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8/10/2016 Sen. Pichardo and Rep. Barros Micro Business Act signed into law
STATE HOUSE – In an effort to help Rhode Island’s smallest entrepreneurs, Sen. Juan M. Pichardo (D-Dist. 2, Providence) and Rep. Jean Philippe Barros’ (D-Dist. 59, Pawtucket) legislation to establish the Micro Business Act was signed into law by Governor Raimondo today at a ceremonial bill signing at the Algonquin House in Providence.

The bill (2016-S 2688A) is designed to carry out the state’s policy of supporting the fullest possible participation of micro businesses in the economic activity in the state, including state directed public construction programs and projects and in-state purchases of goods and services. A micro business is defined as a business entity, regardless of whether it is in the form of a corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership, general partnership or sole proprietorship, which has a total of 10 or fewer members, owners, and employees and has gross sales totaling $500,000 or less.  Representative Barros’ companion legislation (2016-H 7821) passed the House of Representatives.

“Small businesses — especially micro businesses — are the engine of our economy,” said Senator Pichardo. “They promote social mobility and stability. Technology and entrepreneurship create jobs while creating progress among our communities.”

“With income inequality steadily rising in this country, especially among minority communities, it is imperative that we invest in and nurture the micro businesses owned and operated by minorities within the state,” said Representative Barros.  “Promoting investments into underrepresented groups is a critical step to reducing income inequality and increasing access.”

The bill compels the Department of Administration to maintain a database on the state’s registered micro businesses and make an annual report to the governor and General Assembly, including how the micro businesses are dispersed throughout the state. The report would also indicate the number of registered micro businesses that are also certified minority business enterprises, and the number of registered micro businesses that are also certified women business enterprises.

Senator Pichardo and Representative Barros suggested that the best ways to put these ideas into action is to promote progress that incentivizes minority- and women-owned businesses through tax incentives and innovative business incubator programs.

Supporters join Sen. Juan M. Pichardo, fourth from left, Governor Gina M. Raimondo, seated, and Rep. Jean Philippe Barros, second from right, at a ceremonial bill signing held at the Algonquin House in Providence.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903