PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Foundation announced an initiative Tuesday to help small businesses, with a particular focus on the state’s food cluster and manufacturing companies and on entrepreneurs of color, whose growth in the state cuts across industry sectors.
The community foundation convened about 75 business and government leaders to unveil a comprehensive research study it commissioned last year.
In a state where more than 90 percent of its nearly 97,000 businesses employ fewer than 20 people, said Neil D. Steinberg, Rhode Island Foundation president and CEO, they’re the backbone of the state’s economy. One of the foundation’s strategic priorities, he said, is helping create economic security for Rhode Islanders.
“We envision a strong economy in Rhode Island that allows everyone, all Rhode Islanders, to prosper,” Steinberg said. “We want to be very inclusive, we want to make sure that everyone who wants to have a job — have a career, earn a living, a livable wage, all of that … [is] really … able to do that here in Rhode Island.”
Adina Astor, a partner with Next Street Financial LLC, which conducted the study, told the group that creation of new businesses in the state is now exceeding business closures, after business creation was slowed by the Great Recession. Plus,
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