Updated March 25 at 12:26pm

Feds infuse state with $13M for small biz, entrepreneurs


PAWTUCKET – Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee, along with members of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation and business leaders, announced a $13.1 million federal award to Rhode Island to expand access to capital programs, hoping to stimulate small business and startup financing in Rhode Island.

Chafee joined U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Rep. David N. Cicilline, Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebian and R.I. Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Keith W. Stokes to announce the award to help finance small businesses through the U.S. Treasury Department’s State Small Business Credit Initiative.

“The success of small businesses – particularly in urban areas – is key to Rhode Island’s economic revitalization,” Chafee said. “I am proud of the collaboration between the state and our federal partners that has led to this significant investment in Rhode Island’s small businesses and entrepreneurs.”

The program was established by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and will provide new capital to Rhode Island small businesses and entrepreneurs with the aim of maintaining and creating quality jobs in the state.

The funds will be invested in early-stage, technology- and innovation-driven companies that will create high-skilled, high-wage jobs and expand Rhode Island’s knowledge economy, as well as in small businesses in core urban communities to help revitalize traditionally underserved areas of the state. The investments are expected to spur additional private capital investment and complement other state capital and economic development programs.

The $13.1 million will be directed in Rhode Island through the following programs:

  • $9 million to the Slater Technology Fund for seed-stage investments. Slater provides seed funding for local technology-based ventures in the IT and life sciences industries.

  • $2 million to Betaspring for new small business formation. Betaspring is a mentorship-driven, Providence-based startup accelerator program for technology and design entrepreneurs.

  • Just over $2 million to the EDC’s Small Business Loan Fund for additional capital, including funds for urban small business investment to help revitalize the state’s core urban communities and traditional commercial centers.

“Through SSBCI investments in RIEDC’s Small Business Loan Fund, we will also be able to provide more direct financial resources to businesses in our state’s core urban communities. This new capital infusion will help renew those areas into vibrant and attractive mixed-use environments in which to work, live, visit and own a business, “ said Stokes.

The SSBCI has made $1.5 billion available to states to strengthen existing and new programs that support lending to small businesses and small manufacturers. Participating states are expected to use SSBCI funds for programs that leverage private lending to help finance small businesses and manufacturers that are creditworthy, but are not able to access the loans they need to expand and create jobs. The SSBCI is expected to help stimulate up to $15 billion in follow-on private lending to small businesses nationwide.


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