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LOOKING FOR TIDY PROFITS: Daneshwar “Dan” Persaud, who operates Taj Commercial Cleaning LLC, says the state’s minority business enterprise program that guarantees a certain percentage of state contracts be awarded to minority-owned companies has a lot of room for improvement. 
PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO

Everybody’s Business: ‘I really feel like I’m alone’

You will never hear Daneshwar Persaud introducing himself by his full name. He goes by “Dan.” Always. But even with a quintessential American nickname and an...

Progress on MBE contracting limited without enforcement

This year’s General Assembly session ended without changes to the state’s Minority Business Enterprise program, despite a $500,000 study that identified a host of...
TOMÁS ÁVILA TOOK OVER as associate director for the R.I. Office of Diversity, Equity and Opportunity last August. / PBN FILE PHOTO/MIKE SKORSKI

Is help on the way for R.I.’s Minority Business Enterprise program?

THE STATE IS STILL STRUGGLING to overcome decades of dysfunction around tracking and enforcing its laws for contracting with minority-owned businesses, even after a...
NEXT GEN: M&G Plumbing Supply Co. owner Richard Correia, left, speaks with stock clerk Alex Knowles. Correia is of Portuguese descent but sees no need to participate in the state Minority Business Enterprise program. His father, John, emigrated from the Azores and started in the business in the 1960s. / PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO

WHO IS A MINORITY? Some argue R.I. needs to reexamine groups...

John Correia’s thick Azorean accent made him an easy target when he immigrated to Rhode Island in 1963. He was called a “greenhorn” and accused...
NEARLY 23% OF THE $103.8 million in contracts and purchase orders the city of Providence awarded in fiscal year 2020 went to certified women and minority businesses. / PBN FILE PHOTO/CHRIS BERGENHEIM

City, state have differing outcomes on minority contracting goal

While the state continues to fall short of its requirements for contracting with minority and women-owned businesses, the city of Providence has, for the...
Tomás Ávila  / PBN PHOTO/MIKE SKORSKI

Five Questions With: Tomás Ávila

Tomás Ávila | Associate director, R.I. Office of Diversity, Equity and Opportunity 1. How does your experience in small-business advocacy and connections to the...

R.I. falls short of minority, women contracting requirement

PROVIDENCE – The state failed to meet its own minimum requirements for contracts and purchases awarded to women- and minority-owned businesses in fiscal 2020,...
DIVERSE WORKFORCE: C.C. Business Corp. Vice President Ron Brewer, left, and President Marcellus Sharpe stand outside of Thundermist Health Center in Woonsocket, one of the private-security company’s clients. Brewer estimates that 70% of the company’s 39 employees are minorities. / PBN PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY

A question of equity: Can R.I. level the field for minority...

As small-business owners clambered to get in on the federal payroll relief program launched in the wake of COVID-19, Anna Mangeni held back. Her business,...
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