Working Toward Equity

Building partnerships with community-based organizations to support people who have been historically excluded from traditional business networks and resources.

Our Commitment

SEG aims to reduce income inequality, barriers to opportunity and other inequities through helping to launch and grow businesses that create economic opportunity and positively impact communities. Equity is a central pillar of our work and a driving value in everything that we do. We are committed to making our services accessible to all people including those who face barriers on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, national origin, pregnancy, class, gender, sexuality, ability, religion, disability, military status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and immigration status.

Our Progress

We have increasingly been serving entrepreneurs of color with numbers increasing from 19% in 2016 to 45% in 2021. The percentage of female-led ventures that we serve remains consistent at over 60%. Over the last few years we have expanded our services in historically excluded communities - in particular, Pawtucket/Central Falls, Newport, and Central Providence.  As a result of our efforts to date, we received the Providence Business News Award for Inclusion in 2018, but there is still much to be done. 

Our Practices

SEG strives to create a  more equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem.  We work to make our  portfolio of programs and services accessible and culturally and practically relevant to communities of people facing systemic barriers to participation.  We are committed to building an increasingly diverse team to ensure we can best serve all communities. 

  • Geographic Accessibility
    We work to establish boots on the ground presence, trust, and credibility in communities that have been historically excluded. We build partnerships with community-based organizations to ensure our services are additive. We work to ensure that all people who want to start or grow businesses that improve the community have access to SEG services and network and the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem.

  • Team
    We are working to build a more representative team and have developed an equity-focused hiring process to ensure our applicant pool is representative of the greater community. Our team participates in a wide range of equity-related training and education opportunities.

  • Culturally Relevant Programming
    We constantly seek feedback, adapt existing programs, and launch new programs and services to ensure we best meet the needs of ALL entrepreneurs and businesses.

  • Volunteer Network
    We are committed to diversifying our volunteer network to ensure it is representative of the entrepreneurs and businesses we serve. All volunteers receive diversity training and commit to our equity practices.

  • Language Accessibility
    We offer all programs and services in both English and Spanish to increase accessibility.

  • SEG Board
    We continue to prioritize building a board that reflects the communities we serve. We established a board Equity committee, and our board participates in equity training.

  • Reducing Financial Barriers
    We recognize payment and fees can be a barrier. In response, we have established scholarships and shifted SEG’s payment fee to a pay-what-you-can model since the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Reporting & Metrics
    We set, collect, and share organization-wide and program-specific equity and inclusion goals and metrics.