RIHub, the central network connector and incubator for entrepreneurs and startups in Rhode Island, has announced its official launch after nearly a year of strategic development. RIHub focuses on high potential growth startups most often defined by digital technologies or science. RIHub offers accelerators, mentoring, resources and programs for Rhode Island’s startup community.
In celebration of its momentum, RIHub will host Rhode Island’s premier Startup Weekend on November 20-21 in addition to launching a series of new programs, including Customer Discovery and Incubation services for companies who want to establish a presence in Rhode Island. RIHub offers resources designed to amplify the state’s startup economy and nurture startups with a high potential for growth, putting an emphasis on diversity and making entrepreneurship accessible to everyone in Rhode Island.
“For the first time in our state’s history we have a central place for entrepreneurs to get access to all they need to start and grow their business,” said Katharine Flynn, RIHub’s Board Chairman and Executive Director of URI’s Business Engagement Center. “We are focused on creating and expanding high potential growth, high tech businesses here for years to come.”
Unlike many existing startup-centric organizations, RIHub provides a central location for all information and resources related to starting a high potential growth business in Rhode Island. The organization partners with fellow entrepreneurial organizations, connects startups with investors and corporate innovation teams, and provides critical mentorship for each stage of a business’ growth. A recently published Annual Report highlights their mission and accomplishments over the past year.
RIHub’s main pillars, which will be celebrated throughout the remainder of 2020, include:
- RIHub’s Innovation Network – A free, open-to-everyone portal that directs users to accelerator programs, mentors, potential team members, job openings, networking events, competitions and more throughout the state.
- RIHub’s Venture Mentoring Services (VMS) – Modeled after the 20-year-old MIT Venture Mentoring Service program, VMS incorporates proven principles and methodologies to increase and enhance the entrepreneurial talent pool – and the talent pool’s success – in Rhode Island.
- RIHub’s Customer Discovery Program – A 5-week virtual course that gives entrepreneurs everything they need to master early customer learnings. Featuring a seasoned NSF I-Corp program trainer, this program delivers ‘hands-on’, personalized advice to help startups verify that they are building the right product for the right customers.
- RIHub’s Bridge to Israel Program – Offering incubation services as well as strategic introductions and mentoring to high tech companies who want to establish a US presence in Rhode Island.
- Entrepreneur’s Journey Program – Available to all RIHub members, this free, personalized assistance directs entrepreneurs and their teams to the resources they need – be it accelerator programs, incubator space, competitions or potential hires – for each stage of their growth.
In addition to its launch, RIHub announces Annette Tonti as Managing Director. Annette brings RIHub more than 30 years of corporate and entrepreneurial experience, and is responsible for the strategic direction of RIHub.
“As a long-time serial entrepreneur who built high-tech companies here in Rhode Island, I’m excited about creating the conditions for high growth companies to start, stay and scale,” said Tonti. “Our efforts will include connecting investors and global corporations with our entrepreneurs, as well as bringing new startups here to Rhode Island to jump-start high-tech opportunities for everyone.”
RIHub was founded in 2019 by Governor Gina Raimondo, Brown University, IBM, University of Rhode Island, Commerce RI, Arizona State University and MassChallenge with the express purpose of establishing Rhode Island’s first Innovation Campus and providing a new entry point for global accelerators: MassChallenge, IBM Alpha Zone and India’s CoWrks Foundry. Over its first year, the organization has been cultivating key relationships, collaborating with fellow organizations like CIC Providence, Rhode Island Israel Collaboration, Venture Café Providence, Social Enterprise Greenhouse and RI Business Competition. They have been designing powerful, ongoing programming that will have a measurable impact on Rhode Island’s startup community.
To learn more about RIHub, please visit RIHub.org.
If you’re launching a startup in Rhode Island, your first stop is RIHub. Started in 2019 under Governor Gina Raimondo, we enable and accelerate entrepreneurial ventures that have a high potential for growth. Through our incubation space, online community portal and numerous programs, we work to build an engine of entrepreneurship for Rhode Island by connecting entrepreneurs, inventors, students, investors, corporate leaders and two global accelerators: MassChallenge and IBM Alpha Zone. In addition, we provide free mentoring services via MIT-developed Venture Mentoring Services. Join us to find your pathway to growth and success. To learn more, please visit RIHub.org.