“Julie Sullivan Owens is a relentless optimist on a mission to find the good, partner with other changemakers, and work towards a more inclusive and innovative economy,” said SEG co-chairs MJ Kaplan and David Melançon. “Her prior work with SEG, coupled with her success as an entrepreneur, will provide her with a great foundation for long-term success as SEG’s chief executive. We look forward to seeing Julie grow the organization, develop new programming, and expand the reach of proven initiatives.”
Owens has worked with organizations across the country, helping them cultivate strategic thinking and create positive impact. Her consulting work largely focused on strategic planning and innovative growth in the private and nonprofit sectors, with a significant emphasis in the healthcare industry. In that work, she worked with clients to create innovative programs that improve the patient experience and efforts to decrease barriers to care for people who are underinsured.
“Social Enterprise Greenhouse is one of the most important organizations in our state. Over the last decade and a half, SEG has provided underrepresented entrepreneurs with the support, resources, and networks they need to grow their businesses and create opportunities in their communities. The opportunity to lead SEG as it looks to grow its impact is truly an honor,” said Julie Sullivan Owens, Chief Executive Officer of Social Enterprise Greenhouse. “I look forward to working with our partners across the state and providing our dynamic, diverse network of current and past participants with ongoing support in an effort to build a more representative, more just, and more equitable economy in Rhode Island.”
As CEO of SEG, Owens will lead a team of 18 employees and hundreds of volunteers. SEG supports hundreds of entrepreneurs and social impact-minded ventures each year through its four flagship programs - the Ideator, the Incubator, the Incubadora, and the Impact Accelerator. The Incubadora is a nationally recognized model that provides business development support, sponsorship, and resources to Latinx entrepreneurs with all programming delivered in Spanish.
“Julie has been an exceptional partner over the years and has shown that she values representation and opportunity,” said Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Oscar Mejias. “The Hispanic Chamber and SEG have a long history of collaboration that I look forward to building upon under Julie’s leadership at SEG.”
SEG is partnering with the Hispanic Chamber, the Rhode Island Black Business Association, Center for Southeast Asians, Hope & Main, and Multicultural Innovation Center on the Community Navigator Pilot Program, an initiative that is powered by the U.S. Small Business Administration and connects underrepresented and underserved entrepreneurs to the programs, services and capital they need to recover, grow, or start their businesses. In addition, SEG partners each year with United Way of Rhode Island to support the Nonprofit Innovation Lab, an accelerator program for emerging nonprofit leaders.
Owens holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and a BS from Stonehill College. She is on the Boards of Directors of the Barrington Education Foundation and Eagle Speed, a youth running organization. She lives in Barrington, RI with her husband and four teenage children.
SEG has always been outcome and impact-focused. Since launching, SEG’s network of ventures has 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 the environment. Combined, SEG’s ventures have reached more than 5 million people.
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.