The 10th 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 6, 2017. Over 250 small businesses and business leaders attended this year’s Summit. The Summit has been the key 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.
Miriam Ross, Esq. is one of the co-chairs of the Summit and chair of the Main Street Committee. Main Street focuses on local initiatives to revitalize Rhode Island’s “main streets” by leveraging local assets and making thoughtful re-development and economy-boosting investments. Ms. Ross facilitated a lively Breakout Session discussion on the impact on Main Street business from road closures and business interruptions associated with publicly funded construction projects, marijuana in the workplace and the potential new business area of recreational marijuana.
Main Street Committee made a number of recommendations, including
- The Need for Construction Mitigation Services in publicly funded construction projects to limit negative economic impacts of road closures and similar construction project disruptions on the local community.
- Specific guidance on Medical Marijuana in the workplace to protect both the employee and employer from potential claims and the employer’s obligation to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee legally using medical marijuana
- Cannabis – The Next, Biggest Business Opportunity – establishing a safe and responsible production system” and “designing an appropriate distribution system.” Decisions on cultivation, distribution and retail have clear implications for businesses hoping to enter the cannabis industry, including how to ensure a diversity of participants and ensuring small business has a “seat at the table”
Here’s what an attendee in the Main Street Breakout Session had to say about Miriam Ross, Esq. and the 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!”
For more information on the programs and services offered by CWE or the U.S. Small Business Administration, please click below: