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The Design Catalyst Alumni Directory

Welcome to the Alumni Directory for DESIGNxRI’s Design Catalyst ProgramDesign Catalyst is a competitive, milestones-based grant program for Rhode Island creative businesses, providing seed capital, business mentorship, professional development training, and peer-to-peer networking. It is now in its eighth year with over 90 alumni specializing in a diverse range of design fields, from furniture design to ceramics! Starting in 2024, the program, which was previously only available to Providence residents, is also open statewide.

To find a specific alum or business, select their name from the drop down menu to the right. Otherwise, keep scrolling to view our alumni by program year. To learn more about a business, just click on their photo. The directory will be regularly updated as we receive information from alumni, and as future grantees complete the program!

Looking for the current Catalyst Cohort, or want to learn more about applying to the program? Click here!

2016 Catalyst Cohort

More information coming soon!

2018 Catalyst Cohort

More information coming soon!

2019 Catalyst Cohort

More information coming soon!

2020 Catalyst Cohort

More information coming soon!

2021 Catalyst Cohort

More information coming soon!

2022 Catalyst Cohort

More information coming soon!

2023 Catalyst Cohort

More information coming soon!

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS AS OF 2022

Over $1.2 million invested directly into Rhode Island design businesses ($1.6 million including program resources)

58 business mentors in total have been engaged from the Rhode Island business community

50% of participant businesses developed a new product line during the program

100% of businesses expected to extend an existing product line and/or offerings in the next year

50% of businesses added staff capacity with interns, freelancers, part-time, or full-time employment

81 design businesses in total have completed this accelerator program

87% of businesses had their own workspace or studio by the end of the program

62% of participant businesses increased their profits during the program

WHAT DESIGN CATALYST ALUMNI ARE SAYING

Photo of Rye Dean and Lumuku playing cards.
Anyhow Studio, a community pottery studio and the owner smiling.
Alaina Mahoney, a welder, working with a power hammer.

“I am SO appreciative of this opportunity to grow, both personally and professionally. I feel like DESIGNxRI is so special because it is building a community that can support and foster creative people at all stages of their career. One year later, I am no longer just a person with an idea. I am making it happen through concrete steps. There has been A LOT of learning along the way, but that has also helped me believe in myself more and more. All of this is invaluable.”

-Rye Dean, LUMUKU 2018

The grant program has helped me to think about my business for its possibilities, not as a static thing. I had not taken the time to reflect on the story of my brand, how it has evolved, and the service that I really offer - the program made me see so much more. With this new self-knowledge, I feel positioned to update my storytelling and make my next steps with an eye to increased profitability and work-life balance.

-Rachel Robinson, Robinson Press 2022

“The Design Catalyst program allowed me to acquire new customers and ramp up my production abilities with the purchase of new equipment. The studio space that I found during the program has been essential for my business. I am still in touch with my peers from the program which helps having people to ask questions to who have been through the same experiences.”

- Maria Prus, M Designs Studio 2019

“I was able to decide which legal entity to use for my work, hire a legal advisor, and hire a designer to build out the branding. I was also able to purchase technology equipment that I very much needed to carry out the work of my Design Studio.”

-Shey Rivera, Studio Loba (formerly known as Design Studio for Culture + Planning) 2021

“I have gained so much confidence in my business and have continued to grow. I have taken on new collaborations and many new wholesale orders. I think I am in a much better place than I would have expected after the program.”

-Alaina Mahoney, A.M. Design and Fabrication LLC 2020

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