Ten Local Businesses Awarded Microgrant Funds Through SEG 

June 6th, 2023

PROVIDENCE, RI – Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG) awarded over $45,000 to 10 distinct Rhode Island small businesses and nonprofits through its recently launched Microgrant Fund. Each awardee received up to $5,000 to support key activities or obtain the necessary tools that will help take ventures to the next level. SEG’s Microgrant Fund was established with an initial gift from donors Mary Elleen and Chris Patton back in 2022. 

“We are so proud to be able to support our local startups and entrepreneurs through our Microgrant funds, providing not only access to capital, but also validation and opportunities for future stakeholder interest, ” said Julie Owens, Chief Executive Officer of SEG. “These funds would not be possible without the support of Mary Elleen and Chris Patton. Their ongoing generosity has helped develop Rhode Island’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and opens doors for founders from underserved communities.” 

The businesses and organizations supported through these grants are leading a broad range of initiatives like Diaspora Academy which includes experiences like providing insight and creative connection, delivering a rigorous, effective, and engaging educational experience for all students surrounding the African Diaspora, or PVD World Music Institute which educates about and enriches the musical traditions and arts of various Indigenous cultures in Rhode Island. 

“We often hear from the entrepreneurs we work with, that capital access is one of the biggest barriers to the launch and growth of a business. This is evident by the incredible applicant pool and number of applications we received,” Said Stefanie Engelhardt, Director of Program Operations at SEG. “From the research alone, it is clear that BIPOC, women and LBTQIA led and owned ventures have historically received less capital access opportunities. I am so grateful that SEG is able to meet the needs of our entrepreneurs directly and break down barriers to funding with programs such as the Microgrants.”

“We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the microgrant we have received. These funds are yet another unwavering demonstration of support from SEG, who not only guided us through the Accelerator Program in 2022 but also extended their helping hand even beyond its completion,” said Chance Boas, Founder of PVD World Music. “With this generous support, we are now equipped to transform the African Film Festival into an even more remarkable event. We are now close to our goal of acquiring our very own outdoor movie screen and making the festival sustainable and affordable to our beloved Providence community, especially the vibrant community of African immigrants to which we proudly belong. I cannot express enough how deeply grateful I am for this opportunity.” 

“We are honored to be awarded the Impact MicroGrant by SEG to support our new business initiative of textile waste recycling. Due to feedback from our community over the past 1.5 years, we have pinpointed that there is a need for a textile waste drop off location and handling of unusable textiles,” said Danielle Sturm, Co-Founder of The Nest. “With this grant, we will be able to make The Nest a drop off location for textile waste and the support to make sure it does not end up in the trash and can be recycled appropriately.  This is just one step in our mission to end the toxic cycle of textile waste and overconsumption.” 

Since SEG launched in 2009, more than 2,000 entrepreneurs and companies have participated in SEG programs. SEG was one of the first incubation and accelerator organizations in the country to focus on social impact as a pathway to create opportunities, especially for those entrepreneurs and businesses that traditionally face barriers to access.

The microgrant recipients (with their mission statements) include:

The Nest PVD LLC

The Nest is a sustainable fashion collective fighting the toxic cycle of overconsumption and textile waste through decluttering services, our secondhand store, community events, and educational workshops. Together, we inspire authenticity and sustainability by shifting mindsets, encouraging slow consumption, and ultimately diverting textile waste out of landfills.

Diaspora Academy

Diaspora Academy is dedicated to delivering a rigorous, effective, and engaging educational experience for all students; one founded on highlighting the assets and history of the African Diaspora. Diaspora Academy will empower students, families, and communities to embrace, activate, and mobilize their power through rich cultural experiences.

Geris Bluffing Boutique

Geri’s Bluffing Boutique created a unique retail shopping experience downtown Woonsocket. The mission is to transform lives through fashion, art, and cultural education. Geraldine’s sense of style, event planning skills and background in Travel Tourism allows her the opportunity to create the ultimate retail experience. When visiting this Afro-Bohemian themed boutique, one will be invigorated with vibrant colors, unique styles, handmade fashion accessories, art pieces, music and customized gifts. 

Nuts & Bolts Nursery Co-op

To build diverse, resilient ecosystems and enrich communities by raising edible & medicinal plants and empowering people to learn & grow. Perspective: Queer, young farmers, with over half of our worker-owners being non-binary. We are passionate about ecological land stewardship & fostering resilient ecosystems & communities.

Midori Creativity

idori Creativity offers a variety of groups, workshops, coaching, and experiences providing insights and creative connections. Examples include the monthly Artists Share, the ongoing creativity support group, the 12 week Artist’s Way, and the upcoming Meditations on Landscape project. Many attendees are women 40 or older but there is no particular group the work is targeted toward. The classes and workshops range from free to low-cost to full price and are currently on Zoom and will continue in hybrid and in-person forms.

Maisey’s Tree Farm L3C

“Seeing the forest for the trees.” ™ Practicing and promoting eco-forestry while building community and connecting youth with nature.

PVD World Music Institute

PVD World Music Institute aims to celebrate, educate about and enrich the musical traditions and arts of various Indigenous cultures in Rhode Island for present and future generations, with a special focus on African refugee and immigrant communities.

Nimubus Research Laboratory, LLC (AdvanceBox product)

To save lives from traumatic hemorrhage (gunshots, stabbings, industrial accidents) and opioid overdose by furnishing simple-to-use rescue tools in accessible places and supporting hosts of these tools with rescue instruction and technologies that deliver remote status reports, text & email notifications of upcoming expirations and unit access events, and geolocation for 9-1-1 dispatcher guidance.

Matthew 19.14 Indoor Playground

The entertainment center project is focused on ensuring that the children of Pawtucket and neighboring cities have access to a place of fun different from the usual in the “Indoor Playground” market. It seeks to recreate a courtyard within the center, especially for cold times where it has been discovered that families are more prone to depression and discord.

Sweet Graze

¡Ofrecemos servicios de preparación de mesas de eventos que se adaptan a tus necesidades y presupuesto! Ya sea para una cita, una cena formal o un evento individual, tenemos opciones para cada ocasión. Creando espacios intencionales para reunirse y disfrutar almuerzo. La charcutería es el alimento perfecto para unir a las personas.

We offer table preparation service that adapts to individual needs and budget! Whether it’s for a date, a formal dinner, or a one-on-one event, we have options for every occasion. Creating intentional spaces to gather and enjoy food. Our deli is the perfect food to bring people together. 

About Social Enterprise Greenhouse: 

Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG) accelerates impact by providing inclusive support and networks for entrepreneurs and businesses committed to positive societal and economic change. SEG fosters an ecosystem of diverse stakeholders who work to enable a more just, equitable, and resilient economy. SEG is based in Rhode Island and operates statewide virtually and from sites in Providence, Newport, and Pawtucket/Central Falls. Its network of 2,000+ enterprises and 200+ business and community leaders contributes time, expertise, and funding to grow Rhode Island’s social impact ecosystem. To learn more, visit www.segreenhouse.org.


Media Contact (For SEG)

Mike Raia, Half Street Strategic Consulting

401.340.9425 | mikeraia@halfstreetgroup.com