugural Emerging Leaders Development Program provided by RIBBA. 

1. What has being a part of the Emerging Leaders Program meant to you?

Being part of the Leadership program means many different things for me.  It gives me a chance to network with other professionals from RI, from different industries/cultures.  Though I am not currently in a leadership position, this program caught my eye because I would like to grow in my career and this program is a way for me to learn more about what I personally need to get there. I wish this type of program was part of college/grad school curriculum because so many of the things we are learning can help everyone not only in their careers but also understand what leadership qualities they have and what they need to work on to strengthen.  The program has given me a chance to step back from the day to day things I do for my career and evaluate myself; learn more about myself and learn about what qualities I have to become a great leader.

2. What’s the most significant think you’ve learned so far?

The program is teaching me more on how to be a genuine/unique leader and I feel like I couldn’t learn that elsewhere.  Before this I felt like I had to fit a mold and follow what past leaders have done to be successful but now I am starting to understand how my unique abilities and characteristics can help me get to where I want to go.   I think that is the most significant thing I have learned; that I can become a leader using my own strengths and not have to change everything about myself to be the type of a leader that others might expect me to be.

3. How has understanding your strengths changed the way you see yourself?

First of all,  there were some things about myself that I didn’t know were strengths for great leaders! For example, when we took the assessment test and one of my qualities came out to be Empathy.  I now realize how big of a strength empathy is for a leader, whereas before I thought of it as more of a weakness.  I thought it would be seen as “caring too much” or “feeling too much”;  now I see that it is one of the best qualities, especially now that I understand more about emotional intelligence and using it to lead. We are only half way through the program and I feel like I’ve learned so much about myself so far.

 I think this program would be beneficial for anyone, In any area of work or career levels.  Learning about our strengths, how to use our unique abilities, emotional intelligence and understanding the difference between managing and leading, is greatly needed!  It can be an asset to someone just coming out of college or someone who’s been in their career for years; you can learn new things about yourself at any stage of life.  Someone starting their careers can use this program to get a leg up, learn and hone on their strengths; and someone further in their career can learn new ways to lead and strengthen some of the characteristics they might not have given importance to, in the past. The world is changing and we can ‘t assume that the old ways of leading will keep working, so I would highly recommend this program to everyone!


The Emerging Leaders Development Program prepares high-performing BIPOC professionals for advancement into senior leadership and executive roles while raising their visibility as a force within their organization and community. This 6-month leadership program is designed to provide participants with the additional knowledge, skills and tools that they will need to take their career to the next level. Learn more.

Passion on Purpose: A Perspective on the Kickoff to the RIBBA Emerging Leaders Development Program

Achiever. Responsibility. Relator. Futuristic. Learner. 

These are not randomly selected descriptors—there is purpose, power, and possibility in each of them. There is also purpose, power, and possibility in each of the people that represent these strengths. These 5 descriptors are the most highly represented strengths according to the Gallup Clifton Strengths assessment for the inaugural RIBBA Emerging Leaders Development Program cohort.  Thanks to the team at Leadership Rhode Island, we were able to learn just what each of our top strengths mean for us specifically, how we can use them effectively, and how they show up in the spaces and circumstances we find ourselves in. Additionally, thanks to Anne Lipsitz, we were able to consider and articulate how understanding, embracing, and aligning our strengths can help us build a strong personal brand as well as facilitate organizational and overall success. It was a fantastic and inspirational day, and we are humbled and excited to share some initial perspectives on the experience of the start of the program. 

On Tuesday, October 12, 2021, 25 dynamic, talented, and passionate people came together to launch a journey with different expressions of a common goal: to continue to develop their professional and personal trajectories and increase and enhance opportunities for success. This looks different and shows up in varying ways for each of these unique people, but one thing we can all agree on is that this program will be lifechanging and undoubtedly impactful—it already has been.  

To begin with, none of us are part of this incredible effort by chance. Lisa Ranglin, the RIBBA team, and countless other collaborators have been on a journey for some time to make this opportunity a reality, and just at the right time, it came to fruition. It is no secret and nothing new that leaders of color tend to have fewer opportunities for promotion, fewer chances for leadership roles, fewer opportunities for board representation, fewer pay increases, and the list goes on, however, the story does not end there. What is remarkable about the Emerging Leaders Development Program is that it provides a unique opportunity for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) professionals to experience an intentional and customized program that equally builds on their experiences and addresses the areas individually that they need assistance with. All of this is in a valiant and paramount effort to challenge the narrative that there are not enough leaders of color to succeed in critical, elevated, and powerful roles. As was discussed on Day 1, the members of this cohort came to be leaders, but the reality is that we are already leaders, and in some cases, without us realizing it—we just need appropriate, affirming, and inclusive space to amplify and leverage our talents. In other words, we have the skills to succeed and simply need to maximize them.  

Each of the 25 participants come from different vantage points and experiences, varying companies, work and educational backgrounds, with varying skills, talents and interests. Despite our differences, we are all committed to maximizing our individual and collective experiences and in turn, shifting the tide of leadership in Rhode Island and beyond, and increasing the chances of success for ourselves, our families, and our communities forever. This is excellence personified and we hope to help make this experience possible for future leaders to come.  

By Stephanie Mireku and Tyler Joseph, Emerging Leaders Development Program Participants

Orange Live Entertainment, Forgivable Micro-Loan Recipient

Orange Live Entertainment is a Multi-media Platform that offers videography, animation, writing, advisement, hosting and more. The owner of Orange Live Entertainment is Damont Combs, who started out in Jamaica Queens, New York where he began being involved with poetry and other artistic activities. When moving to Rhode Island, he had to adjust to living in a new environment while attending Johnson & Wales University. Some of the accomplishments he made along the way included starting out an Open Mic Night at Blue State Café located in Rhode Island, publishing his first poetry book My Poem My Riddle. Damont published other poetry books in 2016, 2017 and 2018 that are in bookstores in Rhode Island such as Stillwater Books and JW Brown.

Eventually in 2018, Damont became a full-time poet, competed in a national competition and earned a National Poet of the Year award. He took the show on the road and performed poetry at places such as laundry mats, barbershops and churches. In 2019, he was recognized as a Rhode Island Mentor of the year. From 2020 throughout 2021, Damont has continued to see more success, such as: working with the Pawtucket Art Council, hosting events with the PVD Outspoken Festival, helping local poets obtain fair financial compensation as a poetry agent, and is looking forward to working with Providence Latino Film Festival.

Damont’s journey and accomplishments are what make him so appreciative of the Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA) and the support given to him. Damont received a forgivable micro-loan from RIBBA to help him get a more advanced computer and to pay for a part-time assistant. These essential business needs will help his full vision for the business come to fruition.

It is widely known that art helps communities get through hard times and Damont hopes to continue growing Orange Live Entertainment to do just that.

To learn more about Damont Combs and Orange Live Entertainment, click here.

Written by Angelika Walker, RIBBA Intern

Born to Lead-Business Highlight: Born-O Uniforms

RIBBA’s mission is made possible by a stellar community of businesses, staff, volunteers, and supporters. We’d like to place a spotlight on one of the members of this incredible network: Born-O Uniforms. 

Elisabeth Borno, CEO & Co-Founder of Born-O Uniforms, knew from an early age that she wanted to pursue an entrepreneurial path. During her childhood, she learned firsthand about the opportunities and challenges of business ownership as her parents, originally from Haiti, did this successfully, and in turn helped her to create a similar life vision. Knowing full well the dynamic journey of being an entrepreneur, Elisabeth’s mother encouraged her to have another formal career before venturing into business full time. Although her steps did not take her down this road immediately, she upheld the patience and tenacity to keep moving toward her dream despite obstacles along the way.  

As a survivor of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake and having experienced homelessness, Elisabeth is very familiar with overcoming adversity. Two of the most outstanding and consistent aspects of Elisabeth’s story are her unwavering commitment to her life’s vision, as well as her incredibly resilient and vibrant spirit. Three months after surviving the earthquake, Elisabeth’s parents made arrangements for her to attend nursing school in the Dominican Republic. It was during her time on the front lines of the nursing profession that she found her passion and witnessed a need for increased access to high quality medical resources. After considering how she could combine her passion for serving her community and giving back with ensuring appropriate access to quality medical resources, Elisabeth co-founded Born-O Uniforms along with her husband, Yves, in 2018.  

An advocate for mental health and equity, Elisabeth incorporates these causes into her work every day. For her customers, she ensures that medical professionals have the appropriate attire and resources to focus on their work rather than stressing about how to prepare. For her staff, she supports and mentors team members from various backgrounds, experiences, and skillsets in order to help facilitate understanding and empathy for the customer community. What sets Born-O Uniforms apart from other similar businesses is a close-knit, family feeling among customers and a focus on price, comfort, and quality. Elisabeth, Yves, and their team make it their mission to provide ready-made medical resources for their customers. This includes uniforms of all sizes that are wrinkle-free, soil resistant, and anti-microbial as well as stethoscopes, bags, badge reels, and other accessories to facilitate safety and comfort and lessen the burden on this community. 

Despite Elisabeth’s resiliency and steadfast commitment, she has faced challenges as an entrepreneur, and particularly as a business owner that identifies as a woman of color. Elisabeth, along with many other BIPOC business owners, faces questions of competency, limited access to resources, and fewer opportunities to advance and grow a network. According to Elisabeth, the key to making entrepreneurship more equitable is to “eliminate bias first” and then all else will follow. It is for these reasons among others that organizations like RIBBA are so essential to the success and growth of BIPOC owned businesses like Born-O Uniforms. Elisabeth and Born-O have received a myriad of services from RIBBA including grants, loans, capacity building and operational services, and marketing assistance. Elisabeth is grateful to RIBBA for making the journey of being a business owner much smoother as Born-O navigates their next phase and experiences growth at a fast pace.  

As Born-O Uniforms moves forward in their trajectory as a business, increased and aligned funding sources will be key to success. The team has already proven themselves and their business model to be effective, which continues to be evident as they grow. For example, the team is currently hard at work on a brand re-vamp and launch of new products that they are very excited about. Elisabeth admits it is not an easy path to manage a business, particularly because you can’t “check out”; but rather, you are always thinking about how to make your business better and considering its progress. With this in mind, her mantra is “If you’re running and it feels like too much, you can walk”, or, adjust your strategy or task to match your energy until you are ready to go back to where you started. To rising entrepreneurs, Elisabeth advises “don’t give up”; and in business and in life, she never has. As a business owner, family woman, nurse, student, recent graduate, and military personnel, Elisabeth holds many different roles. She is a firm believer that when challenges happen, it is critical to find a way to turn them into the best outcome possible as well as to use your story and what happens to you to become resilient and build yourself up. That is her story, and we hope, along with Elisabeth, that it will be the story of many rising entrepreneurs of diverse backgrounds. With continued support of businesses like Born-O and organizations like RIBBA, it will continue to be a reality. 


For more information about Born-O Uniforms, please visit: 

For more information about RIBBA, please visit:  

About the author: Stephanie Mireku is RIBBA’s volunteer Content Writer and works with businesses, volunteers, and community members to highlight their and RIBBA’s work. Her passion for writing of all kinds, and background in English and Business Administration fueled her interest in combining these areas through the Content Writer role. Stephanie first became involved with RIBBA through the LEAP Mentoring program as a mentee in the 2021 cohort. She is enthusiastic about relationship building, mission centric creativity, social impact, and philanthropy, and puts this into action through various outlets including her work as an Assistant Director of Alumni Relations at Providence College.  







RIBBA & URI Announce Launch of Emerging Leaders Development Program for BIPOC Leaders

RIBBA is now accepting participants for the fall 2021 Emerging Leaders Development Program Pilot   

Providence, RI – Wednesday, June 2, 2021 – 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), announce the launch of the Emerging Leaders Development Program. The 6-month leadership program prepares high-performing BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, & People of Color) professionals for advancement into senior leadership and executive roles while raising their visibility as a force within their organization and community. The program will be delivered by RIBBA in partnership with the University of Rhode Island Office of Strategic Initiatives. 

The development of this program took place over the course of two years and was accomplished through state-wide surveys, interviews, leadership program assessments, and data on the state of diversity in business. The 6-month leadership program is designed to provide BIPOC participants with the additional knowledge, leadership skills and tools that they will need to take their career to the next level. The fall 2021 pilot cohort will begin in September through February 2022 and will include in-residence training, speakers, volunteer opportunities, and mentor/sponsor opportunities. The in-residence training will be a hybrid-model and will take place at the University of Rhode Island’s Providence Campus.  

“As a Black woman who has worked in corporate America for the past two decades, I know the challenges of being the only person of color in the room and the lack of career advancement support received,” said Lisa Ranglin – Executive Director of the Rhode Island Black Business Association. “We’re grateful to URI for joining forces with us to take on this important program. I’m excited to be involved with the development and implementation of this pilot that will provide BIPOC emerging professionals with a blueprint to advocate for themselves and move from a supporting role into the ranks of leadership through targeted and intentional efforts designed to empower, support, and advance through all phases of their career trajectory.”  

“The URI Office of Strategic Initiatives is excited to partner with the Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA) and the Institute of Economic Empowerment & Development (IEED) on programming for emerging BIPOC leaders. Together we will enhance participant competencies in leadership best practices, strategic thinking, leading through change and communication, all with an eye towards diversity, equity and inclusion, self-awareness, emotional intelligence and a strengths based approach.” 

To participate in the program, please contact or go to the Emerging Leaders Development Program page for more details on the program, logistics, and pricing.    

The Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the business opportunities and vitality of Black-owned and minority businesses in Rhode Island through access to capital, contracting, business development resources, entrepreneur training, business advocacy, meaningful investor services, and workforce development. 

The Institute for Economic Empowerment & Development (IEED) is the charitable arm of the Rhode Island Black Business Association. IEED provides education and access opportunities to individuals throughout their academic and career journeys. 

The University of Rhode Island Office of Strategic Initiatives strengthens organizations through customized workplace trainings and initiatives and for-credit programs, which leads to a stronger, more vital economy. Our programs help businesses, professionals and students tap into the power and opportunity of the University of Rhode Island. Working with you as a partner, we get to know you and design custom programs based on your particular business needs. We function as consultants, organizational developers, coaches, trainers, curriculum designers, thought partners, strategic planners, and program evaluators. We’re there from initial consultation through implementation and evaluation of whatever plan we co-create. Let us help you succeed! For more information, please visit 


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