RI launches online tool to support small business owners

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — To coincide with National Small Business Week, Rhode Island launched an interactive online tool to support small business owners.

According to Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, the new RI Business Data Hub allows users to search information from the state’s business registry, including business locations and business trends.

“Technology needs to make small businesses thrive, so what we’ve done here is to take what used to be basically a glorified phone book and turned it into a hub of information,” Gorbea explained.

For example, if you want to open a beauty salon in Newport, you could search for information on the site. You would discover you’d be in competition with 14 other incorporated beauty salons in the city. You’d also see the median household income in Newport is slightly above the state median at more than $65,000.

“As a small business person, I don’t have to pay a ton of money to someone else to look at things that really should be at my fingertips as a business owner,” Gorbea said. “Whether you’re planning a business or whether you’re maintaining or growing a small business, you can come to the Secretary of State’s web portal and find out what’s happening in your particular niche of the economy.”

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business.

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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