Thanks to a $2 million gift from the family of Donald Ryan ’69, Providence College has launched the Ryan Incubator for Entrepreneurship in the Arts and Sciences. Not only will the Incubator be a physical space for presentations and collaboration, but also a network of alumni who will coach and mentor entrepreneurial-minded students. This endeavor is not limited to just business school students; rather, it plans to serve any students who wish to pursue their entrepreneurial ideas.
Kelly Ramirez, co-founder of Social Enterprise Greenhouse, a Providence-based nonprofit incubator which supports local entrepreneurs, leads the project’s development. She began this role in late September and is also an adjunct professor in the business school.
“The incubator is a work in progress,” Ramirez says. “I’ve definitely been listening and learning from students and faculty to know what’s needed. But we are launching a couple of things.”
The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fellowship launches this summer as part of the Incubator, which will place students with startups in the local community, pair them with alumni coaches, and provide a series of workshops along with a $4,000 stipend. In the fall, Ramirez plans to host a bootcamp/pitch competition for students who have already started or are interested in starting their own businesses.
Also, the incubator advises the entrepreneurship club on campus as well as creates partnerships in the community to support local businesses, particularly in Smith Hill. Ramirez is working closely with the business and innovation minor and says, “The goal is to have more entrepreneurial-related courses in the longer run.”
Daniel Carrero ’23, a philosophy major, works with Ramirez and plays a part in the Incubator’s development. “Historically,” he says, “there seems to be this big split between the business school and Arts & Sciences. It almost feels like you go to two different schools. But the wonderful thing about entrepreneurship—the wonderful thing about the incubator as a vehicle for entrepreneurship—is it can bridge the gap.” Carrero emphasizes how “a lot of creativity is needed for startups” and entrepreneurs need to “use both sides of the brain.”
The Incubator website will soon feature profiles of alumni. “There’s a lot of great lessons, feedback, knowledge, and resources that will be tangible, concrete tools for students in the upcoming months,” Carrero says.
Caroline Craig ’24 is the philanthropic social chair and operations secretary of PC’s Entrepreneurship Society. “The Incubator is an amazing opportunity for students in the business school to learn about entrepreneurship by having the opportunity to use new technologies and work with peers,” she says.
“With any good entrepreneurial venture, the incubator will continue to listen and learn from its primary customers, PC students, to learn where we should go in the future,” Ramirez says. She encourages all students interested in entrepreneurship, whether that means starting one’s own business or having an entrepreneurial mindset in one’s career, to reach out to her.