Entrepreneur Spotlight Archives


Beat the Streets Providence: Tackling obstacles on and off the mats

December 1, 2017 In 2012, after school sports had been non-existent in Providence Public middle schools. At a time when public schools across the nation face budget cuts, interscholastic sports were one of the first programs to go. Yet, sports programs can be invaluable during one the most rapid periods of childhood development, as outlets[…..]

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Entrepreneur Story: Francisco Portela, Portela Soni Medical

November 21, 2017 When Francisco Portela first started working at Mass General as an oncology fellow, he was shocked at what he saw. “I got to this world-famous hospital… and people were dying of urinary tract infections.” Francisco is referring to a specific phenomenon called Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections, or CAUTIs. According to the CDC,[…..]

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Meet Finnest

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Richard McDonald and Clemens Grave met at Brown. They had something in common: Both had an entrepreneurial spirit and were pursuing a graduate program called Innovation  Management and Entrepreneurship. They had both studied engineering, mechanical and industrial, respectively. But that’s where the similarities ended. Richard grew up in  Nevada and Clemens came from Austria, and they noticed several differences in their cultural backgrounds.

One that stood out was their experiences with financial literacy-the differences between European and American banking systems and attitudes was the topic of ongoing conversation between them. They spent an entire summer together in Europe exploring these differences and ideating business ideas. Problem identified! But how best to solve it?

From left, co-founders of Finnest Clemens Grave and Richard McDonald. Finnest, is a mobile-based financial literacy startup for children and teens. PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO

Enter Finnest. Richard and Clemens are now building a platform to help youth ages 10 to 18 learn about money management–saving, spending and investing. They want to help instill confidence around financial literacy for parents and kids alike, providing a way to start conversations about money and a real-life teaching tool to back these conversations up.

They joined the SEG Impact Accelerator in order to take this business idea to the next level, and have just released a website and a pilot program to test this new tool. Both are busy interviewing parents and kids about this new product, exploring their attitudes about money, technology and how they intersect in modern family life. “We just want to help solve a problem for families,” says Richard.

The first debit cards are launching right now, and the data-gathering is increasing by the moment. As Finnest moves through the accelerator, they are using the SEG network to help build their prototype and scale their business.  And as they navigate the wide world of financial technology, they hold onto their mission of making financial literacy available across backgrounds, hoping to help change the world one savings account at a time.

Find out more about Finnest here.


Traci Picard
Venture Development Assistant

Traci Picard is a VISTA serving as Venture Development assistant here at SEG. She comes from the world of alternative health, running a small herbal business and teaching classes like Critical Thinking for Herbalists and Asking Better Questions. Traci is also a writer pursuing a Journalism degree, a mother of 3 and a passionate fan of books and the Public Library. Born in Providence, she has lived all over but continues to return home.

Contact: tpicard@segreenhouse.org


Stories from the SEG Hub: Rabbi Elan Babchuck

November 23, 2016 By: Traci Picard What is it about a co-working space that pulls us in? That keeps us coming back? It’s the strong coffee, sure. The sunny space, the wi-fi and the printer. But more than anything else, it’s the people, and their stories. The HUB is a co-working space, but it’s also[…..]

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Stories From the Hub: PetsEmpower

November 15, 2016 By: Traci Picard Imagine yourself in crisis. You’ve had an experience which leaves you feeling unsafe at home. You need to evacuate. You’ve been called into active duty for the military. For one or many reasons, you need to go somewhere else. What will you do with your pet? Jordan Ross is[…..]

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Winds of Change at Glenwood Garden

By: Naz Akyol August 4, 2016 Jonah Rapino is the co-founder and CEO of Glenwood Garden, an online marketplace for artisan-made foods that aims to provide U.S. based non-profits with financial support. 15% of the revenue from every purchase on the e-commerce site goes directly to a charity of the buyer’s choice. In May 2016,[…..]

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Chef Kaitlyn Roberts of Easy Entertaining: Making a difference in Rhode Island with local food

By Jinjuta Teeraratananukulchai, MBA Candidate at the University of Rhode Island July 23, 2016 If you have ever attended a Social Enterprise Greenhouse event and found yourself eating delicious food, it was probably provided by Easy Entertaining, and for good reason. Easy Entertaining was founded by Chef Kaitlyn Roberts (pictured above), who has been delighting[…..]

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Spotlight: RI Bicycle Coalition

By: Naz Akyol July 8, 2016 When Alex Krogh-Grabbe graduated from college, he believed -as he still does- that climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. Even before his climate policy activism drew him to biking, his preferred mode of transportation, he loved biking around his hometown in Massachusetts. Later, he[…..]

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Dessert With Purpose: Mike’s Ice

By: Naz Akyol June 24, 2016 Three years ago, active duty airman Michael Gnoato lost his life in a fatal car accident in Wyoming. Major Pettaway, a Marine who knew Mikey since high school, missed the funeral because he was deployed in Afghanistan at the time, but Navy Seabee Sadam Salas was there to speak[…..]

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Q & A with Cayla Mackey of Unicorn Goods

Photo and Blog by Meghan Farrington Q: Tell me a little bit about Unicorn Goods. A: Unicorn Goods is a Public Benefit Corporation, which we officially started in December of 2014. We are the world’s largest ethical vegan catalog, where we list products that are free of animal products (like leather, fur, wool, down, silk) and[…..]

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