Pitch night at Social Enterprise Greenhouse is always a festive occasion. Starting at around 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 5, our coworking space filled up with people and anticipation as the 12 social ventures graduating from our 2019 Health & Wellness Accelerator prepared to deliver their pitches. Great food and drink, great conversation, and a spirit of camaraderie and excitement prevailed.
SEG CEO Kelly Ramirez greeted and thanked the crowd for coming, and then Meg Wirth, director of our health and wellness initiative, got things started. Invited speakers included Blaine Carroll, VP of Strategic Initiatives for Delta Dental of Rhode Island, and James Rajotte, Chief of the Center for Health Promotion at the RI Department of Health.
That’s when the pitching began! Each entrepreneur, backed by a few concise slides, stepped up to the podium and talked for three minutes to the crowd. Nerves dissolved and attention grew. The passion of each entrepreneur for addressing our community’s health and wellness needs became clear. With vision, deep insight into problems, and creative approaches, these ventures are tackling some of the most important issues in behavioral and mental health, addiction, health equity, conception health, and aging mobility, among other areas. There was a lot of applause.
Congratulations to all the graduates of our Health & Wellness Accelerator this year:
- Aneufit, cofounder Jennifer Brine of Somerville, Mass.
- ASTRO (Arts, Sports, and Technology Resource Organization), founder Justin Pasquazzi of Cranston
- Bird + Bee, founder Kate Issa Naranjo of Providence
- The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health (The CSPH), executive director Alicia Gauvin of Cranston
- Dementia Training for Life, founder Laurie Gunter Mantz, of Cranston
- Hopeitude, founder Jennifer Berton, Ph.D., LICSW, of Middletown
- IMMAD, Impairment Measurement Marijuana and Driving, founder Denise A Valenti of Quincy, Mass.
- Lotus Noire Health, founder Temperance Taylor of Providence
- New Beginnings, co-founders Mary Brinson of Cranston, Bethany Pratt of South Kingstown
- Recovery Connector LLC, founder Timothy Sullivan of Providence
- The Tipping Point, founder Allison Giuliano of Cranston
- UpRiseHer, founder Shannon Sexton Potter of Warwick
In addition, four ventures were honored with special awards:
- Top Academic Prize: Kate Naranjo, Bird + Bee
- Overall Impact Prize: Justin Pasquazzi, ASTRO
- Overall Impact Prize: Laurie Mantz, Dementia Training for Life
- Health Equity Prize: Temperance Taylor, Lotus Noire Health
Many thanks to Real Jobs RI, Delta Dental of Rhode Island, Newman’s Own Foundation, and New Economy for their generous support of our 2019 Health & Wellness Accelerator!