Providence, RI – Mayor Jorge Elorza and DESIGNxRI announced the culmination of the Providence Design Catalyst program that provided 17 Providence-based design businesses with funding, mentorship and professional development to catalyze their small business growth. The Providence Design Catalyst program is the first design business grant program aimed at catalyzing small design business growth in the City of Providence. It is a partnership between DESIGNxRI, Rhode Island School of Design, the City of Providence, and Social Enterprise Greenhouse and funded through federal CDBG funds.
“Providence is deeply rooted in art and design based industries. The Providence Design Catalyst program builds on that strength by enabling small businesses to get off the ground and grow in the Creative Capital,” said Mayor Elorza. “We look forward to the continued growth of the awardees of this innovative and creative funding opportunity and their contribution to a thriving design sector here in Providence.”
Highlights of catalyzed progress in these design businesses through the 2015-2016 program include:
• Increment has their first product shipment underway and was just awarded Gold from Parents Choice, a leader in evaluating children’s media and toys.
• Andrea Valentini opened her factory/studio in north end Providence, where she is now making all her products. With this new location, she is added an offering to customers to visit and work with her on custom designs.
• Atelier Rosencrantz has completed designs of their new line – four acoustic guitars (2 are going to Copenhagen, 1 to NYC and the last for customers to try in the Providence show room). With these funds, they have also improved studio operations to expand the business and grow productions.
“The first Providence Design Catalyst grantee cohort is a group of dynamic and thoughtful design business leaders. We are very proud of the work that they have done in this time period,” stated Lisa Carnevale, Executive Director of DESIGNxRI. “We are happy to have had the opportunity to invest in this group, and look forward to their continued growth as integral partners in the design sector in Rhode Island.”
After a highly competitive application process in late 2015, 17 design driven businesses were selected to be awarded grants and to participate in the program. The awardees range in types of design businesses and include a cast iron homeware company, a luthier, furniture design, architecture and design/build companies, a smartphone accessory company, jewelry and textiles companies, as well as graphics and interior design firms.
Awardee businesses are as follows:
• Atelier Rosenkrantz
• AV Productions
• Bela Monde
• Christian Thomas Designs
• Fulcrum Product Development
• Heather Guidero Jewelry
• Joshua Shockley Interior Design
• Linkmount Systems
• LLAMAproduct / Headmaster Magazine
• Nest Homeware
• Oblique Studio
• Spirare Surfboards
• Studio Endo
• There Will Be Cake
Awardees were granted amounts between $12,000 – $35,000. They were also partnered with a business mentor, took part in a monthly professional development workshop, were involved in add-on learning opportunities, and have grown a peer-to-peer network that now meet weekly. The formal program ran January 2016 to April 2016, though grantees will continue to get support for the rest of the year.
The Providence Design Catalyst program is funded by $500,000 of federal funds through the City of Providence. It is being administered by DESIGNxRI in collaboration with an advisory committee comprised of representatives of the City and partnering organizations.
ABOUT DESIGNxRI: DESIGNxRI is a non-profit organization with a mission to create a vibrant and opportunity-driven environment for RI designers, design businesses and the design sector to thrive. Through education, economic development and community development, we coalesce designers, elevate awareness of the RI design sector, spotlight the diverse talent base located in the state, and invest in strengthening and growing RI design-driven businesses. Learn more at www.designxri.com.