Alumni News

Mollie Frazer Williams ‘82 Champions Local Entrepreneurs at Innovate Newport

Mollie Frazier Williams ‘82 is a creator, teacher, connector, and innovator at heart. When the opportunity to lead Innovate Newport came along, Mollie knew it was the perfect fit. “It was like my entire career led up to this,” she said.

Innovate Newport is a non-profit organization launched in partnership between the City of Newport and the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce, and its mission is to foster innovation and entrepreneurship with qualitative programming, and supportive resources for businesses in all phases of development. Through the organization, entrepreneurs gain access to events, programming, resources, networks, mentors, potential investors, and customers.

As Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Mollie supports and fosters the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the greater Newport region to further a vision of establishing an innovation district in the heart of the City of Newport. 

"Innovate Newport is a prime location for cultivating a community of innovators and entrepreneurs all in one space,” Mollie shared. “It is a tremendous launching pad for start-ups and next stage growth businesses.”

Innovate Newport is based in a renovated elementary school. The space includes a high tech, dynamic co-working facility which Mollie says “has incredible energy. It’s all about passion.”

Prior to moving to Rhode Island, Mollie spent nine years at Calvert School where she held roles as a Ninth Age teacher and Middle School Dean of Students. During her time at Dean of Students, Mollie incorporated the QUEST program into the summer Middle Grades Partnership on campus. The QUEST experience includes a series of projects that require students to use design thinking and teamwork to complete. Her role at Innovate Newport also led her back to the classroom. She is an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Salve Regina University.

Learn more about some of the programs Mollie created at Innovate Newport!

Startup Founders Dinners
Start-up founders meet bi-monthly at Innovate Newport with the same group of 8-10 peers. These growth-oriented founders share, in a completely confidential setting, the challenges and rewards of entrepreneurship, and how it impacts both their professional and personal lifestyles. Each dinner includes a Guest of Honor, who facilitates a discussion on a specific topic such as: funding options and considerations, sustainable scaling strategies, concept to commercialization, strategic planning and marketing research, and problem solving and pivoting.

International Blue Tech Pitch Competition
The Rhode Island/Israel Blue Tech Startup Competition is a collaboration between Innovate Newport and their counterpart in Ashdod, Israel. The goal of the competition is to cultivate the international blue tech ecosystem by supporting startups and connecting them with strategic partners, mentors, and resources.
The Blue Tech Startup Competition identifies eighth startup companies in the blue tech space from both Israel and Rhode Island based on criteria developed by the innovation hubs in each city. The companies compete for a first place prize that includes cash as well as a customized trip to the partnering country where the winner gains access to personalized introductions, meetings, and co-working space. 
Student Entrepreneurship Summit
The Student Entrepreneurship Summit provides students from three local universities (Salve Regina University, Roger Williams University, and University of Rhode Island) the opportunity to come together in a neutral space (Innovate Newport) to network and learn from and with each other.
The Blue & You Summer Speaker Series
Considering Rhode Island has 400 miles of coastline, the blue economy has always been a vital component of the state and greater Newport’s economy. In recent years, there has been a renewed focus on redefining the term and reenergizing efforts around making Rhode Island a regional hub for blue economy and blue tech.
Open to the public, the Blue & You Summer Speaker Series provides educational sessions that help citizens understand what the blue economy is and how it impacts them.

The Blue Economy in Rhode Island has seven industry sectors: 
●   Ports & Shipping
●   Aquaculture
●   Fisheries
●   Defense
●   Offshore Renewable Energy
●   Marine Trades
●   Tourism & Recreation
Calvert School is a coed independent lower and middle school.