May 2021 Newsletter
Power of the Pivot – CC Business Corporation
RIBBA’s mission is made possible by a stellar community of businesses, staff, volunteers, and supporters. We’d like to place a spotlight on one of the members of this incredible network: C.C. Business Corporation.

Marcellus Sharpe, Owner and President of CC Business Corporation, a business focusing on security services, office cleaning services, knows personally what it means to build, grow and adapt even when it’s uncomfortable or unpopular. This is a key ingredient for success in the world of business. Sharpe grew up in the Providence, RI area and spent some time between other locations such as Virginia, as he moved forward in the workforce, trying different jobs. As Marcellus did not attend college, it was very important to him to pursue other avenues of education and training and tapped into his strong sense of self-motivation to help him with this. In 1984, Marcellus officially embarked on the business owner path and started C.C. Business Corporation. These efforts paid off as he completed programs such as SCORE, through the SBDC, and started to pave the way toward notable leadership in business. A notable moment along this path included his receipt of the District Director Special Achievement Award from the Small Business Administration (SBA) in 1995.

Although Marcellus experienced success early on in his career, he didn’t go without weathering some challenges as well. A key event that propelled Marcellus forward into stepping out into entrepreneurship was when he lost a job within the cleaning industry that he had held for three years as a young professional. Another key to success in business is building a network and having meaningful and intentional conversations—something that Marcellus exemplified from the beginning of his career. When he was transitioning out of the company as result of job loss, he was committed to developing a solid plan, and had a pivotal conversation with the owner about his interest in starting a business. He received helpful recommendations such as: starting without partners to hold onto more equity, and begin with low overhead and startup costs to accelerate growth. This conversation led to the beginning of a mentoring relationship, to which Marcellus credits a lot of his success.
Are you a Providence Small Business Looking for FREE Business Support Services?
Our business development programs and services are here to help Providence-based minority businesses receive the essential resources they need to achieve sustainable growth.

Fill out an application here to begin receiving FREE business services or contact us for more information.
Restaurant Revitalization Fund
The American Rescue Plan Act established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) to provide funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses keep their doors open.

This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.

RIBBA works directly with your business (for FREE) to ensure that your application has everything needed and is completed correctly.
Scholarships Being Accepted - Deadline Approaching
We are accepting applications for our 2021 Scholarship.

Scholarship award amounts vary from $500-$1000 for each individual student. To date, RIBBA has given out over $45,000 in scholarships to Black students entering college or university.

The deadline for applications is 4:00 pm on May 27, 2021.

Free Online Marketing Workshop - May 18th from 6-7:30 pm
Join us for a workshop on ‘Where to start when marketing your business online' on on Tuesday, May 18th from 6-7:30 pm presented by Melvin Veasley, CEO and Founder of MVP Marketing Results. Beginning to market your business online can seem overwhelming, but this workshop will offer an enlightening and tangible view on how to do it.
Bryant Students Partner with RIBBA to Present Disparity Research Project
Earlier this month, students at Bryant University presented a research project on Rhode Island's minority economic climate and the data supporting RIBBA's business purpose. The results were more than we could have imagined. The team's presentation and supporting data and research shed a light on the current situation in the state and what simple suggestions can have a significant impact. Some of the data points they shared that felt most significant were:

  1. Rhode Island's procurement goal for government contracting is less than many other New England States (RI - 10%, CT - 25%, Boston - 25 %)
  2. Black unemployment is nearly double that of White unemployment in RI
  3. The most common financing for Black entrepreneurs is through personal credit cards.
  4. Only 33% of Black RI'ers own a home

The reason we share this data is to highlight the importance of more equitable legistlation. There are currently bills up for vote that will directly impact the above statistics. If you, like us, are ready to have a direct impact on the future of our state, contact us to learn more about our Advocacy & Policy Committee.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Application Assistance
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll. Borrowers may be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness.

RIBBA works directly with your business (for FREE) to ensure that your application has everything needed and is completed correctly.
In the News: Opinion/Ranglin: Now's the time for investment that works for all of us
COVID-19 has laid bare the racism that has always existed throughout the US and right here in Rhode Island. For 400 plus years, Black Americans have been shut out of accessing the essential resources and opportunities needed to reach their full potential.

Volunteer Spotlight: Leo Selvaggio
Leo is an internationally known artist and designer with a Masters in Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Media from Columbia College Chicago. Leo has spent his professional career facilitating and innovating student-driven learning in makerspace environments. He currently serves as an Instructional Media Technologist for the Multimedia Labs at Brown University. His work has been featured in Vice, Fast Company, C-Net, TechCrunch, the Washington Post, as well as the cover feature of Bloomberg magazine. Leo is also an avid volleyball player, and lover of all things cheese. He is excited to volunteer at RIBBA and use his passion for photography to participate and support the community. His artistic work can be seen at
Networking 101: The Top 10 Characteristics of Master Networkers
This workshop will help you develop networking skills to become a center of influence, as a go to person, who knows people who can solve other people’s problems.

LEAP Initiative for Young Adults:
Leveraging Linkedin for Career Building, Networking & Job Search
Join this hands-on, highly interactive webinar where we'll discuss ways to reach out to connections & professionals in your target industry, ask for networking meetings (informational interviews), and grow your reputation by contributing on your home page, via micro blogs and in groups.

RIBBA's General Membership Body Meeting
This month's general membership meeting is taking place virtually on Tuesday, May 25, 2021 (6:00 PM - 7:30 PM)

*Please note: Zoom Account Login is now required
Welcome New Members
Volunteer Opportunities
RIBBA’s impact is dependent on not just staff, but also the dedicated volunteers in our community that support our very important work. Below are our current volunteer opportunities.

RIBBA is always looking for skills-based volunteers to help drive our mission forward. Please click below to share your your volunteer interest with the team.
Become a member
Discover the power of an ally, advocate, & change agent standing behind you, your business, career & our community. 
You can have an impact today
Your contribution will provide direct support for
RIBBA’s programs and services that directly impact Rhode Island's Black Business community.