Former Who to Watch Honoree Lisa Raiola Named USA TODAY's 2024 Rhode Island Woman of the Year for Pioneering Business Development

Since 2014, the food industry visionary has helped launch over 500 businesses


In Warren, a quiet revolution led by Lisa Raiola, the visionary behind Hope & Main (and former Who to Watch honoree), is reshaping the local food industry. Since its launch in 2014, Hope & Main has become a pivotal force for nearly 500 emerging businesses, offering not only commercial kitchen space, but also crucial mentorship and educational opportunities.

Raiola's innovative efforts have broken down systemic barriers, fostering an ecosystem of growth, collaboration, and sustainable success. Transitioning from a career in healthcare ethics and academia, Raiola's personal battle with uterine cancer redirected her path toward alternative nutrition and cooking, culminating in the founding of Hope & Main.

Under Raiola's leadership, the organization has seen the launch of over 500 food businesses, with a marked emphasis on uplifting women and entrepreneurs of color. Hope & Main's influence stretches far beyond kitchen spaces, driving economic mobility and fostering a community of successful entrepreneurs.

Key initiatives led by Raiola, such as Nourish our Neighbors, have been crucial in supporting vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, too. With the expansion into a restaurant and marketplace in Providence and plans for a new building, Hope & Main is set to amplify its impact even more.

Recognizing Lisa Raiola's contributions to Rhode Island's food scene and the broader community, USA TODAY named her Woman of the Year for Rhode Island. Her leadership has not only taken Hope & Main to new heights, but also highlighted the importance of nurturing local talent and supporting the local economy.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here