November 1, 2022
PROVIDENCE – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today joined DESIGNxRI Executive Director Ellie Brown and Design Catalyst Program graduates Manan Narang and Lexus Fernandez to announce the inaugural Providence Pre-Catalyst program launch and re-launch the seventh Design Catalyst Program. The Pre-Catalyst program will provide Providence-based residents wishing to establish a business with an intensive four-week program with business mentorship and professional development training to promote design and creative business. As in years past, the returning Providence Design Catalyst program will provide qualifying already established Providence-based design businesses with $150,000 in grant funding capital in amounts between $10,000 and $15,000, in addition to business mentorship and professional development training to promote business growth.
“Since 2016, the Providence Design Catalyst program has brought the City’s world-class talent together with the tools and skills necessary to grow their businesses,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “And now, the Pre-Catalyst program will carve out space for budding entrepreneurs to take the next step in developing their business ideas into fruition. Together, these programs provide a seamless pathway from ideation to implementation.”
The Providence Pre-Catalyst (PPC) program is designed to help burgeoning entrepreneurs learn what it takes to launch their businesses. This program is specifically designed for:
- Creative individuals who have an innovative product or service they want to sell;
- Innovators who see a problem or gap in the market they know they can solve; and
- Individuals who want to branch out on their own for personal growth and fulfillment.
During the PPC, participants will hone their design or creative business idea. This workshop-based program brings a dynamic business class structure with peer-to-peer exploration and expert coaching in an intensive 4-week period.
“The Providence Pre-Catalyst program is an exciting addition to our programming that addresses workforce development and professional support for designers at every stage in their careers.” said Ellie Brown, Executive Director of DESIGNxRI. “This is the only program of its kind dedicated to design in the state of Rhode Island. We hope that participants will continue to engage with our community and take advantage of the connections and opportunities it has to offer.”
The PPC training will focus on the nuts and bolts of launching a business, including:
- Visioning your business
- Becoming an entrepreneur / Personal growth management
- Product development: Bringing your idea to life
- Market evaluation and pricing: Who wants it and for how much?
- The nuts and bolts: Finances and legal
- Bringing it home: Finding traction
“You can never be too prepared when starting your own business. Pre-Catalyst will be a way to ensure your business starts in a strong way.” says 2019 Providence Design Catalyst Alum, Manan Narang. “One of the benefits of the Design Catalyst program, besides funding, is connecting these businesses together to discuss challenges. Everybody in my cohort was different but being design-specific strengthened the cohort and the mentorship connections. You learn as much from your cohort as you do from the mentorship process. It’s important to build your network of peers and mentors in the early stages of your business.”
The launch of the Pre-Catalyst program accompanies the existing Providence Design Catalyst program, a competitive grant program that provides seed capital, business mentorship, professional development training, and peer-to-peer networking to help design businesses reach their growth goals. Combining the global expertise of teachers, dedicated support from business mentors, and financial investment based on milestones and achievements, the Providence Design Catalyst program creates vital momentum for sustained business growth. Since 2016, the Design Catalyst program has funded a total of 69 businesses to the tune of $1,140,670. Total investment in the program to date, including business grant funding and administrative costs, is $1,375,805. Both programs are funded by the City of Providence through the Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and Real Jobs Rhode Island.
“The Department of Labor and Training is excited to give our continued support to the DESIGNxRI Design Catalyst program through Real Jobs RI,” said Director Matthew Weldon. “Creative thinking is key to innovation, and we look forward to seeing how the work of this new cohort will benefit participants’ communities and the state’s economy as a whole.”
To learn more about the program, including full eligibility requirements and how to apply, visit the DESIGNxRI website. Application review occurs through the PPC steering committee, led by DESIGNxRI, and will be accepted beginning today, November 1, 2022, and running through December 12, 2022 for new Pre-Catalyst program and January 6th, 2023 for the regular Design Catalyst program.