Ten years ago Rhode Island School of Design graduate Ed Forer was making vinyl banners in his parents’ basement and selling them on eBay. Today the owner and CEO of Blue Sky Group, pictured above, right, with company lead design engineer Eli Simon, heads a Warwick firm with a staff of 21. The company offers a range of business-to-business services in design and engineering, large-format printing, computer numerical control machining, fabrication, laser cutting and even Web development.
Business owners, startup entrepreneurs and self-employed professionals are more active in social media than ever before. But some are making a big mistake by leaving LinkedIn off their high-priority list.
Social Enterprise Greenhouse – a social venture itself – may be explained best as the fuel for other startup efforts that promote positive change in Rhode Island and beyond. And while there are other organizations helping social entrepreneurs, SEG is the only one of its kind in Rhode Island.
Resolute Racing Shells of Bristol sold its first boat to Japan in December, and is following up with two more, through a referral the Rhode Island Marine Trade Association helped the firm make to federal and state commerce agencies.
A slowdown in military orders due to budget cuts last year nearly ruined Newport-based Wild Things LLC, a provider of outerwear and tactical clothing. “The military didn’t order anything for months,” CEO Edward Schmults recalled. But some belt-tightening and the closing of a New Hampshire office helped the company survive. The firm is now expanding its military product line for year-round use and is making strides in the consumer market. Above, Schmults, left, and Chief Operating Officer Frank Tarrantino research fabrics for new fire-retardant combat pants.
Lending to small businesses through U.S. Small Business Administration programs is on the upswing in Rhode Island, thanks in large measure to the efforts of community banks, although a traditional SBA powerhouse is back on course in the Ocean State.
Despite relatively strong growth in the number of women-owned businesses in the state, Rhode Island ranks near the bottom of the nation in the overall strength of that segment of the state’s economy.
By Brendan L. McKenna
Join PBN and two panels of successful female executives, business owners and entrepreneurs as we delve into what women should do to advance their careers, and become leaders in the corporate world and their own enterprises.
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.