All Who Wander Are Not Lost Explorers Welcome to Rhode Island

By Michael Brito

Since I am a lifelong resident as well as a very loud and proud cheerleader of the Ocean State; I would be remiss if I failed to mention that tourism and hospitality is the key to for survival of our little state! So, as this publication’s minority business contributor, will begin with some fun facts: we now have a population of well over one million, out of which over one hundred thousand firms are in operation!

Of those one hundred thousand, over forty percent are owned by minorities; Black, Indian, Asian, Hispanic and women businesses! Yes, that’s forty percent-that’s notable!

So what does that mean for the visitors to our little paradise? They have many choices, choices unmatched almost anywhere else in the country! We, as minority entrepreneurs, bring from our root countries, through our vast cultures, an amazing variety of tastes, ideas, languages and foods – Oh, the foods! There are over 3,500 restaurants in our state. How many are ethnic? How about all of them, every one business represents a taste from another land with that special Rhode Island twist.

Almost half of the businesses are owned and operated by its original family. That’s pretty amazing since again, half of those are into their second generation! Our state’s immigrant heritage has been lauded over and over from Italian, Portuguese, African, European, Caribbean and other worldly origins and for goodreason– Rhode Island. The state has an amazing ability to welcome all cultures! We all live and work together and extend our love for small business to those from outside our state; a love that morphs into pride for our products and services. If you’re reading this magazine with any regularity than you know what a resource it is for your growth potential as well as how it helps bottom line of your business. Is this the reason you started your business in the first place? You desired a better way and personal expression of what you believe could be?

When my wife and I travel to other places we often deliberately seek out smaller hotels and restaurants and speaking with “locals”. This allows us to not just see a new place, but to really “feel” and experience it for all the beauty it has to offer!

The holiday that we should be most proud of as Rhode Islanders has to be the Fourth of July. Since we have the oldest, continuously celebrated parade in the United States, we should be happy to welcome people from across the country and experience the offerings of this amazing state right along with them– some of us for the first time! The Fourth of July is a celebration of our political and religious freedom and the rights we continue to fight for and should never take for granted. This summer, find a small, minority owned business and support them! And please, enjoy the beauty of the state we all call “Home”!

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Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

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