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SBA kicks off National Veterans Small Business Week Nov. 5-9 by hosting free small business seminars across RI

PROVIDENCE, RI – The U.S. Small Business Administration will celebrate the accomplishments of veteran, service member and military spouse small business owners nationwide during National Veterans Small Business Week, Nov. 5-9.

“National Veterans Small Business Week is another opportunity for us not only to highlight the success of our nation’s 2.5 million veteran-owned businesses, but also to recognize the areas where there is still work to be done,” SBA Administrator Linda McMahon said. “Entrepreneurship is not a solo mission. I’m proud to be a part of a network that serves the needs of our veteran and military business owners.”

SBA district offices and resource partners nationwide, as well as local organizations, will be hosting National Veterans Small Business Week events.  This year’s theme, Our #VetBiz Community, shines a spotlight on various aspects of the veteran business community, ranging from aspiring to current veteran and military business owners, as well as the organizations that provide entrepreneurial training.

“To celebrate National Veterans Small Business Week in Rhode Island, the SBA is teaming with SCORE, the RI Small Business Development Center, the Center for Women & Enterprise, the Veteran Business Outreach Center and local SBA lenders to provide free small business seminars,” said SBA District Director, Mark S. Hayward. “Topics will range from ‘business planning’ to ‘how to finance your small business’, to ‘government contracting’, to name a few. The SBA and its partners will continue to do whatever we can to serve those veterans business owners who have served us,” he added.

A full schedule of events being held in Rhode Island to celebrate National Veterans Small Business Week is as follows:

Monday, November 5

  • Understanding Your Financial Statements
    Rogers Free Library, 525 Hope Street, Bristol, RI, 10:00am to 12:00pm
  • Grow Your Book of Business: The three areas you MUST focus on to get more business
    Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, 6 Blackstone Valley Pl, Suite 402, Lincoln RI, 2:00pm to 4:00pm

 

Tuesday, November 6

  • How to Finance Your Small Business: Learn From the Experts
    West Warwick Library, 1043 Main St, West Warwick RI, 2:00pm to 4:00pm

Wednesday, November 7

  • Markets & Your Competitive Space
    Portsmouth Free Public Library, 2658 E Main Rd, Portsmouth RI, 9:30am to 11:00am
  • Power of Networking
    Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, 6 Blackstone Valley Pl, Suite 402, Lincoln RI, 2:00pm to 4:00pm
  • Analyzing Your Competition
    East Providence Public Library, 41 Grove Ave, East Providence RI, 2:00pm to 4:00pm

Thursday, November 8

  • Government Contracting 101
    RI PTAC, 315 Iron Horse Way, Providence RI, 8:00am to 10:00am
  • Doing Business with Primes
    Warwick Public Library, 600 Sandy Ln, Warwick RI, 2:30pm to 4:00pm

 

Friday, November 9

  • The Business Planning Process
    North Kingstown Free Library, 100 Boone St, North Kingstown RI, 9:30am to 11:30am

For more information or to register for any of the seminars listed above, contact Matthew Spoehr at Matthew.Spoehr@sba.gov or call 401-528-4574.

The SBA encourages veterans, service members, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses to join the online conversation and share what their veteran business communities look like by using the hashtag #VetBiz.

For more information about National Veterans Small Business Week, including events and ways to get involved, visit www.sba.gov/vetbiz. For more information on the resources available for veteran entrepreneurs, visit www.sba.gov/veterans.

 

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

 The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.

From the Director’s Desk – National Veterans Small Business Week

By: Mark S. Hayward

Hayward was appointed Rhode Island District Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration in March of 2000. Since that time he has served, on several occasions, as acting New England Regional Administrator as well as being appointed Senior Advisor to the 25th Administrator of the SBA, Linda McMahon.

November doesn’t only bring with it brisk winds and foliage, it brings the fifth annual National Veterans Small Business Week (NVSBW). Observed from November 5 – 9, NVSBW allows the SBA to honor those veteran small business owners who have displayed excellence in entrepreneurship. In Rhode Island, the SBA will be hosting a myriad of free small business workshops and events to further educate the veteran small business community. These workshops will include:

Monday, November 5
Understanding Your Financial Statements
Rogers Free Library, 525 Hope Street, Bristol, RI, 10:00am to 12:00pm

The numbers tell a story, and you need to be able to read it. Being able to understand what the numbers in your cash flow statement, and on your balance sheet are telling you is a critical component to understanding just how financially healthy your small business is. Participants will learn the tricks of the trade when it comes to deciphering what your financial statements are really telling you about your business.

Grow Your Book of Business: The three areas you MUST focus on to get more business
Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, 6 Blackstone Valley Pl, Suite 402, Lincoln RI, 2:00pm to 4:00pm

In today’s competitive business world, business people are competing both with local and non-local businesses for a share of the market. Additionally, there are too many events to go to, too many things to do and too many ways to spend on marketing and sales initiatives. Given these circumstances, what is a small business person to do with their limited time and resources? Join SCORE counselor and marketing consultant Bob Salvas as he discusses the three business development areas that EVERY business should pay attention to if growth and long-term success are their goals.

Tuesday, November 6
Steps to Starting a Small Business
Millrace Event Center, 40 South Main St, Woonsocket RI, 10:00am to 11:30am

If you are considering starting a business or in the early stages of launching one, this workshop will outline everything you need to know.

In this workshop, you will:

  • Develop your business idea and planning
  • Review the importance of a business plan
  • Gain an understanding of the process and requirements for starting a business, including;
  • Legal structures
  • How to choose and register a business name and entity
  • How to obtain an employer identification number, licenses, permits and insurance
  • Determining your financing needs
  • Understanding employer responsibilities
  • Learn about available resources and training

You will leave the session with an A-to-Z overview, and specific tools and tips that will help you get started quickly.

How to Finance Your Small Business: Learn From the Experts
West Warwick Library, 1043 Main St, West Warwick RI, 2:00pm to 4:00pm

Are you looking for ways to raise capital to start or grow your small business? Not entirely sure what options are there? Join us and our expert panel and hear all about the numerous programs available to help you get the access to the capital you need to succeed!

The panel will include: local SBA lenders, micro lenders, Certified Development Companies (CDC) and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation (Commerce RI).

Come learn how these local entities and others can help you and get all of your questions answered!

Wednesday, November 7
Markets & Your Competitive Space
Portsmouth Free Public Library, 2658 E Main Rd, Portsmouth RI, 9:30am to 11:00am

Understanding where your customers are and how your small business fits into the market are extremely vital components of running a successful company. The “if you build it, they will come” mentality does not necessarily apply to small business, so learning how to do quality market research, industry and market analysis and forming a solid competitive strategy is a must!

Join our experts as they help show you how to do effective market research and ensure your business is able to maximize your reach to your customers.

Power of Networking

Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, 6 Blackstone Valley Pl, Suite 402, Lincoln RI, 2:00pm to 4:00pm

You understand that networking can grow your business and you have gotten over your shyness. Now what? Networking is not just about showing up at events (though that is part of it). What you do when you are there and after you leave is where the rubber hits the road. If you need to take your networking to the next level, come to this seminar presented by long-time networker and SCORE counselor Bob Salvas. Bob will give you tools and ideas that will make your networking more successful and more profitable.

Analyzing Your Competition
East Providence Public Library, 41 Grove Ave, East Providence RI, 2:00pm to 4:00pm

No matter what type of business you own or want to start, there is always going to be competitors out there. Understanding who they are, what they do right and wrong, and how you can differentiate yourself in a positive manner will only help you build a much stronger business.

Join our experts and let them show you how you can find out who your competition is, what they are doing, and how to use the information you find about them to your advantage.

 

 

Thursday, November 8

Government Contracting 101
RI PTAC, 315 Iron Horse Way, Providence RI, 8:00am to 10:00am

Did you know that the United States Government is the largest buyer of goods and services in the world every year? Each year, the government spends over $500 million on everything from paperclips to daycare services to Virginia class submarines. So why is this important to you? Because 23% of that $500 million is required to go to small businesses just like yours!

Join us as the SBA and Rhode Island Procurement Technical Assistance Center (RIPTAC) show how you can get started on the road to making the government your next customer!

 

Doing Business with Primes
Warwick Public Library, 600 Sandy Ln, Warwick RI, 2:30pm to 4:00pm

Have you ever wanted to become a sub-contractor/vendor for some of the biggest prime contractors in the country? Did you know that many of them are either headquartered or have large facilities right here in Rhode Island as well as nearby Connecticut and Massachusetts?

Join us for this interactive Q&A session with panelists from General Dynamics Electric Boat, Sikorsky and Colt’s Manufacturing Company as they explain what you need to do to work with them on some of the biggest contracts in the world! Bring your questions as our expert panelists are here to answer them and help you do business with them!

 

Friday, November 9

The Business Planning Process
North Kingstown Free Library, 100 Boone St, North Kingstown RI, 9:30am to 11:30am

 

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any path will lead you there.” In this workshop we’ll discuss the importance of the business planning process both as a way of promoting your business to others as well as creating a roadmap for your success. Specific topics will include the business plan, the business model canvas, and the pitch deck.

 

To register for any of the above workshops please contact Katie Gosselin at (401) 528-4585, or Katie.Gosselin@sba.gov.


For more information visit
www.SBA.gov/RI.

From the Director’s Desk – SBA

By Mark S. Hayward

Hayward was appointed Rhode Island District Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration in March of 2000. Since that time he has served, on several occasions, as acting New England Regional Administrator as well as being appointed Senior Advisor to the 25th Administrator of the SBA, Linda McMahon.

As small business shifts to an ever more digital environment, it is important to understand how to protect yourself and your business. In our shops, stores and offices we have locks and security systems, but too often as we shift our services to an online platform we forget to ensure the same safeguards are met. This October will commemorate the 15th observance of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a month where federal agencies and private businesses work together to ensure that American businesses have the resources they need to protect themselves in a digital world.

Below are ten cybersecurity tips to help keep your small business safe online.

1. Protect against viruses, spyware, and other malicious code Make sure each of your business’s computers are equipped with antivirus software and antispyware and update regularly. Such software is readily available online from a variety of vendors. All software vendors regularly provide patches and updates to their products to correct security problems and improve functionality. Configure all software to install updates automatically.

2. Secure your networks Safeguard your Internet connection by using a firewall and encrypting information. If you have a Wi-Fi network, make sure it is secure and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router so it does not broadcast the network name, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). Password protect access to the router.

3. Establish security practices and policies to protect sensitive information Establish policies on how employees should handle and protect personally identifiable information and other sensitive data. Clearly outline the consequences of violating your business’s cybersecurity policies.

4. Educate employees about cyberthreats and hold them accountable Educate your employees about online threats and how to protect your business’s data, including safe use of social networking sites. Depending on the nature of your business, employees might be introducing competitors to sensitive details about your firm’s internal business. Employees should be informed about how to post online in a way that does not reveal any trade secrets to the public or competing businesses. Hold employees accountable to the business’s Internet security policies and procedures.

5. Require employees to use strong passwords and to change them often Consider implementing multifactor authentication that requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry. Check with your vendors that handle sensitive data, especially financial institutions, to see if they offer multifactor authentication for your account.

6. Employ best practices on payment cards Work with your banks or card processors to ensure the most trusted and validated tools and anti-fraud services are being used. You may also have additional security obligations related to agreements with your bank or processor. Isolate payment systems from other, less secure programs and do not use the same computer to process payments and surf the Internet. Are you ready for the shift from magnetic-strip payment cards to safer, more secure chip card technology, also known as “EMV”? October 1st is the deadline set by major U.S. credit card issuers to be in compliance. Visit SBA.gov/EMV for more information and resources.

7. Make backup copies of important business data and information Regularly backup the data on all computers. Critical data includes word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. Backup data automatically if possible, or at least weekly, and store the copies either offsite or on the cloud.

8. Control physical access to computers and network components Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft or can be lost, so lock them up when unattended. Make sure a separate user account is created for each employee and require strong passwords. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff and key personnel.

9. Create a mobile device action plan Mobile devices can create significant security and management challenges, especially if they hold confidential information or can access the corporate network.. Require users to password protect their devices, encrypt their data, and install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while the phone is on public networks. Be sure to set reporting procedures for lost or stolen equipment.

10. Protect all pages on your public-facing websites, not just the checkout and sign-up pages

Source: SBA.gov – Top Ten Security Tips, Federal Communications Commission – Cybersecurity Tips for Small Business, Department of Homeland Security – Small Business Tip Card.

For more information visit www.SBA.gov/RI.

 

 

SBA & the Center for Women & Enterprise to Hold Congressional Luncheon Honoring Small Business Award Winners

 

PROVIDENCE, Ri.  – Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration will hold its annual congressional luncheon to honor the 2018 Rhode Island Small Business Award winners. Hosted by The Center for Women & Enterprise, the luncheon will be held at Sam’s Inn of Warwick and will highlight these 14 exceptional small businesses and champions.

 

All four members of the Rhode Island congressional delegation will attend including U.S. Senator Jack Reed, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Representative Jim Langevin and U.S. Representative David Cicilline. This event offers a unique and relaxed setting for elected congressional officials to engage and honor the SBA award winners.

 

This year’s class of winners included three regional awardees, a national awardee, and this year’s Rhode Island Small Business Person of the Year, Kelly Mendell, president of MIKEL. MIKEL is an undersea warfare technology leader and innovative provider of technology and services working predominately with the U.S. Navy. In 2017, MIKEL saw revenue grow by 23% and added 47 new jobs to the Rhode Island economy.

 

“I love to see Rhode Island businesses get national recognition for their success and achievements.  I congratulate Ms. Mendell and her talented, growing team at MIKEL for delivering innovative technology and practical solutions to the U.S. Navy, and for making a positive impact in our community,” said Senator Reed.  “All of the Small Business Week honorees have worked hard and taken risks to build their businesses.  We are grateful for the work they do, happy they have chosen to invest in Rhode Island, and committed to ensuring they have the infrastructure and SBA resources and support to continue growing and thriving.”

 

East Providence’s Evans Capacitor Company was named the 2018 National Subcontractor of the Year. Co-founded by Charles Dewey and David Evans in 1996, Evans Capacitor revolutionized the capacitor field, developing and manufacturing high-energy/high-power density capacitors at minimal size and weight. David Evans holds over 20 patents in capacity chemistry, design, and packaging while the company is considered a top supplier to companies like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

 

“I congratulate all of this year’s hardworking Small Business Association award winners,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.  “Innovative small businesses are an enormous part of Rhode Island’s economy, and my office is always available to provide support to help small businesses grow and create jobs.”

Congressman Langevin nominated three of this year’s award winners including Jade Manufacturing (Small Business Manufacturer of the Year), The Worm Ladies of Charlestown (Microenterprise of the Year), and Stony Hill Cattle Company (Home-Based Small Business of the Year).

“Each one of this year’s SBA award winners is deserving of this prestigious recognition, but I would especially like to acknowledge three businesses I had the honor of nominating: Jade Manufacturing, The Worm Ladies of Charlestown, and the Stoney Hill Cattle Farm,” said Langevin.  “I have had the pleasure of interacting with these small businesses over the course of the last year.  While they are in different markets, the owners of these enterprises are all hardworking Rhode Islanders who have built successful companies that are respected throughout our state and beyond.”

Rounding out the 2018 awardees include are our regional winners; Absorbent Specialty Products (Woman-Owned Small Business), Veterans Assembled electronics (Veteran-Owned Small Business), and Buck Harris of Community Investment Corporation (Financial Services Champion). State level winners include; AVTECH Software (Small Business Exporter), Tienda Alinary (Minority-Owned Small Business), Doctor’s Choice (Young Entrepreneur), Gil’s Appliances (Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Small Business), Posthumously – Cheryl Watkins Snead of Banneker Industries (District Director Award), and Carmen & Ginger (Joseph G.E. Knight Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence).

 

“Small business owners are the backbone of our state’s economy, and I want to thank the Small Business Administration for recognizing these outstanding entrepreneurs,” said Cicilline. “All Rhode Islanders owe a debt of gratitude to any individual willing to pour their heart and soul into building a business here, and I am committed to working to ensure that we are making it easier for these enterprises to succeed.”

For additional information on National Small Business Week, please visit www.sba.gov/nsbw

 

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About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.