Thousands take leap into ownership

By Rhonda Miller
PBN Staff Writer

Sometimes in business, as in life, when one door closes another opens. More

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SMALL BUSINESS

Thousands take leap into ownership

PBN PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY
FROZEN ASSETS: Joyce Bouchard next to her Kona Ice truck. She and her husband launched a business selling shaved ice last summer.

By Rhonda Miller
PBN Staff Writer

Posted 2/18/13

Sometimes in business, as in life, when one door closes another opens.

That’s what happened for Providence’s John Shea, after 25 years as executive director of the New England Governors’ Conference, a Boston-based nonprofit formed in 1937 to promote economic development and policy coordination among the six New England states. The organization folded in 2012, Shea said.

“If you do something for too long, it may take away opportunities to be successful at other things,” he said. “I have a lot of other interests and it kind of forced me to take that opportunity,” said Shea. Last year he formed two Rhode Island companies – Sino-American Business Connections LLC and Seal East Asian Languages LLC – along with business partner, Wenjing Li.

They were among 7,121 new businesses launched in Rhode Island in 2012, ranging from custom construction companies, to enterprises to support the development of Chinese and U.S. business partnerships and purveyors of tropical shaved ice.

The count of new businesses marks the second year in a row the Ocean State had an increase in new corporate entities, although it was a modest 4 percent gain over the 2011 total.

“While a lot of these may be one- and two-person companies … it is growth, and people seem to see positive reasons for starting a business in Rhode Island,” said Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis.

“Watching these starts over these last few years, I do have some cautious optimism,” Mollis said.

“Not only did 2012 see the most business registrations since 2008, we’ve seen back-to-back growth in 2011 and 2012.”

Still, there were business endings, and they saw a slight increase.

In 2012, there were 6,725 corporate entities that disappeared, according to the secretary of state’s office. That’s about a 1.5 percent increase over 2011, when 6,627 companies shut their doors.

“While we’ve seen more companies dissolved this year than last year, we’ve seen the percentage of dissolutions significantly less than when the recession began in 2008,” Mollis said.

In 2008, a record 7,071 companies went out of business in Rhode Island, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Sino-American Business Connections is a facilitator for developing business partnerships and assisting Chinese companies that want to locate on the East Coast, Shea said.

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"That’s what happened for Providence’s John Shea, after 25 years as executive director of the New England Governor’s Conference" -- should be Governors'

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