Gina Raimondo Has A Plan To Help Small Businesses Succeed

PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island is in a jobs crisis and to turn around the economy, we need to do a much better job of supporting our small business employers. Small businesses represent 95 percent of all employers in our state and employ more than half of our private sector workforce. Before becoming treasurer, Gina ran a company in Providence helping to build small business that together created over 1,000 jobs. She understands challenges facing small business owners and she will be a governor with the experience to change the regulatory environment.

“For too many small businesses and start-ups government feels like an adversary when it should be working as a partner, said Gina. “Rhode Islanders have good ideas and the determination to grow those ideas into successful businesses and we should be doing everything we can to support them. This means helping businesses navigate the regulatory process and giving them the tools they need to do well. We’ve been talking about this for way too long. With the right tone at the top, we can do this and it would make a big difference.”

A recent study reported that half of Rhode Island’s small businesses spend more than $2,000 a year complying with regulations and a third of small businesses have to hire a consultant just to understand the regulations. Small business owners usually don’t have lobbyists advancing their interests in the state house and they often can’t pay accountants or consultants to take advantage of complicated loopholes designed for larger businesses. We need a government that is dedicated to helping our small businesses and one that stands in their corner.

In order to get people back to work and grow our economy, we have to do a much better job fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and supporting our small businesses. To do this, Gina is calling for five concrete steps:

  1. Regulatory reform and reducing the cost of doing business.Running a business in Rhode Island means dealing with layers of red tape, pages of documents and repetitive, often unnecessary regulatory burdens. We need to be more efficient, more transparent and do a better job of bringing small businesses to the table so the state knows what regulations are the most burdensome. We should be reviewing fees and incentivizing cities and towns to modernize their permitting and regulatory processes.
  2. Making it easier to start and run a business.We can’t be a state where people with great ideas are discouraged from starting a business because the process is too hard. We need to help Rhode Islanders turn good ideas into new businesses by increasing entrepreneurial training, education and mentorship through our public colleges. We should create a “concierge service” to give startups and small businesses a person to help them navigate government regulations and provide a “startup and small business toolkit” so that entrepreneurs know exactly what they need to get their businesses going and have access to resources that will help them hit the ground running.
  3. Using collaboration and innovation to foster a culture of entrepreneurship.We have great examples of collaborative incubators like Betaspring and Hope and Main and a wealth of innovation in our colleges and universities. We should strengthen their relationships and highlight and promote our incubators and accelerators. We should also use the Rhode Island Innovation Institute to commercialize and innovate new ideas and products.
  4. Improving access to capital.Our emerging businesses need access to capital and credit. I’m calling for an expanded EB 5 program to create new opportunity for foreign investments in local startups and improving access to seed capital. We also need to ensure that women and minority owned businesses have access to loans by working with local banks and financial assistance organizations.
  5. Giving our small businesses the tools they need to grow.We must create an environment in our state that welcomes and encourages the growth of small business. We can do this by strengthening the connections between our businesses and local colleges and universities and improving workforce development. We need to help small businesses better export their products to show the world what we have to offer. And we have to ensure access to high quality internet connectivity.

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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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