RI Foundation launches new resource for startups and small businesses

RIBizBuilder.com will support the Foundation’s goal of strengthening the economy


PROVIDENCE, RI – Startups and small businesses looking to expand have a new resource. The Rhode Island Foundation today launched RIBizBuilder.com, an online directory to information about low- and no-cost help with borrowing, marketing to potential customers, local regulations and taxes, finding employees and more.

The website gives entrepreneurs access to information about dozens of Rhode Island-focused organizations offering services that help start and grow businesses in the Ocean State.

“Whether you are an established business, or a startup, or if you just have an idea, the point of RI BizBuilder is to quickly connect you with the people and entities that can help you with whatever you need, so you can move on, quickly,” said Jessica David, the Foundation’s executive vice president for strategy and community investments.

The directory was created by the Foundation in partnership with the Center for Women & Enterprise, Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, Rhode Island Small Business Development Center and many other partners with funding from the Foundation. The initiative supports the Foundation’s Economic Security strategic initiative.

“RI BizBuilder is easy to use; just answer four questions about the stage of your business, the type of assistance you’re looking for, your industry and whether you have any special circumstances. The site will find the most relevant information for you. You choose who you want to connect with, and RI BizBuilder will contact the provider on your behalf,” said David.

“Starting and running a business is no easy task. Small business owners are among the most resilient, hard-working, determined and creative people I know. But even they can’t do it alone all the time. And finding time to find the assistance and information that can help – about capital, marketing, regulations, talent, and more – has not been as easy as it should be,” said David.

The site contains more than 100 listings of resources and services that are available for startups and small businesses in Rhode Island. Visitors can narrow their search using a variety of filters including the type of assistance they are looking for, their industry and special factors such gender or military veteran status.

“RI BizBuilder is designed to help entrepreneurs navigate the landscape of business supports in the state. This is a resource to find low-and no-cost support services in Rhode Island. We are excited for you to try it out, and to send us feedback,” said Carmen Diaz-Jusino, the Foundation’s strategic program officer for economic security.

RIBizBuilder.com was launched at a gathering of business leaders in Central Falls, Central Falls Mayor James Diossa led the RI BizBuilder partners and representatives of other business services organizations on a tour of small businesses in the Dexter Street commercial district.

“Central Falls has businesses that are both expanding and starting up,” said Mayor Diossa. “It is essential now more than ever that they have one central location where they can obtain all of the information and support that businesses in the past had not been privy to. The launching of this site has just made Rhode Island more business friendly.”

Alba Lucia Rios, owner of Tienda Alinary in Central Falls, was impressed after she saw a demonstration of the website.

“This is a great resource because in Rhode Island there are a lot of resources for small businesses. Many of the organizations included in the directory helped me when I needed it the most,” she said.

The Foundation plans a series of main street strolls and informational sessions across Rhode Island to introduce business owners and entrepreneurs to ribizbuilder.com face-to-face. Events are being planned for Cranston, Pawtucket, Providence, Warren and Woonsocket.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Working with generous and visionary donors, the Foundation raised $38 million and awarded $43 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities in 2017.Through leadership, fundraising and grant making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. For more information, visit rifoundation.org.




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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.