PROVIDENCE - The office of Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis and the R.I. Economic Development Corporation are teaming up for the sixth annual “We Mean Business Expo,” an event designed to help business owners talk face-to-face with federal, state and local government agencies and learn how to cut through the red tape.
Described as a “speed-dating” event, the expo, which will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 18, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick, will allow entrepreneurs to gather advice and ask questions to the federal, state and local government officials who regulate them.
“Government is opening its doors to you for one day in one place,” Mollis said in prepared remarks. “It’s like speed dating for small businesses. Instead of leaving the usual voice mail or email or visiting an agency’s website, the Expo enables you to sit down with a real person and talk through the issues that are important to your business."
The R.I. Department of Taxation, the R.I. Department of Labor and Training, the state’s Department of Purchases, the Narragansett Bay Commission and representatives of various municipalities including Cranston, East Providence and Warwick will be in attendance.
“One of my key priorities is helping Rhode Island businesses cut through the red tape. The Expo is another example of how we are working to make state government a resource for businesses rather than a hindrance,” Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee said in a statement.
In addition to offering entrepreneurs the opportunity to meet with government officials about registering a business, financing, taxes, licensing and permitting, the Expo will offer workshops from National Grid and the R.I. Small Business Journal.
Expo presenting sponsor National Grid will host the workshop: ‘Energy Efficiency: Business Programs & Strategies” and Gil Lantini of the R.I. Small Business Journal will present “State Fire Code from A to Z” and “From Employee to Entrepreneur.”
At the “Smart Start: Laying the Foundation for a Successful Business” workshop, representatives from the Secretary of State’s business services division, the R.I. Department of Taxation and Internal Revenue Service along with volunteer attorneys and public accountants provide free advice about formation filings, patents, trademarks, tax documentation and Federal Identification Numbers.
This year’s We Mean Business Expo is offered in association with the Rhode Island Small Business Development Center and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Exhibitors also include nonprofit organizations that offer services to local businesses, including the Center for Women and Enterprise and the Cranston Chamber of Commerce.