The 9th Annual Rhode Island Small Business Economic Summit

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The 9th Annual Rhode Island Small Business Economic Summit sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Center for Women & Enterprise was held at Bryant University on January 8, 2016. Miriam Ross, Esq., one of the co-chairs of the Summit and chair of the Main Street Committee, attended and lead a break-out session.  The Summit provides the venue for state elected officials and small business owners to engage in a dialogue and exchange ideas about issues of importance to small business in Rhode Island.  The goal is to formulate and present a small business advocacy package designed and approved by summit participants.

The Main Street Committee, chaired by Miriam Ross, focuses on local initiatives to revitalize Rhode Island’s “main streets” by leveraging local assets and making thoughtful re-development and economy-boosting investments.  Miriam Ross facilitated a lively Breakout Session discussion on Revitalization of Town Centers and Local Pride and Craft Breweries.  Main Street Committee made a number of recommendations, including

  • a dedicated and focused office within the Commerce Corporation to encourage collaboration among governmental organizations, merchant associations, town administrators, chambers of commerce and Main Street businesses to identify best practices, consolidate services and foster local revitalization projects and
  • support and foster the growth of Rhode Island craft brewers by removing regulatory barriers, repeal the law that limits the sale of ounces-per-visit and passage of a law that will allow sales of products by the breweries directly to the consumer without limit.

Here’s what an attendee in the Main Street Breakout Session had to say about Miriam Ross and Summit:

"I was in the Main Street breakout session that you led on Friday at the Summit. It was great. Your ability to facilitate productive communication among a diverse group of professionals was outstanding. I felt very much like I had a voice in the discussion, and that you kept things moving along in a positive and efficient way.
What you shared afterwards with the entire group was, in my opinion, a very accurate representation of the consensus among the Main Street participants. Your leadership style was friendly, yet strong, making me long for days spent in classrooms, with high ideals and an ignited passion for making a difference.  This was my first experience with the event. I was so impressed that I plan to be back next year, and to get more involved with programs that support small businesses in Rhode Island. Thank you for that inspiration!"

If you are interested in getting involved on the Main Street Committee, please contact Miriam Ross at or click here to send a message.

For more information on the programs and services offered by CWE or the U.S. Small Business Administration, please click below:

U.S. Small Business Administration

Center for Women & Enterprise

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