PROVIDENCE, RI – The two state agencies charged with making it easier to do business in Rhode Island are offering companies a unique opportunity to talk face-to-face with federal, state and local government officials.

The R.I. Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) and Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis are sponsoring the “We Mean Business Expo” Wed., Sept. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick.

“Government is opening its doors to you. In just one day, in one place, you can meet with the agencies that regulate your business, provide advice and offer financing,” said Mollis.

Among the dozens of agencies that will be on hand are the cities of Cranston, Providence and Warwick; the state Departments of Business Regulation, Environmental Management, Health and Taxation; and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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“Giving businesses and entrepreneurs access to the tools and resources that will help them grow and succeed in Rhode Island is a top economic development priority. Through this unique collaborative effort, businesses will have an opportunity to learn about and interact one-on-one with the agencies and organizations that can make a real difference in their future,” said Keith Stokes, RIEDC executive director.

In addition to the opportunity to meet with government officials about registering a business, financing, taxes, licensing and permitting, the Expo will offer free workshops on everything from starting a business to internet marketing to the new State Fire Code.

“Go to one of the seminars and get free business advice from a team of consultants put together especially with small businesses in mind,” said Mollis.

Expo exhibitors also include nonprofit organizations that offer services to Rhode Island businesses including the Center for Women and Enterprise, the Northern RI Chamber of Commerce and the R.I. Small Business Development Center.

“Rhode Island is focused on making it easier to do business in the state by streamlining our licensing and permitting processes, delivering timely and accurate information to businesses and helping them to tap into key resources that will accelerate their growth. The Expo provides an ideal way businesses can become better informed and build stronger partnerships with state agencies and other business service organizations,” said Stokes.

This is the fifth-consecutive year that Mollis and RIEDC have collaborated on the event. Past Expos have drawn hundreds of exhibitors and attendees.

“The Expo gives government agencies a powerful tool for changing the perception that Rhode Island is not business friendly. People really value the opportunity to talk face-to-face with them,” said Mollis.

This year’s Expo sponsors include Presenting Sponsor Alex and Ani, Presenting Media Sponsor AM790 Business & Talk, Silver Sponsors PODER 1110AM and Verizon, Bronze Sponsors America News, Cardi’s, Centreville Bank, Coventry Credit Union, Independence Bank, Internet Innovation Alliance, JobsInRI.COM, Lucier CPA, Newport Grand, People’s Credit Union, Rhodes to Independence, Union Federal Savings Bank, University of Rhode Island – Feinstein Providence Campus and Xzito Creative Services; Printing Sponsor ARC Rhode Island and Badge Sponsor Focus Business Solutions.

The Secretary of State’s office works with almost every company registered to do business in Rhode Island – about 60,000 in all. The office oversees recording commercial liens, protecting corporate trademarks and providing advice to small and start-up businesses. For more information about the programs and services the Secretary of State offers small businesses, visit

RIEDC’s mission is to create jobs, help companies expand and develop their workforce, and identify opportunities to bring new companies into our state.

RIEDC offers a host of programs, both in-house and in collaboration with partner organizations, to support the businesses of Rhode Island and to achieve the goals of job retention and sustainable job growth. For more information, visit

For information about participating or attending the Expo, call 222-2185 or visit