COVID-19 Business Resources - Rhode Island Commerce

COVID-19 Business Resources

 

Free PPE and Supplies for Small Businesses

Governor Raimondo has announced a collaboration with chambers of commerce and other associations to distribute 500,000 masks and much-needed disinfectant solution to our small businesses and non-profit organizations that are open or reopening and still need help accessing them.

Small businesses with 50 or fewer employees that are open or are reopening — including retailers, grocery stores, manufacturers, restaurants and service-based businesses — are able to access a month’s supply of product through these organizations. For more detailed information about this initiative click here.

In exchange for these supplies, businesses will need to fill out a contact form and show they’ve completed their COVID-19 control plan.

Distribution begins the week of May 18.  Supplies can be arranged to be picked up from the chambers and industry associations listed below. Please call first to confirm availability and check back for updates.

  • Block Island Chamber of Commerce (visit website)
    1 Water St., New Shoreham RI  / 401-466-2982
    PPE Info:  TBD / Call 401-466-2982
  • Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce (visit website)
    3288 Post Rd., Warwick RI  /  401-732-1100
    PPE Info:  Register for PPE at https://checkoutri.com/events/small-business-ppe-distribution-reopeningri/.
  • Charlestown Chamber of Commerce (visit website)
    4945 Old Post Rd., Charlestown RI  /  401-364-3878
    PPE Info:  Businesses can pick up masks and cleaner vouchers Friday, June 5 and Tuesday, June 9 from 11:00am to 2:00pm at the Chamber. If you can’t make it Thursday, contact Heather Paliotta at heatherpaliotta@earthlink.net to schedule an alternate time.
  • Cranston Chamber of Commerce (visit website)
    50 Midway Rd. #178, Cranston RI  /  401-316-5425
    PPE Info:  Distribution held on May 27 and May 28 from 1:00pm to 4:30pm at the Cranston Central Library located at 140 Sockanosset Crossroad, Cranston RI 02910. Please enter by the side door.
  • East Bay Chamber of Commerce (visit website)
    16 Cutler St., Warren RI  / 401-245-0750
    PPE Info:  TBD / 401-245-0750
  • East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce (visit website)
    580 Main St., East Greenwich RI  /  401-885-0020
    PPE Info:  Pick up Wednesday, June 3 from 10:00am to 1:30pm depending on availability. Call 401-885-0020.
  • East Providence Chamber of Commerce (visit website)
    1011 Waterman Ave., East Providence RI  / 401-438-1212
    PPE Info: By appointment only. Please visit website for details. 
  • Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce (visit website)
    30 Exchange Terrace, 4th Fl., Providence RI  / 401-521-5000
    PPE Info:  TBD / Call 401-521-5000
  • Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (visit website)
    1955 Westminster St., 2nd Fl., Providence RI  / 401-400-1340
    PPE Info:  TBD / Call 401-400-1340
  • Jamestown Chamber of Commerce (visit website)
    P.O. Box 35,  Jamestown RI  / 401-423-3650
    PPE Info:  Email liz@jamestownrichamber.com or call 401-423-3650 to arrange a pick up time Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 11:00am.
  • Narragansett Chamber of Commerce (visit website)
    P.O. Box 742, Narragansett RI  / 401-783-7121
    PPE Info:  TBD / Call 401-783-7121
  • (Greater) Newport Chamber of Commerce (visit website)
    513 Broadway,  Newport RI  / 401-847-1600
    PPE Info:  Complete the business contact form and call 401-847-1600 to schedule.
  • Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce (visit website)
    6 Blackstone Valley Pl., Lincoln RI  /  401-334-1000
    PPE Info:  Call to schedule pick up times. Contact the Chamber for details.
  • North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce (visit website)
    8045 Post Rd., North Kingstown RI  /  401-295-5566
    PPE Info:  For businesses who pre-register by submitting the contact form, pick up is Wednesday, June 10 from 11:00am to 12:00pm at the Chamber address (enter north end; exit south end of Post Rd.).
  • Ocean Community (Westerly) Chamber of Commerce (visit website)
    1 Chamber Way, Westerly RI  /  401-596-7761
    PPE Info:  Distribution Monday – Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Call 401-596-7761.
  • Rhode Island Black Business Association (visit website)
    3 Regency Plaza, #3, Providence RI  /  401-383-1179
    PPE Info:  TBD / Call 401-383-1179
  • Rhode Island Hospitality Association (visit website)
    94 Sabra St., Cranston RI  /  401-223-1120
    PPE Info:  TBD / Call 401-223-1120
  • Rhode Island Manufacturers Association (visit website)
    2 Douglas Pike. Smithfield RI  /  401-751-0160
    PPE Info:  Call Dave Chevenert at 401-751-0160 to arrange distribution; pick up from Tuesday – Thursday 10:00am to 1:00pm.
  • Southern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce (visit website)
    230 Old Tower Hill Rd., Wakefield RI  /  401-783-2818
    PPE Info:  Distribution starting May 19 by appointment. Call 401-783-2818.

 

 

SupplyRI – COVID-19 Suppliers List

SupplyRI has put together a list of local Rhode Island businesses that sell PPE, sanitizing supplies, medical equipment and cleaning services. If you’re interested in doing business with these companies, you can download the list here.

 

 

Small Business Laptop Program

Información en espanol.

Thanks to a generous donation from the Microsoft Corporation, RI Commerce will be donating 500 laptops to Rhode Island small businesses with fewer than 25 employees. Laptops will be allocated to small businesses that will use the devices either to make improvements to business operations and revenue or to promote additional opportunities for employees to work remotely/virtually. Priority consideration will be given to businesses located in an Opportunity Zone and/or those that are owned/led by people of color, women, veterans or low to moderate income individuals. Applications are due on May 26, 2020 and are available here.

 

Additional Tech Resources

Información en espanol.

 

Free Tech Coaching

Many businesses are struggling to transform their technology to continue operating during the suppression phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have partnered with Rhode Island tech leaders to offer free coaching sessions to make this transformation easier. If you’d like help, just give us your contact information here.

Are you tech-savvy enough to DIY? Scroll down for free resources and other info to help you ramp up your digital transformation.

How we can help

Not sure if we can help you? Here are examples of how we’ve helped other businesses:

  • Home office setup: internet and home office software, hardware and networks
  • Running business remotely: document sharing, Zoom meetings, other business functions in the cloud
  • E-commerce: selling, booking, ordering, payments, fulfillment and logistics
  • Marketing: online presence, email marketing, social media marketing, SEO
  • Food & beverage industry: online presence, delivery services, marketing

What others are saying

Here’s a sampling of what business owners are saying about the free tech help:

  • “All questions answered. It was a relief to get help.”
  • “[The volunteer] was extremely knowledgeable, but was able to explain in ways I could understand. She gave me tips and ideas to act on immediately and followed up twice with additional info she researched.”
  • “I just wanted to thank everyone involved.  Everyone was so KIND!!!”
  • “E commerce will keep us in business! Thanks!”

RI SCORE Virtual Marketing Series

RI SCORE and the Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE) have developed a virtual marketing series, Marketing Mondays. It is the beginning of a robust set of programs designed to help you understand the issues and challenges of surviving and thriving amidst the economic upheaval of COVID-19. Click each link below for more information.

Title: Social Media Marketing in the Time of COVID-19
Date: 5/26/2020
Time: 1:00 PM
Register here

Learn more about RI SCORE here.


DIY Tech Resources (some free)

For nonprofits and businesses conducting COVID-19 response
  • Airtable is offering free use of Airtable Pro plan as a modern database for any non-political, humanitarian effort tackling COVID relief. There is no time limit. It is also planning to make the service free for students too. Learn more here.
  • TechSoup is a nonprofit international network of non-governmental organizations that provides technical support and technological tools to other nonprofits. They have compiled software and platforms nonprofits can utilize during COVID-19 here.
  • BlueJeans is offering free access to its video conference service to first responders and NGOs for 90-days. Learn more here.
  • DropBox is offering free DropBox Business and HelloSign Enterprise subscriptions for a three-month period to nonprofits and NGOs that are focused on fighting COVID-19. Organizations working to stop the virus or providing relief to those impacted are encouraged to apply. Learn more here.
  • Hootsuite is offering free access for Hootsuite Professional to small businesses and nonprofits until July 1. Helping to manage social media, and stay connected with your customers and communities. Learn more here.
  • LogMeIn is offering free site-wide licensing for 3 months of its video conferencing solution, GoToMeeting, for eligible organizations (health care providers, educational institutions, municipalities and non-profits) here
  • Mailchimp is offering free standard accounts to eligible groups sending critical public health information about COVID-19 through June 30. Learn more here.
  • Salesforce is offering free access to technology for emergency response teams, call centers, and care management teams for health systems affected by coronavirus. Learn more here.
  • Slack is offering free upgrades to paid plans for teams working on coronavirus pandemic research, response or mitigation. Interested teams can email a special address to get this set up, and a consultation on how best to get started with remote collaboration. Learn more here.
  • Zendesk’s Tech For Good program will donate free software and support to help manage volunteering, relief efforts, home assistance, and more here
Resources for POS, e-commerce and accounting
  • Clover has created a COVID-19 resource center for small businesses to help them with payments, delivery, and financial relief. Learn more here or call the Clover help desk at 866-950-0038 which can be used for businesses looking for help trying to generate sales during this very difficult time.
  • e-tab has set up a Rapid Deployment Program for taking online orders to get your restaurants online in 2–3 hours. Learn more here
  • GrowthLab has developed a calculator for estimating a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) calculator to estimate the potential maximum loan amount, likely forgivable amount, and remaining balance that would convert into a term loan. Learn more here.
  • Shopify is offering an extended 90 day free trial, gift card support on all of its plans, and free email marketing. Learn more here. 
  • Square has announced it is waiving subscription for the month of April for sellers that use Square products, including Square Invoices, Appointments, Retail, Restaurants, Payroll, and Square Online Store. Square Online Store has also launched curbside pickup and local delivery options to support small business owners. Fees for these services will be waived for the next three months. Learn more here
  • Upserve is offering free 12-month access to its virtual POS system. Learn more here.
  • Wix has built an online repository of information for managing online businesses and commerce during COVID-19. Learn more here.  
Resources for remote working
  • 1Password is offering free business accounts for the first 6 months. Manage your workforce from anywhere, and safely share logins and other important resources with remote workers. Learn more here.
  • 8×8 is offering free video meetings to all users. Offers 80+ local dial-in numbers (11 toll-free) from 55+ countries and meetings of up to 50 participants without any time restrictions. Learn more here.
  • Automated Business Solutions is offering remote workplace bundles. Learn more here
  • Bill.com is extending an offer to businesses that are experiencing a significant decline in revenue as a result of COVID-19. New customers can get a free three-month subscription to Bill.com to run payables and receivables remotely. Learn more here.
  • Box is offering free secure file sharing and collaboration platform for 3 months. The offer is for their business plan and includes unlimited storage, mobile access, and advanced user and security reporting. Learn more here
  • Calendly is offering Zoom and GoToMeeting integrations—previously Premium tier features—free of charge through June. Google Hangouts/Meet remains free for users who prefer that platform. Learn more here.
  • Cisco is offering a free license for new customers of Duo Security’s two-factor authentication tool, and current customers can go above their user limit as their employees increasingly work from home. It is also offering its web security tool Umbrella and its VPN product AnyConnect, which is available until July 1. Cisco is extending services for existing customers of Webex, its video conference platform. Learn more here.
  • Clarity Wave is offering their employee engagement software for free. The system helps employers to foster a sense of community and a culture of feedback; lets employees become part of the solution; applies powerful gamified elements to encourage employees to celebrate the success of others; and collects data on what helps or hurts employees in being productive and happy. Learn more here.
  • Cloudfare is Cloudflare for Teams products free to small businesses around the world for the next six months. Learn more here.
  • Cox Communications has made their internet service available for businesses to purchase for their remote employees. If you would like to, you can now prepay for Cox internet service in advance on behalf of your employees (25 employees minimum) who are working from home. This can help ensure your employees are able to access the internet while working remotely. More information is available here.
  • Dialpad is offering free two months of its cloud-based phone system, Dialpad Talk Pro. This also includes video conferences and UberConference Business. Learn more here.
  • Discord is offering free, enhanced Go Live streaming service so that it can now support 50 simultaneous users rather than 10. Learn more here.
  • Humu is offering free nudges to anyone who wants science-backed advice for how to best work remotely, partner with colleagues who are all over the place, show appreciation for those who don’t have the flexibility to work remotely (e.g. cashiers, medical personnel). Learn more here.
  • HR Acuity is offering a free version of its SaaS solution to help businesses manage employee issues related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Learn more here.
  • Jam is offering a free audio-visual communication tool used by remote and distributed teams. You can quickly record videos or do a live call with your team. Available for 3 months. Learn more here.
  • Linkedin has 16 free learning courses that provide tips on how to stay productive, build relationships when you’re not face-to-face, use virtual meeting tools and balance family and work dynamics in a healthy way. Learn more here.
  • Microsoft has agreed to provide their Office 365 E1 program for free for six months to all R.I. employers. That includes web-based Microsoft Office applications, resources to support telecommuting such as meetings and instant messaging, as well as remote file sharing. This offer extends to businesses of all sizes — whether you have one employee or one thousand employees. Learn more here.
  • OneClickis offering free remote access to its Basic Starter Package for the next three months to assist those working remotely. Learn more here.
  • PandaDoc has created a free e-sign plan that gives companies unlimited users, unlimited document uploads, unlimited eSignatures, and payment processing. Learn more here.
  • SentinelLabs is offering free access to cybersecurity platform SentinelOne Core between Monday, March 16 through Friday, May 16. SentinelOne’s cloud-based platform seamlessly scales, making it well suited to protect both businesses and employees rapidly transitioning to a work-from-home environment. Learn more here.
  • Splashtop is offering free 60-day licenses to its Business Access remote access software. Learn more here.
  • Smartsheet is offering free templates that can be used by other organizations to build their own coronavirus preparedness dashboard, rich with CDC documentation and other resources, and related sheets and forms. Learn more here.
  • Support.com is offering free tech support to anyone working or studying remotely right now. Learn more here.
  • SurveyMonkey is offering free questionnaire templates written by survey research experts to gather data/feedback from employees, customers and broader groups impacted by the coronavirus. Learn more here
  • Threads is offering free access to their collaboration tools and Pro/Team plans for all users through July 1. Learn more here.
  • TechSmith is offering free licenses to TechSmith Snagit screen capture software and the TechSmith Video Review software through June 30. Learn more here.
  • Vidyard is offering free secure video messaging to enhance internal communications for all businesses. Learn more here.
  • Waterfall Security is offering free Remote Screen View product licenses to customers whose vendor personnel or key employees are no longer able to travel to industrial and critical infrastructure sites. Remote Screen View sends real-time images of industrial workstations to a web server that remote vendors can access. Learn more here.
  • Wave is offering free financial software solutions (accounting, bookkeeping, invoicing) for small businesses to help with cash flow — which becomes increasingly important during economic turmoil. In response to COVID-19, Wave has reduced paid services where possible to active customers, in an effort to provide financial relief during a time of need. Learn more here.
  • Workable is offering free use of its new video interviewing software for all customers, and access to a library of COVID-19 response content for use by HR professionals and business leaders. Learn more here.
  • Wrike is offering Free licenses of the versatile collaborative work management platform (Professional edition) to new customers for 6 months. Learn more here.
  •  Zoho is offering a free suite of Remotely apps until July 1. There are 11 apps in all, including ones for online meetings, training sessions, storage, project management and everyday work (in the form of word processing, spreadsheets and presentations). Learn more here.
Other resources for businesses
  • Comcast is offering free Xfinity WiFi for everyone, with hotspots available to all, including non-Xfinity subscribers. Learn more here.
  • Google is offering a free, premium version of its workplace video chat tool until July, to help businesses and schools working remotely due to coronavirus. Those features include having up to 250 participants per call, live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain, and the ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive. Learn more here.
  • Microsoft has agreed to provide their Office 365 E1 program for free for six months to all R.I. employers. That includes web-based Microsoft Office applications, resources to support telecommuting such as meetings and instant messaging, as well as remote file sharing. This offer extends to businesses of all sizes — whether you have one employee or one thousand employees. Learn more here.
  • Squarespace is offering resources for its customers to build Coronavirus related communications tools into their websites. Learn more here
  • Shipstation is offering a 90 day free trial and a really good resource for carrier updates. Learn more here.
  • USPS is offering up to a 40% discount, free shipping product analysis, shipping material, arrange pickup, and every door direct mail (EDDM). Sign up for a session with USPS at Small Business Tech Help. Learn more here.

Marketing and web development grants for exporters

If you are a small business and an exporter, the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant can provide you with funding to increase exports. As part of the CARES Act, the SBA has increased the maximum STEP grant reimbursement to eligible small businesses for website development and for design of marketing materials from $3000 to $6000. (Reimbursement is based on 50%-75% of the total cost, up to the maximum of $6000.)

With the grant funding, companies can engage with outside consultants and firms to help develop marketing strategies and materials for international customers. You can review the program guidelines for other ideas of ways to use STEP funding here.

For more information and to enroll in STEP, contact, Linda Woulfe, STEP Program Director, at 401-232-6525 or at lwoulfe@bryant.edu.

Resources for restaurants
  • e-tab has set up a Rapid Deployment Program for taking online orders to get your restaurants online in 2–3 hours. Learn more here
  • RI Thrives is connecting businesses to customers in Rhode Island and cataloging businesses offering delivery service, take-out, curbside pickup, online ordering, professional services and online classes. Learn more here.
  • SupportRIRestaurants features a catalogue of restaurants offering takeout and delivery in Rhode Island. Learn more here
  • Upserve is offering free 12-month access to its virtual POS system. Learn more here.
Resources for people at home
  • Expensify is offering reimbursement of up to $50 for essential goods and groceries purchased on your SNAP card. Learn more here.
  • PCsForPeople is offering laptops for people who are living at poverty levels. Learn more here.
  • UrbanSitter is offering a free parent subscription for two months during the COVID-19 outbreak. Parents can find trusted childcare help to support them as they work from home during this period. Every sitter is background checked and UrbanSitter provides parents with as much information as possible to make informed decisions. Learn more here.
  • Verizon, ATT, T-Mobile and Sprint have given their Rhode Island customers access to unlimited data for their smartphones and hotspots at no additional charge to their accounts until May 13. These apply for those with monthly subscriptions and prepaid customers. Contact your mobile provider for more information.
Resources for schools and students
  • Adobe is offering free home access to Creative Cloud apps for students and educators until May 31. Adobe also offers free 90-day access to Adobe Connect for web conferencing until July 1. Learn more here.
  • Age of Learning is offering free at-home access for families at affected schools to ABCmouse, a learning resource for ages 2 to 8. Learn more here.
  • Amazon is offering free online access to sponsored computer science courses in the United States. That’s intended for learners in grades 6 through 12, and teachers who are remotely teaching this age group. Parents can also access this curriculum. Learn more here
  • Atlassian is offering free access to Cloud products for issue-tracking and project-tracking software including Jira and Confluence. Also, free access to Trello Business Class for organizing plans is offered for one year to educators at K through 12 and higher education. Learn more here.
  • Avid is offering free, temporary licenses of creative tools to qualified media enterprise and educational customers. Starting March 16 through April 17, users who must work remotely because their facility has been closed may obtain 90-day licenses free of charge for Media Composer | Ultimate, Pro Tools, Pro Tools | Ultimate and Sibelius | Ultimate. In addition, any student of an institution who uses our products and can no longer attend school and/or access school facilities can receive a 90-day license of the same products. Learn more here.
  • Bloomz is offering a free premium version of its communication service to all schools through June 30. The software allows users to communicate updates in real-time to parents and students; and share lessons, student work and feedback. Learn more here.
  • ClassTag is offering a free communication platform available to help districts and schools communicate with their families. The software sends messages through SMS, email, apps and the web and automatically translates them into one of 55 languages. The platform can also be used to post videos, assignments and other resources for students to access at home and allow users to run virtual lessons with a video conferencing tool. Learn more here.
  • Crowdmark is offering free access to its online grading and analytics platform until May 31. Learn more here.
  • Epic is offering free remote access of its reading platform to elementary educators and librarians until June 30, with no credit card required. Students may access the company’s digital library, which has 35,000-plus books, read-to-me and audiobooks, videos and quizzes. Teachers and librarians can stay connected to their students by assigning books or collections and monitoring their progress. Learn more here
  • EZTexting is a free emergency text alert service for schools. Receive 100,000 free outgoing text messages for six months, access to a set of coronavirus message templates, and one-on-one consulting. Learn more here
  • Google is offering a free, premium version of its workplace video chat tool until July, to help businesses and schools working remotely due to coronavirus. Those features include having up to 250 participants per call, live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain, and the ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive. Learn more here.
  • Listenwise is offering free access to the Listenwise platform that supports distance learning by allowing you to roster your students, make online customized written assignments, and assign multiple-choice autos-cored listening quizzes. This will give you and your students the ability to learn through May 31, or until your school reopens. Learn more here.
  • Loom is offering free video recording and sharing service for teachers and students at K-through-12 schools, universities and educational institutions. They have also removed the recording limit on free plans and have cut the price for Loom Pro in half. Learn more here.
  • McGraw-Hill has free resources for out-of-school learning to help K-12 teachers make the transition to remote instruction. Learn more here.
  • OneLogin is offering free access to the Trusted Experience Platform for educators who are moving to a virtual learning environment in light of health concerns. The free platform, consisting of single sign-on (SSO), multi-factor authentication (MFA) and certificate-based authentication, will deliver secure virtual experiences for all educators K through 12, colleges and universities. Learn more here.
  • Panopto is offering, for three months, organizations new to Panopto to use Panopto Cloud at no cost to capture and stream unlimited amounts of video. Second, Panopto has launched a new workflow that helps administrators and instructors automatically record and intelligently share recurring Zoom Video Communications meetings with attendees or students. Learn more here.
  • Scholastic has curated a free digital learning hub designed to support virtual learning plans: Scholastic Learn At Home allows open access to daily learning journeys divided into four grade spans—Pre-K–K, Grades 1–2, Grades 3–5, and Grades 6–9+, covering ELA, STEM, Science, Social Studies, and Social-Emotional Learning. Learn more here
  • U-Haul is offering free self-storage for 30 days to all college students who have been impacted by schedule changes at their universities. Learn more here.
  • Zoom is offering free video conferencing tools for K-through-12 schools. Learn more here

Quick Links

SBA loan information:
SBA FAQ

Unemployment insurance and employer information:
Department of Labor and Training

Jobs available now:
EmployRI.org

Public health information:
Department of Health

Business regulations
Department of Business Regulation

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