Updated March 30 at 6:25am
small business

Small businesses are R.I.’s largest employer


WASHINGTON – Rhode Island small businesses represented 95.9 percent of all employers in the state in 2009, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The SBA’s Office of Advocacy released small business profiles for the 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories on Thursday.

“Small businesses are the foundation of economic growth in Rhode Island and in our nation,” said Winslow Sargeant, chief counsel for advocacy. “By supporting policies that promote innovation and entrepreneurship, we help small businesses tackle these challenging economic times. These statistics are a resource for a path to economic growth.”

Small businesses in the Ocean State employed 55.2 percent of the private-sector work force in 2009. Most of local small businesses are “very small,” the SBA said, noting that nearly 74 percent did not have employees and most had fewer than 20 employees. The organization defines a small business as one that employs fewer than 500 people.

There were 93,333 small businesses in Rhode Island in 2009.

Female self-employment dropped 30 percent in 2010 from 2009 – the only other category with a greater percentage drop was veteran self-employment at 50.5 percent. Minority self-employment has skyrocketed – increasing 21.9 percent from 2009, and 94 percent from 2000.

For the full Rhode Island profile, click here.


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