By Michael Souza
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE – The city of Providence and the U.S. Small Business Administration have signed a two year memorandum of understanding with the purpose of growing jobs and businesses.
The announcement was made Tuesday, at an event celebrating the occasion.
According to Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, the agreement will offer free, bi-monthly workshops and follow-up support to area businesses.
Assisting the SBA will be the Johnson & Wales University Rhode Island Small Business Development Center and the Center for Women & Enterprise.
“We will offer workshops, including the technical assistance needed to navigate starting and operating a business,” said Taveras. “That is critical for the state.”
The workshops will focus on small businesses as well as women- and minority-owned businesses, and cover a variety of topics, including: accessing low-interest loans, federally guaranteed bank loans and technical assistance such as using the Internet.
“We always focus on bringing in new business. We are not focusing enough on growing what we have. We need to focus more on growing local businesses and this company is a perfect example,” said Taveras.
“This is a landmark agreement,” said Mark S. Hayward, director of the SBA Rhode Island District Office. “We need to provide the needed access to capital, counseling and contracts that small businesses need to grow to get out of where we are today.”
“Ninety-eight percent of all business in this state is small,” added Hayward. “If we grow jobs, we’re going to do it through these family-owned businesses that we see here today.”
The free workshops, which will begin this month and run every other month through December 2013, will be hosted in neighborhoods throughout Providence and all businesses are invited to attend.
The first workshop will be held on Monday, May 21, from 4 – 6 p.m., at Casey Family Services, 1268 Eddy St.
The schedule for the subsequent workshops will be publicly posted on the following websites: www.providenceri.com, www.sba.gov/ri, www.risbdc.org andwww.cweonline.org.