PROVIDENCE, RI – In an effort to help underserved business communities throughout the state grow their ventures and build a robust and diverse leadership pipeline for Rhode Island, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse today teamed up with Lisa Ranglin, Founder, President & CEO of the Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA) to cut the ribbon on RIBBA’s new headquarters in the heart of Providence.

Senators Reed and Whitehouse were also joined by Providence Mayor Brett Smiley and the President & CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation, David Cicilline, to help Ranglin and her team cut the ribbon on the newly renovated facility.

This new headquarters was supported by a variety of local, federal, and community partner funding to strengthen and expand RIBBA’s programs and help advocate for and promote the successful development of Black-owned businesses across Rhode Island.

“Helping small businesses grow and thrive creates jobs and strengthens our economy and the vibrancy of our neighborhoods and communities.  I am proud to support RIBBA’s efforts to empower minority-led businesses and connect them with the resources, networks, and development assistance they need to launch and expand,” said Senator Reed.  “I commend Lisa Ranglin for her efforts to support entrepreneurs and small businesses and I’m pleased to join with Senator Whitehouse to deliver federal funding that expands opportunity for more Rhode Islanders.”

“RIBBA connects minority-owned businesses with the resources and opportunities they need to keep growing,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “I am very pleased to help secure federal funding to support RIBBA’s new Headquarters and Equity Business Hub, which will uplift minority entrepreneurs, support the local economy, and generate wealth for the community.”

“RIBBA's work is pivotal to creating pathways to closing the racial wealth gap and ensuring that prosperity and equity become a reality for all Rhode Islanders,” said Lisa Ranglin, Founder, President & CEO of RIBBA. “With collaborative efforts and strategic investments like this, we are not only building an equity hub but also a legacy of resilience and success.” 

RIBBA’s new headquarters will offer co-working space and a state-of-the-art training facility for members and partners while also serving as an Equity Business Hub for local small businesses. For the last decade, RIBBA has been based at the Regency Plaza in Providence, approximately one mile from their new facility.

Senator Reed secured a $1 million federal earmark in the fiscal year 2022 appropriations law to improve the facility and help RIBBA expand, deepen, and strengthen its programming, services, and outreach.  Senator Whitehouse secured an additional $500,000 earmark in 2022 to help RIBBA acquire the property.  In addition, the City of Providence dedicated $137,500 in federal funding under the American Rescue Plan Act for the project and the Rhode Island Foundation provided an additional $137,500 to support the initiative.

Founded in 2010, RIBBA is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping underserved business communities throughout the state grow successful ventures and, through key workforce development and mentorship programs, build a robust and diverse leadership pipeline for Rhode Island. According to RIBBA, the non-profit's program model is based on their pillars of success: financial empowerment, workforce development, business development, contracting, learning series, capital pathways, advocacy, entrepreneurship, and mentorship. These action steps aim to create a ripple effect that will positively impact the community with continued support. RIBBA’s overarching goal is to close the racial wealth gap and provide services that will lead to increased financial stability, productivity, job creation, diversity, and innovation.