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How to Start a Small Business in Rhode Island with the SBA

by Michelle L. Cramer
  • Overview

    There are several steps to starting a small business. In Rhode Island, you must acquire proper licensing, obtain the proper tax information and file registration with the Secretary of State's office. The Small Business Administration (SBA) also has several resources available to help you stay on track when starting a business and obtain financing to get you off the ground. Additionally, the SBA offers resources specifically for Rhode Island residents.
    The SBA can help guide you through starting a business in Rhode Island.
  • Register the Business

  • Step 1

    Determine whether the business you intend to start needs to have a license of any kind and apply for those if necessary. Several occupations and businesses require licensing in Rhode Island. Refer to the Resources link below for a complete list.
  • Step 2

    Check to make sure the business name you would like to use is not already in use by another company. The Secretary of State's office provides a search function for that purpose (see Resources).
  • Step 3

    Register your business name by filing the Articles of Incorporation online through the Rhode Island Secretary of State website (see Resources below).
  • Step 4

    Obtain a Permit to Make Sales at Retail if you plan to sell products as part of your business (see Resources for online filing). Additionally, you will need a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), obtainable through the Internal Revenue Service website (IRS.gov), also used for tax purposes.
  • Step 5

    Select a location for your business. Determine whether you can have a home-based business or need a business location, depending on zoning laws in the city in which you choose to start your business, obtainable through the Rhode Island Zoning Law Website (RIZoning.com).
  • Utilize SBA Resources

    • Step 1

      Access the Small Business Administration (SBA) website at SBA.gov. Click on the "Local Resources" tab on the right and select "Rhode Island." This will direct you to the resources offered through the Rhode Island SBA.
    • Step 2

      Click on "Rhode Island Lenders" at the bottom of the Local Resources page to obtain a list of lenders within the state that participate in SBA lending programs.
    • Step 3

      Browse through the free resources offered by SBA including financial assistance, information on contract opportunities, online training resources for starting a business, a law library and counseling services. Visit the SBA website, click on "Services" and select the service of interest for more details on how to apply for and receive assistance to get your business started on the right path.
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    References & Resources