In a Pawtucket gym, instead of stacks of kettlebells and jump ropes, sat a collection of tables and folding chairs. Governor Raimondo, Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor, and more than a dozen small businesses and community partners all gathered at Bileau Built and told personal stories about how they used a 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 the 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 proved extremely beneficial. This is thought to be the first state backed loan program in R.I. history.
Throughout the discussion, business owners shared their personal stories of how the program helped. 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. And despite the varied industries around the table, most of the problems these small businesses encountered were virtually identical, which made for useful feedback.
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 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.Categories: Innovation, News, Resources Tags: manufacturing, networking, small business