During a live event at Providence College on December 8, 2021, the Rhode-Island Israel Collaborative (RIIC) and the Rhode Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (RIHCC) announced the latest winners of the RI Latino Biz Web Design Project, which trains Hispanic college students on the Israel Wix web-development platform and then partners those students with local, Hispanic-owned small businesses in need of web presence. The event marked the end of the project’s second round of collaboration and training, following the successful completion of its pilot program in April, 2021
From left to right, Oscar Mejias, Chanel Perez, Avi Nevel and Ambassador Meron Reuben
Eighteen students from Bryant University and Providence College participated in this round of the project. Under the supervision of RIHCC Programs Director Martha Perez Barton, those students were trained on how to build websites using the Israeli Wix web-development platform, then paired with local businesses in need of increased online visibility. The students were then tasked with designing websites in both English and Spanish that reflected those businesses’ needs and identities. Wix, an Israeli software company based in Tel Aviv, supported the project by providing training materials, webhosting, and additional online resources.
From left to right, Miriam Ross, Oscar Mejias, RI Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, Dr. Ana Cecilia Iraheta, Foreign Language Studies at Providence College, Avi Nevel and Ambassador Meron Reuben
The awards ceremony was emceed by RIHCC board member Veronica Baron, with RIHCC CEO Oscar Mejias providing opening remarks. Wix Head of Training Yoav Cohen joined via Zoom, and was followed by in-person words from Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea. Israel Consul General Meron Reuben spoke after Gorbea, and was followed by RIIC CEO Avi Nevel, and RIIC Director Miriam Ross. Also in attendance Dr. Ana Cecilia Iraheta, Foreign Language Studies who was on the organizing committee and other executives from Provicende College leadership, Ernie Almonte, Chief of Staff to Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor Sabrina Matos.
Bryant students Christina Camillo (Marketing Major and Spanish Concentration) and Darren Sousa (Double major Spanish and Global Supply Chain), with the guidance of Patricia Gomez, Senior Lecturer of Modern Language, participated in the project.
Ross, head of the project’s judging committee, spoke about the students’ work and named the project’s winners. The winning students took home prizes of $1,000, $500, and $250, provided by the Israel Consulate General to New England who also provided funding to support the program. The winners also received congratulatory citations from Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee and Lt. Governor Sabina Matos. All participants, students, companies and guests received small duffel bags as a gift of participation.
The top prize went to Jasmin Tol Orellana, for her work with Providence’s Idamaris Hair Salon. Loraine Estrela de Leon took second prize for her work with Central Falls’ Guatelinda Hair Salon, and Chanel Perez earned third-place honors for the website she designed for Help Rebuilding Construction, LLC, in Providence. All of the winners are students at Providence College.
From left to right, Ernie Almonte, Oscar Mejias, Martha Perez Barton, Eli Levin, Meron Reuben, Miriam Ross, Veronica Baron, Nellie Gorbea, Carmen Diaz Jardio, Edgar Moya