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. 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.
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.
DESIGNxRI is pleased to announce the 2021 recipients of the PROVIDENCE DESIGN CATALYST award:
- AK Studios
- Binch Press
- The Design Studio for Culture + Planning
- isquared // Photography RI
- Liz Welch Design
- Lucia Pearl
- Luna Loggia
- Watanabe Glassworks
- We Time Audio House
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.
This program couldn’t happen without the strength of our design community. Thank you! Find us on Instagram @DESIGNxRI to follow along.
The Providence Design Catalyst program began in 2015. Since then, DESIGNxRI and our partners have invested in 50 design businesses. Here are program highlights:
- $864,000 investment into 50 design businesses (over $1 million in program resources)
- 31 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
- All businesses analyzed and re-envisioned their business model and growth capacity, making thoughtful decisions on what was needed foundationally to continue on their growth trajectory.
- Additionally, 21% businesses received additional funding and/or mentoring from outside sources.
The Providence Design Catalyst program is led by DESIGNxRI and funded by the City of Providence’s Department of Community Development. Program partners include the Rhode Island School of Design and CIC Providence.