PROVIDENCE — The Social Enterprise Greenhouse and ONE Neighborhood Builders on Thursday announced the opening of a local business support center at 222 Manton Ave.

The business center will serve as “a collaborative, one-stop shop where individuals and small business owners can easily find the resources and support they need to launch and grow their businesses,” the groups said.

The center welcomes all interested businesses, but especially those from the 02908 and 02909 ZIP codes.

Juan Lantigua, owner of The Family Cake, talks about his business to the small crowd gathered for the opening of the new Social Enterprise Greenhouse and ONE Neighborhood Builders business support center in Providence, Rhode Island.
Juan Lantigua, owner of The Family Cake, talks about his business to the small crowd gathered for the opening of the new Social Enterprise Greenhouse and ONE Neighborhood Builders business support center in Providence, Rhode Island.Matthew Healey for The Boston Globe

“Small businesses are a fundamental part of Providence and make our city a vibrant place to live, work, and play,” Mayor Jorge O. Elorza said in a statement. “Removing barriers for more small businesses to thrive helps grow and sustain our community, now and for generations to come.”

Jennifer Hawkins, president and executive director of ONE Neighborhood Builders, said that when storefront commercial space at 222 Manton Ave. became available for a new lease this fall, she approached Social Enterprise Greenhouse and asked if they’d join in creating a business support center “tailored to the needs of local merchants and makers in Central Providence.”

“We’re pleased our vision is now a reality and thrilled to welcome the many partnering organizations to the site,” she said.

Kelly Ramirez, co-founder and CEO of Social Enterprise Greenhouse, welcomes guests to the new business support center developed by Social Enterprise Greenhouse and ONE Neighborhood Builders in Providence, Rhode Island.
Kelly Ramirez, co-founder and CEO of Social Enterprise Greenhouse, welcomes guests to the new business support center developed by Social Enterprise Greenhouse and ONE Neighborhood Builders in Providence, Rhode Island.Matthew Healey for The Boston Globe

Social Enterprise Greenhouse CEO Kelly Ramirez said, “The vision for the center is to be for the community, by the community, and a place where individuals can walk in, tell us what they aspire to do, and we meet them where they’re at. The ultimate goal is to provide individuals and small business owners with the support they most need to help them build economic opportunities and wealth.”

She said the center includes space for people to work together, meet with the partnering organizations, and work directly with Social Enterprise Greenhouse staff members.

The new business support center will provide resources such as:

  • Access to the Social Enterprise Greenhouse’s network of multilingual business experts and a menu of programs and services
  • Easy connections to partnering with business support organizations that offer customized services
  • Free Internet and use of computers in the common space
  • Technology training and advising
  • One-on-one support through office hours and consulting
  • Workshops and community events

Partner organizations include the Center for Southeast Asians, Center for Women & Enterprise, City of Providence, Fuerza Laboral/Power of Workers, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, Hope & Main, Multicultural Innovation Center, Rhode Island Black Business Association, Rhode Island Commerce, Rhode Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Rhode Island Small Business Development Center.

The new business support center will be open by appointment and can be reached by contacting [email protected]


Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @FitzProv.