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Small Business Assistance Program

The goal of the program is to assist viable entrepreneurs and small business that encounter difficulty obtaining adequate credit from traditional lending organizations. Among the businesses the program targets are women- and minority-owned establishments as well as enterprises in Rhode Island’s underserved communities.

The corporation is partnered with the following organizations to provide direct loans to businesses.

Partners for direct loans at or above $25,000:

  • Business Development Company of Rhode Island
  • South Eastern Economic Development (SEED) Corporation
  • Community Investment Corporation

Partners for direct micro-loans between $2,000 and $25,000:

  • Center for Women & Enterprise
  • Social Enterprise Greenhouse
  • Community Investment Corporation

The corporation has also partnered with BDC Capital Corporation to establish the Rhode Island Capital Access Program. Businesses can borrow as little as $1,000 or up to $750,000. The program encourages banks and credit unions to make slightly riskier loans by providing matching funds from the state to create cash collateral accounts. The program is simple, fast, and flexible for both borrowers and lenders.



Companies looking for more information on the Small Business Assistance Program should email Dan Jennings at dan.jennings@commerceri.com or Doris Blanchard at doris.blanchard@commerceri.com. Specific contacts for each lender are as follows:

  • BDC Capital: Dave Harrington, (781) 928-1117
  • BDC Rhode Island: Peter Dorsey, (401) 351-3036
  • Center for Women and Enterprise: Susan Rittscher or Amy Grondin, CPA (617) 532-0242
  • Community Investment Corporation: Buck Harris, (401) 406-7282, ext. 128
  • SEED: Maria Gooch-Smith, (508) 822-1020 x314
  • Social Enterprise Greenhouse: Amy Dickson, (401) 272-2558 x4047


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