The event featured remarks from Carmen Diaz-Jusino, Chair Innovation Studio Board of Directors; Elizabeth Tanner, Director of Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation; and Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, as well as a panel discussion with Jennifer Hawkins, Executive Director of ONE Neighborhood Builders; Daniel Enriquéz Vidaña, Innovation Studio President; and Lexus R. S. Fernandez, co-founder of Soulita. The evening’s moderator was Martha Perez Barton, Program Manager of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Biz Bodega is an initiative of ONE Neighborhood Builders managed by Innovation Studio Inc., a nonprofit whose mission is to make innovation, entrepreneurship, and business ownership attainable through an empowering and inclusive network of community space and individualized pathways. Biz Bodega seeks to support new and aspiring entrepreneurs and existing small business owners throughout the Central Providence Community by leveraging partnerships with leading business support organizations and by providing mentorship, workshops, and programming out of the space.
ONE Neighborhood Builders is committed to helping build a trusted and equitable ecosystem to advance and empower businesses that are led by Rhode Island’s Black, Indigenous, (and) People of Color (BIPOC) and women. We know the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses, especially those owned by women and people of color. And we fully understand that in order to build back better, we must build back local. Small businesses are the drivers of community development, economic development, and inclusive growth.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, ONE|NB launched a Business Support Office (BSO) in the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence so that we and our partners could help business owners address their unique challenges and grow their businesses. In recent months, we have been working to refine our partnerships and methodologies to ensure that our space at 222 Manton Avenue offers all the best support that we have envisioned for local businesses.
Our business support work is now known as Biz Bodega.
Biz Bodega is open Tuesdays through Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Community members are welcome to stop in and use the newly designed workspace or meet with Business Specialist Cynthia Munrayos. Services are available in English and Spanish.
Please visit www.bizbodega.org to learn more or pre-schedule a 1-2-1 business support consultation today.
The following organizations are among those that are partnering with Innovation Studio to work with business owners at Biz Bodega. Their roles at Biz Bodega are as follows:
- Hope & Main: Deliver programming to clients and develop an intake system to evaluate their needs.
- Center for Southeast Asians: Develop robust marketing materials in multiple languages to promote awareness and accessibility of the Business Support Office.
- Rhode Island Black Business Association: Engage business leaders in cross-cultural discussions, presentations, information sessions, and seminars on topics relevant to their needs.
- Rhode Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce: Assist clients in using our referral system to find other organizations and programs that can help with their business initiatives.
- Center for Women & Enterprise: Serve as a resource partner and help direct businesses to the various programming and support that is available in multiple languages.
- Fuerza Laboral / Power of Workers: Offer expertise on developing cooperative businesses and worker-owned businesses.
- Multicultural Innovation Center: Promote sustainable growth and prosperity for businesses and entrepreneurs in underserved communities.
- Social Enterprise Greenhouse: Ensure strong financial and administrative management and ensure a strong referral network connects entrepreneurs with appropriate partners and services.