The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation today announced that the Small Business Assistance Program, a new program aiding eligible small businesses in obtaining the credit required to move their business forward up and running our program partners are accepting applications. The Small Business Assistance Program joins a suite of economic development tools and incentives offered by the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation to help businesses thrive in Rhode Island

“We are very pleased to offer this program specifically focused on small businesses, because such businesses are the backbone of Rhode Island’s economy,” said Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor. “We want to make the process of starting and growing small businesses easier than ever in Rhode Island.”

The Small Business Assistance Program is designed to help small businesses that are challenged in obtaining adequate credit or adequate terms for such credit from traditional lending organizations. Providing greater access to capital will enable the formation and expansion of small businesses across the state and provide job opportunities to state residents. Microenterprises, minority and women-owned businesses and enterprises in Rhode Island’s most impoverished communities are among the small businesses that this program aims to assist.

“Access to capital is key for any business owner,” said Rhode Island Commerce Corporation President Darin Early. “One of our mandates here at the Commerce Corporation is to make it easier to do business in Rhode Island, and part of that is enabling our small businesses to get a leg up in our state.”

The corporation has partnered with lending organizations to make small business loans available to viable businesses unable to find credit elsewhere. There are two tiers of lending partners: Those who will offer micro-loans of between $2,000 and $25,000 and those who will provide loans over $25,000. The selected partners and the awards from the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation are as follows:

Partners for loans: · Business Development Company: $1 million · Community Investment Corporation: $1 million · SEED: $1 million

Partners for micro-loans: · Center for Women and Enterprise: $150,000 · Community Investment Corporation: $170,000 · Social Enterprise Greenhouse: $125,000

The Corporation has also partnered with BDC Capital Corporation to establish the Rhode Island Capital Access Program. Businesses can borrow as little as $1,000 or up to $750,000. The program encourages banks and credit unions to make slightly riskier loan by providing matching funds from the state to create cash collateral accounts. The program is simple, fast and flexible for both borrowers and lenders

Specific contacts for each lender are as follows:

BDC Capital -Dave Harrington: (781) 928-1117 (

BDC Rhode Island -Peter Dorsey (401) 351-3036 (

Center for Women and Enterprise – Susan Rittscher ( , Carmen Diaz-Jusino ( (401) 427-6538

Community Investment Corporation – Buck Harris ( (203) 776-6172 x128

SEED – Maria Gooch-Smith ( (508) 822-1020 x314

Social Enterprise Greenhouse – Kelly Ramirez ( (401) 749-7238

Companies looking for more information on the Small Business Assistance Program should visit or email Dan Jennings at