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Small Business Synergy

In January, the University of Rhode Island became home to the Rhode Island Small Business Development Center (RISBDC), one of 63 around the country that make up the largest government-funded small business assistance program in the U.S.

“Our new center will allow area entrepreneurs not only to start their businesses, but continue to grow and help bolster job creation, strengthening the Rhode Island economy,” said Carroll A. Thomas, associate administrator for Small Business Development Centers.

The center will operate out of the URI Division of Research and Economic Development on the Kingston campus and will include regional service centers at Bryant University, the URI College of Business on the Kingston campus, and the URI Research Foundation at the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation in Providence. Prior to January, the RISBDC was hosted by Johnson & Wales University for 7 years, and by Bryant University for 23 years.

The center will work with the University’s Business Engagement Center (BEC), established in September to provide existing Rhode Island businesses with access to URI resources to help them succeed. It will also engage a variety of external expert advisers who can provide legal, financial, accounting, intellectual property, international trade, export, and auditing guidance. Partner organizations will include the Center for Women and Enterprise and Opportunities Industrialization Center—which assists minority and women-owned business—as well as the Service Corps of Retired Executives and the South Eastern Economic Development (SEED) Corporation.

“We’re pleased to strengthen the University’s role in partnering with and providing resources to the business community to create jobs and build a strong economy,” said URI President David M. Dooley. The new location “will enable us to more fully use our faculty, staff and students as resources to drive economic development.”For more information, call the RISBDC at 401.874.SBDC (7232) or URI-BEC at 401.874.7084.

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