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Small Business Assistance Program Update

November 22, 2017

In a Pawtucket gym, instead of kettlebells and jump ropes, sat a collection of tables and chairs. Governor Raimondo,Gov. Raimondo, community partners, and small businesses gather at Bileau Built, Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor, and more than a dozen small businesses and community partners all gathered and told personal stories about how they used this state-backed Small Business Assistance program to further their businesses and advance their dreams as small business owners. To date, 30 loans have been administered through this program.

Throughout the 90 minute discussion, there was great feedback on how the program is working, and just as importantly, what can be improved upon. Many of these businesses could not receive funding through traditional lending sources, so the Governor’s plan of putting $5.45 million “on the street” to be distributed through community lenders was extremely beneficial. (This is thought to be the first state backed loan program in R.I. history.)

In one instance, this loan program allowed the business owner to attend a trade show which netted a huge business win. In another, the loan allowed the business owner to quit their previous job and concentrate on their passion full-time. The company has now tripled in size. One telling tidbit: despite the varied industries gathered around the table, most of the problems these small businesses encountered were virtually identical.

Small businesses are the backbone of the state’s economy and Governor Raimondo and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation have made this initiative a priority. Through the Small Business Assistance Program – now with 30 loans have been administered – and several other programs like the Innovation Vouchers program (43 awards announced) and Start-Up Assistance, we are making a difference for these important businesses throughout the state. And to quote the Governor, “We’re just getting started.”

To learn about more Small Business successes, click here.

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