Posted by: Providence Chamber of Commerce | December 5, 2011

Online Business Incubator Seeking GPCC Mentors & Participation in Resource Directory

There is a new and unique opportunity for you to participate in an exciting initiative with the potential to support and develop the greater Providence business community. The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, in collaboration with several community based organizations, is implementing an Online Business Incubator (OBI), with funds from the Federal government. It is a ground-breaking pilot program, and unique nationally because it:

  • Targets help to motivated urban entrepreneurs that want to start or grow their own business,
  • Combines interactive access with valuable business information and tools,
  • Provides interactive access to a group of experienced business mentors that help take the entrepreneurs and their businesses to the next level, and
  • Provides a directory of community business resources to provide ongoing support.

We already know that a significant portion of OBI’s participant entrepreneurs will come from Providence’s urban neighborhoods. As a result, we think that GPCC members could be ideal mentors for the OBI program.

GPCC members can also provide some of the basic foundation for OBI’s Community Resource Directory.  This Resource Directory will provide some of the products and services needed for OBI Entrepreneurs to get started. It is our hope that OBI Resource Directory Services will initially be provided on a pro bono, no charge basis, and then evolve to normal commercial terms as these businesses grow and prosper. Eventually, the OBI Resource Directory could become an important online revenue source for participating community businesses.

This is a unique opportunity for the GPCC membership to support the community in a high-impact strategic manner.  We encourage you to become OBI Mentors and/or sign-up for the OBI Resource Directory.  To get more information, you can click on OBI-BroadbandRI, or to sign-up, email Rob Panoff (, who leads OBI’s implementation.

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