WARWICK, R.I. —
The annual We Mean Business Expo in Warwick focuses on what many will say is the backbone of Rhode Island: small businesses.
“Expo’s a great place to come, view other businesses, get your name out,” said Mark Siegel of Impact Waste Solutions.
Upstarts, like a South County company called Trivia glasses, are looking to grow.
“There’s a lot more that the state can provide for us as we grow because we want to expand all over Rhode Island,” said Richard Nuttall of Trivia Glasses.
But what’s not lost on those participating here is Rhode Island’s reputation as un-business friendly.
For his part, Gov. Lincoln Chafee said he has ordered all state agencies to conduct an accelerated review of their regulations to see what they can do to help small business.
“One person that’s going to have a sole duty of working with small businesses — and large businesses — on their regulations,” Chafee said. “That’s our goal — to reform our regulations.”
The governor’s office says there are 1,638 state regulations that impact business.
“We’re going to do an economic impact analysis to see what the effect of that regulation is on small business so that we can actually have a quantified number,” said Leslie Taito of the Office of Regulatory Reform. “We want to make sure that the cost of imposing that regulation doesn’t outweigh the benefit to the community.”
For those who have found Rhode Island’s regulatory process cumbersome, there is optimism for change.
“This is the kind of thing that didn’t exist several years ago, 10 years ago. That’s the whole point,” entrepreneur Dewayne Allen said. “I’m here to see what has changed.”