RIBBA In the News

The Rhode Island Black Business Association is Now Accepting Scholarship Applications

Scholarship applications for students entering college or university will be accepted until May 27, 2021. Providence, RI – February 23, 2021 – The Rhode Island Black Business Association, and its charitable arm that focuses on empowerment and training related activities – the Institute of Economic Empowerment & Development (IEED), are now accepting applications for their 2021 scholarship. Scholarship award amounts vary from $500-$1000 for each individual student. To date, RIBBA has given out over $45,000 in scholarships to Black students entering college or university.  

We’re extremely excited to be accepting applications for this year’s Scholarship Program. There are a wide number of systemic barriers and challenges that Black young adults face, and we hope this scholarship opportunity helps each recipient reach their full academic and career potential, said Amanda Roman – Director of Program Development & Operations at RIBBA. “Financial investments are an essential part of creating a more equitable education system and we are proud to be providing this and other opportunities to students.”

 The Scholarship Program is just one component of the LEAP Initiative, launched earlier this year by RIBBA’s charitable arm – IEED. Other activities and opportunities within the initiative include, a mentor program, executive coaching, financial literacy training, and skills development. The initiative’s wrap around programs and services were developed with RIBBA’s Community Advisory Board of Young Adults and will support scholarship recipients on their academic and career journey.  

“Before receiving the RIBBA/ IEED Scholarship, I didn’t have access to a laptop and had to use the library as a resource. This definitely impacted the amount of sleep and study time I had – since it was dependent on their schedule. With the scholarship funds, I was able to purchase a laptop for school and textbooks, all which enabled me to do my work on my own time – not on the library’s. Receiving this scholarship helped me, the son of two-hard working minority parents, advance my academic dreams. I’m a great example of RIBBA’s mission of promoting and aiding minorities within their community.” Jean Touze, 2017 recipient of RIBBA/IEED Scholarship and recent graduate of University of Rhode Island and currently employed by EY – Ernst & Young. 

To be considered for the 2021 Scholarship, applicants must be a resident of Rhode Island, a high school senior in the Fall of 2021, and will begin their Freshman year at an accredited college or university in the Fall of 2022. Scholarship applications are reviewed by a Scholarship Committee and awardee announcements will be made in August of 2021. Applications must be completed and received by May 27, 2021 at 4:00 PM. 

For more information and to download the application, go to: www.ri-bba.org/scholarship.  In addition, individuals who are interested in donating to RIBBA’s Scholarship Fund, can do so by clicking here 

The Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing 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 and Development is the 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: Info@ri-bba.org 

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

The LEAP Mentor Program will support underserved youth and young adults as they navigate systemic academic and career barriers; Deadline for applications is: October 28, 2020.

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: info@ri-bba.org

 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: Info@ri-bba.org

R.I. Black-owned businesses seek a level playing field’
July, 2nd, 2020

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’


Providence. April 15, 2020.

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, www.ri-bba.org.

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.