U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests CARES Act Money to Establish Business Hub in Providence, Rhode Island

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced that the Department's Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $4 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to Skills for Rhode Island's Future, Providence, Rhode Island, to establish the Rhode Island Small Business Development Hub.

This project will provide support to small businesses including human resources, legal services, finance and accounting, marketing, and other professional services to help strengthen and support small business operations in Bristol, Kent, Newport, Providence and Washington counties. This EDA grant will be matched with $1.2 million in local funds and is expected to create 500 jobs, retain 800 jobs and generate $10 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

"President Biden is committed to ensuring that our communities are provided with the resources they need to diversify and grow their economies," said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. "The Rhode Island Small Business Development Hub will provide small and disadvantaged businesses and entrepreneurs with the resources they need to create jobs and promote economic resilience in the region."

"The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting locally-developed strategies designed to stimulate entrepreneurial activity," said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. "This project will bolster and diversify Rhode Island's economy, leading to new, good-paying jobs."

"Small businesses employ over half of Rhode Island's workforce across our 39 cities and towns and have been at the forefront of our state's economic recovery. We know that challenges persist from the pandemic, that's why these CARES Act dollars will be so vital," said Governor Dan McKee. "I thank President Biden, Secretary Raimondo, and the Economic Development Administration for this $4 million award, which will go a long way toward supporting our state's small businesses as they continue to recover from the effects of the pandemic."

"CARES Act funding is a real investment in ensuring Rhode Island is well-positioned for a strong economic rebound," said Senator Jack Reed. "This latest federal grant will help drive investment to underserved areas and strengthen Rhode Island's minority-owned business ecosystem. It will enable Skills for Rhode Island's Future to help small businesses with the training and support needed to start, grow, and sustain successful businesses and contribute to economic redevelopment across the state."

"I'm pleased to see CARES Act funding, which the delegation worked hard to secure, invested in helping Rhode Island small businesses grow and add jobs," said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. "The Rhode Island Small Business Development Hub will be a one-stop shop for small business owners seeking professional services that they don't have the resources to do in-house."

"The new Rhode Island Small Business Development Hub will provide much needed resources for our small businesses and entrepreneurs – some of whom are still recovering from the pandemic and others who are looking to pursue their dreams and open a business," said Congressman David Cicilline (RI-01). "I'm excited to see the growth, good-paying jobs, and diversified economy that this federal funding will help to create and will continue to work in Congress to provide our small businesses and entrepreneurs with the support they need to thrive."

This project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136), which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau's flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program, provides a wide range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov) The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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