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The Providence Design Catalyst program is a competitive grant program providing seed capital, business mentorship, professional development training, and peer-to-peer networking to help design businesses reach their growth goals.

Design is one of the fastest growing sectors locally and nationally. It has the dynamic capacity for integrating strategy, experience, and aesthetic, and propels new business startups, job growth, product innovations, global markets, and urban developments. Today, design is recognized as the lynchpin in consumer experience and the driver for innovation.
Support from the Providence Design Catalyst leads to positive business growth, jobs, and pathways for creative talent to stay in our creative city. It establishes a foundational strategy for next-generation business development. 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.
Sign up to receive the latest on Catalyst grant opportunity:

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Over $1 million invested directly into Providence design businesses ($1.3 million is program resources)

40 business mentors engaged from the RI business community

69% of participant businesses developed a new product line and/or extended their brand

62% of participant businesses extended an existing product line and/or added production

31% added staff capacity with interns, freelancers, or full-time employment

60 design businesses in total have completed this accelerator program

21% businesses received additional funding and/or mentoring from outside sources

All businesses analyzed and re-envisioned their business model and growth capacity


These awardees, along with volunteer mentors and instructors from our community, just kicked off a months-long immersion of peer support and expert guidance to launch their businesses to the next level. Each Design Catalyst awardee receives a dedicated mentor, up to $15,000 in seed money, and learning opportunities tailored for small design businesses in Rhode Island.


Kas DeCarvalho
Partner, Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O’gara LLC
Asher Rodriguez Dunn
Founder, Studio Dunn
Coryndon Luxmoore
VP of UX Design for Customer Experience, Audible
Deb McDonough
VP of Marketing, Bradford SoapWorks
Ellen McNulty-Brown
Former CEO, Lotuff Leather
Tom Peterson
Director Of Development, Preserve Rhode Island
Kelly Ramirez
CEO, Social Enterprise Greenhouse
Nick Scappaticci
CoFounder & CEO at Tellart
Vanessa Boynton Taylor
Group Director for Precision, Matter Now
Karina Holyoak Wood
ED, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Rhode Island


No one gets where they are going alone. Mentorship is an important way DxRI connects this community of talent. If you’re ready to give back, we’ve got some amazingly talented designers ready to learn from you. If you’re looking for some extra guidance, let us know!