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  • SEG Prepares to Launch National Search for its Next Change-Making Chief Executive

    Looking to Expand Reach and Impact in Inclusive Entrepreneurship, SEG Prepares to Launch National Search for its Next Change-Making Chief Executive

    After 13 years with SEG, Kelly Ramirez plans to step aside later this year
    SEG Board applauds Ramirez’s nearly decade-and-a-half of groundbreaking work to build a more representative innovation ecosystem in New England
    Kelly Ramirez will step down as CEO of Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG) later this year. Ramirez has overseen a growth and evolution at SEG that has helped to firmly establish Rhode Island as a hub for inclusive entrepreneurship. SEG’s board will launch a national search for a dynamic, visionary and change-making CEO in the weeks ahead.
    “When I first moved here nearly a decade and a half ago, Rhode Island was a state still trying to find its place in the new innovation economy. Since then, in large part because of SEG’s impact, Rhode Island has become a hub for innovation and a model for inclusive entrepreneurship that is driven by social impact. Stepping away from an organization I helped build is certainly bittersweet, but I am excited to write my next chapter and support SEG as a supporter, volunteer, donor, and cheerleader,” Ramirez said. “I am so thankful for the passion and generosity of the many business and community leaders who raised their hands and volunteered to share their knowledge, networks and resources to get SEG off the ground. That generosity helped make possible a vision for an economy that could benefit everyone.”
    Since launching in 2009, more than 1,800 entrepreneurs and companies have participated in SEG programs, including NaloxBox, Hope’s Harvest, GoPeer, and the Steel Yard. 
    SEG was one of the first incubation and accelerator organizations in the country to focus on social impact as a pathway to create opportunities, especially for those entrepreneurs and businesses that traditionally face barriers to access. Nationally, women founders secured only about 2 percent of all venture capital investments in 2020. In the first three quarters of 2020, Black and Latinx-led ventures secured only 2.6 percent of all venture funding. Since its founding, nearly 60 percent of the ventures to go through SEG programs have been women-owned and over the last three years, SEG has increased the percentage of BIPOC-owned ventures in its programming from less than 20 percent to nearly half. 
    SEG’s reach and impact has captured attention regionally and nationally. Last year, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo brought Vice President Kamala Harris to Social Enterprise Greenhouse as part of the Biden Administration’s campaign to promote the roles that entrepreneurship, small businesses, and innovation will play in the country’s economic recovery from COVID.
    “We are so thankful and appreciative for Kelly’s years of committed leadership to SEG and her impactful work to build an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem focused on social impact in Rhode Island. Her leadership provided the foundation and vision for SEG to thrive for the past 13 years. From her start, Kelly has fully embodied and pushed forward our mission to create a more just, equitable, and resilient economy,” said SEG board co-chairs MJ Kaplan and Kathy Bendheim. “Our next chief executive will build on this strong foundation, and will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for SEG’s growth, staff, programs and partnerships in pursuit of its mission. There’s never been a better time to accelerate inclusive social innovation and impact in the US.”
    Under Ramirez’s leadership, SEG has broadened its portfolio of programs and services and launched a mentor and sponsorship program that is supported by more than 200 volunteer experts who provide thousands of hours of pro-bono advising, facilitation, and coaching each year. SEG was instrumental in launching the Rhode Island Business Empowerment Network (RIBEN) earlier this year and partnered with the United Way of Rhode Island to establish the Nonprofit Innovation Lab that supports innovation amongst a growing sector of Rhode Island’s economy.
    SEG has always been outcome and impact focused. Since launching, SEG’s network of ventures have grown to support more than 3,000 jobs. An estimated 80 percent of SEG Accelerator graduates are operational and employ on average five people. By comparison, the Small Business Association reports roughly half of all startups close shop within five years of founding and only 30 percent are operational 10 years after launching. SEG’s ventures are firmly rooted in social impact and span a variety of industries, including health and wellness, food and agriculture, and environment. Combined, SEG’s ventures have reached more than 5 million people.
    The SEG board of directors will launch a national search for a new CEO in the coming weeks with a goal to fill the position before the end of the year. Ramirez will continue to serve as CEO through the transition. SEG’s Chief Operating Officer Matt Ramirez (no relation to Kelly) joined SEG in 2019 and will work closely with Kelly, SEG staff, and the board to ensure a smooth transition.
    ABOUT SOCIAL ENTERPRISE GREENHOUSE: Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG) accelerates impact by providing inclusive support and networks for entrepreneurs and businesses committed to positive societal and economic change. SEG fosters an ecosystem of diverse stakeholders who work to enable a more just, equitable, and resilient economy. SEG is based in Rhode Island and operates statewide virtually and from sites in Providence, Newport, and Pawtucket/Central Falls. Its network of 1,800+ enterprises and 200+ business and community leaders contributes time, expertise, and funding to grow Rhode Island’s social impact ecosystem. To learn more, visit www.segreenhouse.org.

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