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Congratulations From Seth A. Goodall

Seth Goodall-9930RHRI would like to give my enthusiastic congratulations to all the 2016 Small Business Award Winners for Rhode Island.

Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation declaring National Small Business Week to recognize the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs who create nearly two out of every three net new jobs each year.

Our country was founded by risk-taking pioneers in search of new horizons. More than two centuries later, what sets America apart in the world is the willingness of our entrepreneurs to take risks. Small businesses allow Americans to be their own boss and improve their lot in life through hard work.

The SBA is dedicated to helping these risk takers achieve goals and improve the American economy. As SBA’s New England Regional Administrator, I am pleased to be part of the small business story in Rhode Island. Whether you are seeking financing or government contracting opportunities, education and technical assistance, looking to expand your business by exporting to foreign markets, or trying to make sense of federal or state regulations, the SBA and the team at the Rhode Island District Office are available to help you.

Congratulations again to all the award winners!


Seth A. Goodall

New England Regional Administrator

U.S. Small Business Administration

Message from Mark S. Hayward

Hayward picDistrict Director U.S. Small Business Administration

The Rhode Island Salute to Small Business celebration, held this year from May 2nd through May 8th, provides the opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of our small business entrepreneurs and appropriately recognize those small businesses and champions who have distinguished themselves as what I believe are the “best of the best.”

I especially want to thank the Joseph G.E. Knight SCORE Chapter for making this important celebration possible by co-sponsoring the Rhode Island Salute to Small Business. The SCORE team of small business mentors counsel hundreds of small business owners and would-be entrepreneurs each year. Their vast experience and professionalism have resulted in the creation of countless small businesses. SCORE certainly recognizes the importance of our annual salute to the state’s small business community.

These small business owners and champions will be honored at the Rhode Island Salute to Small Business Awards luncheon on Thursday, May 5th, at the Alpine Country Club in Cranston. This gathering of small business owners, entrepreneurs and their advocates represents the shared success and accomplishments achieved by these outstanding winners.

This year we will have ten honorees whose accomplishments and dedication to small business are exceptional.

“SCORE certainly recognizes the importance of our annual salute to the state’s small business community.”

I extend my congratulations to Thomas Parsons Kellogg III, President of Parsons Kellogg LLC, the 2016 Rhode Island Small Business Person of the Year. Rhode Island is also pleased to honor our regional award winner, Linda and Bill Bohmbach, Owners of Home Healthsmith, LLC in Portsmouth as both Rhode Island and New England Microenterprise of the Year. Our other winners include: Patricia Steere, President and CEO of Steere Engineering, Inc. in Warwick as the Rhode Island Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year; Henry Osorio and Maria Ochoa, the Owners of Great Shipping and Postal of Central Falls as the Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year; Eliana Parada, Owner of Las Delicias Bakery in Providence as the Young Entrepreneur of the Year; Jane McHenry, Owner of A Day at the Beach in Tiverton as Home-Based Small Business of the Year; our Financial Services Champion for 2016, Holly Ferrara, Vice President of Commercial Lending at Greenwood Credit Union in Warwick; David Levesque, Owner of Brewed Awakenings as the winner of the Joseph G.E. Knight Award and Melissa Travis, Business Sales Lead at HealthSource RI for Employers as the winner the Rhode Island District Director Award.

The stories about these outstanding honorees are truly inspiring. Please take the time to read them in this special Small Business Week issue.

I also want to acknowledge those businesses and organizations that have supported this year’s event. Without their help and dedication, this annual tribute to the small business community would not be possible.

A Message From Gina M. Raimondo Investing in Small Business

Raimondo HeaderGovernor Gina M. Raimondo

Local businesses are the backbone of Rhode Island’s economy.According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Rhode Island is home to over 22,000 small businesses, which represent over 80 percent of Rhode Island’s employers.

I often say that everyone has a part to play in Rhode Island’s comeback- and for no one is that more true than for small business owners and employees. Our state can’t succeed unless we’re supporting our local businesses and enabling them to thrive.

That’s why I was so excited last month to announce our new partnership with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs and the Goldman Sachs Foundation are committing $10 million in capital and philanthropic support to help create jobs and generate economic growth in local small businesses. This marks the first statewide launch for the program.

“I often say that everyone has a part to play in Rhode Island’s comeback- and for no one is that more true than for small business owners and employees.”

Businesses participating in this initiative will have access to a free practical business education through which they will develop a business growth plan to help them increase revenues and hire new employees. Business advising and networking will be offered to participating small business owners through partnerships with community-based and national business organizations, as well as the people of Goldman Sachs. And, Goldman Sachs is committing lending capital to support the small businesses community in Rhode Island.

Program partners will work with local organizations to encourage small businesses to apply for the education and/or capital programs and to provide business advising and design expertise to participants. Eligible small businesses should have annual revenues above $100,000, been in operation for at least two years, employ at least two full-time workers and have a desire to grow and create jobs.

This is a proven model for unlocking the growth and job-creation potential of small businesses. To date, 10,000 Small Businesses has reached over 6,000 small businesses across the U.S. and U.K. In the first 6 months after graduating, 67 percent of participants report increased revenues and 46 percent report creating net new jobs.

Applications for the education component of the program are now being accepted and can be downloaded at Classes are free to business owners accepted through a competitive application process. For information about the loan application process, please contact BDC Capital directly. Application for loans is independent and separate from application and acceptance into the education program.

I hope you’ll take advantage of this valuable opportunity.

Growth And Success In The Ocean State

SOS headshot NellieSecretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea

Spring is often associated with a period of growth. Seeds are planted early in the season in anticipation of a bountiful harvest. For entrepreneurs, the beginning stages of creating a business are crucial and can determine their growth and success.

The Rhode Island Department of State is working to help Rhode Island businesses start and thrive by providing information that is relevant to their needs. More than 70,000 limited liability companies and for-profit and non-profit corporations are currently registered with the Department of State.

From January 1, 2016, to March 31, 2016, 2,204 new business entities registered with the Department of State. This is an increase of 27.7 percent over the fourth quarter of 2015, when 1,725 registered; and a 6.1 percent increase from Q1 2015 when 2,077 new businesses registered.

As we continue along this path of growth and opportunity, it is important for all Rhode Islanders, including our business community, to feel confident about investing in our state.

I often see and hear firsthand the concerns of business leaders as they consider growth opportunities in our state. One issue that is often raised is the operations of government and the ability to work with public officials in an open manner.

“Confidence in our government comes from the knowledge that our state is run efficiently and ethically”

Confidence in our government comes from the knowledge that our state is run efficiently and ethically, and that the rules of engagement are clear. That is why I have introduced legislation that will clarify, streamline and strengthen our state’s lobbying statutes.

Currently, there are separate statutes that address lobbying in the executive branch and the legislative branch. From competing definitions of what constitutes the act of lobbying to convoluted reporting requirements, the existing statutes are cumbersome and confusing. When I first took office, I heard repeatedly from constituents, lawmakers and lobbyists that our existing lobbying statutes are difficult to interpret and to comply with.

My Lobby Reform legislation provides much clearer definitions and bright line distinctions, so those involved can more easily determine who does and does not have to register. It also provides for a clear process to investigate possible violations of the lobbying law, including referral to Superior Court in certain instances.

In sum, the bill that I’m proposing does not attempt to over-regulate lobbyist engagement with executive and legislative branch officials. The new statute offers a pragmatic approach that builds off of the spirit and intent of the original statutes, but with needed new checks and balances. By improving these laws, we are not only taking an important step forward in terms of transparency and governance, we are sending a clear message to Rhode Island’s citizens and business community that government can operate in a clear and accountable way.

Whether you are a new entrepreneur or an established small business, the Department of State’s Business Services Division is here to help. You can reach us by calling (401) 222-3040, emailing us at or visiting our office at 148 West River Street. Please feel free to contact me directly with any thoughts or suggestions at or visit our newly redesigned website We look forward to working with you to grow your business in Rhode Island.

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