Advancing Entrepreneurship in RI While Betaspring Takes a Break
Monday, September 08, 2014
Betaspring takes the semester off this fall?
“I believe that our economic future is all about entrepreneurship and innovation and there are a lot of different ways that we can support that idea. Betaspring has done great work and will continue to great work, but it is up to all of us to continue to build on the momentum around entrepreneurship and innovation in the state of Rhode Island," said Saul Kaplan, founder and Chief Catalyst at the Business Innovation Factory located in Providence.
Creating a community of entrepreneurs
"At Brown, we have been trying through a lot of different ventures, whether it is Betaspring, or the Founders League, or the Social Innovation Fellowship to really spark the creation of a vibrant entrepreneurial community in Providence and across the state," said Alan Harlam, Director of Brown University's Social Innovation Initiative.
"Part of this effort includes helping startups and entrepreneurs get excited about starting their businesses here by having a lot of other entrepreneurial ventures thriving here,” said Harlam.
According to Harlam, helping achieve critical mass is essential in incentivizing startups to come to Rhode Island to participate in incubation and acceleration programs and making it attractive for them to remain in the state following the completion of the program.
"Getting the critical mass plays an integral role. It is a bit of a chicken and egg challenge and it is one of the reasons why having shared workspace hubs like Betaspring are so important," said Harlam. "It creates true synergy -- just being together sharing resources, having people to bounce ideas off of and share networks is extremely essential to prosper and achieve success."
Shared vision of entrepreneurship
"I think it’s a combination of programs that have been around the state, not just Betaspring, things that the universities do. But it’s not just about those few startups that go to an incubator. It is about helping all Rhode Islanders to be more entrepreneurial and to encourage more entrepreneurial activity," said Kaplan. "We need to have a culture of entrepreneurship. The key question is how we help existing businesses in Rhode Island become more innovative so that they can be stronger and more competitive and create more jobs. It’s not just about startups and going through an accelerator program – although I think it is a great program and we should do more of that –but how do we encourage an economy that is going to create more jobs, and higher wage jobs for Rhode Islanders," said Kaplan.
"I think it is going to take leaders from across the state both in the private and public sector and a shared vision of what we are trying to achieve. It is the responsibility of both our public sector leaders and our private sector leaders," said Kaplan.
Options for entrepreneurs & startups
“There is a lot going on in the entrepreneurship space. Betaspring is a member of the Founders League along with the Chamber, URI and Brown which offers coworking space for startups. This is a separate effort which will continue to operate during the semester Betaspring is taking off,” said Raymond.
"Betaspring provides a very intense boot camp-like mentoring program for the startups to connect them with mentors from the field in which they are seeking to operate," said Raymond, speaking to the unique mentorship-driven approach that distinguishes Betaspring from some of the other incubation and shared workspace options in Rhode Island.
According to Raymond, there are a number of options for businesses looking for incubator or coworking space in Providence and around the state.
“Incubator space exists including the Hatch in Providence and the Hives in North Kingstown. There are also competitions with cash prizes including the RI Business Plan competition and Sharkfest at Johnston & Wales University” said Raymond.
The Hatch Entrepreneurial Center provides 6,000 square feet of facilities, conference rooms, and meeting spaces for early-stage companies. The Hive is collaborative, community-based coworking facility in North Kingstown which was designed to create an environment where members can come together to share ideas and forge new collaborations and partnerships.
Brown University, in partnership with Social Enterprise Greenhouse has been developing programs that will provide community-based startups with a number of the services including shared workspace, mentoring, and access to a broader network of local business leaders and investors according to Harlam.
"The Social Innovation Initiative has been around for about six years and has launched a number of ventures. One of the things that we are interested in exploring is finding out how to launch more of those ventures in Providence, and one of the ideas that we are working on is partnering with Social Enterprise Greenhouse, which mirrors the work we are doing at Brown but for community-based entrepreneurs who aren't part or associated necessarily with the university but are doing work to address a problem that is affecting society through an entrepreneurial venture," said Harlam.
"Brown is partnering with Social Enterprise Greenhouse to develop a program that will support startups through the early stages of their venture and connect them with mentors in the business community with the expertise and connections and network access that they need to advance their venture. There are a number of very exciting social ventures here, but the key is bringing them together so they can share ideas and resources," said Harlam.
Social Enterprise Greenhouse is currently in the process of building a shared workspace, or social enterprise "hub", that will be launching in the first quarter of 2015.
Related Slideshow: RI Business Rankings in US
See how Rhode Island stacked up.
Rhode Island has 2015's eighth highest insurance premium penalties for high risk drivers, according to a WalletHub report.
Rhode Island ranks fifth overall in the category of speeding over 20 mph annual premium increase at $482. While ranking third overall in the category of 2 accidents annual premium increase at $2,721.
Rhode Island ranks ninth overall under the reckless driving annual premium increase at $749.
Rhode Island has been ranked as the 8th most eco-friendly state in the country, according to a recent study by WalletHub.
Rhode Island ranks third in environmental quality and 16th in Eco-Friendly Behaviors Ran landing them in 8th overall.
RI is behind Washington and New Hampshire who are in the six and seven spots respectively, and in front of Connecticut and Hawaii who come in at the nine and ten spot.
Rhode Island is 2015's 4th Worst State to be a taxpayer, according to a recent WalletHub report.
Rhode Island ranks 48th of 51 with an average state and local tax price of $7,159 which is good for a 27% difference from the national average.
The states that are directly behind Rhode Island are Wisconsin at $7,159, Nebraska at $7,298 and Illinois at $7,719 for a 37% difference from the national average.
Rhode Island has the highest vehicle property taxes in the country, paying an average of $1,133 according to a report from WalletHub.
Virginia and Kansas are the two states just ahead of Rhode Island in the 49 and 50 spots, paying $962 and $905 respectively.
RI also ranks 42nd in average real estate tax, paying an average of $2,779, according to the WalletHub report.
WalletHub has ranked Rhode Island as the 7th worst state to be rich in in a recent in depth analysis of 2015's Best States to be Rich or Poor From a Tax Perspective.
On a scale with 1 being the best, and 25 being average, Rhode Island ranks 37th in low income earners, 42 in middle income earners and 45th in high income earners.
To see the full report, click here.
Providence-metro ranks at the bottom for job creation in 2014
Rhode Island has been ranked amongst the worst in job creation, according to a recent survey done by Gallup.
Gallup gives the Prov-metro area an index score of 23, the lowest score is the New York- New Jersey area with 20.
Salt Lake City, Utah and Austin-round Rock, Texas rank the highest with a score of 37.
The 2014 state rankings by Forbes has just been released and Rhode Island moved up two spots from #48 in 2013 to #46 in 2014.
What does Forbes say about RI's business environment"
After Michigan and Illinois, Rhode Island has experienced the third worst net migration out of its state in the country over the past five years. With a recent unemployment rate of 7.6%—lower than only Georgia and Mississippi—residents are leaving the state in search of jobs. Rhode Island has been stuck in the bottom five overall for six straight years. One plus: labor costs are 5% below the national average, which stands out in the expensive Northeast.
Findings from The State Business Tax Climate Index were released this morning by Tax Foundation which found Rhode Island to have the 45th best tax climate for businesses for 2015. The state's rank has not changed since last year after The Index analyzed 100 different tax variables in multiple categories.
After conducting an online suvery consisting of 1,050 individuals from both parties across the nation, WalletHub ranked Rhode Island as having America's 33rd fairest tax system.
Providence is the second worst city in America for small business, according to a new survey conducted by Thumbtack.com and the Kauffman Foundation.
More than 12,000 small businesses in 82 cities across the country participate in the survey. Providence received an overall "F" grade for small business friendliness.
Small Business Friendliness Grade: F
The Economist grades states on an A+ to F grading scale for its small business climate. Rhode Island is one of just 6 states to earn an "F" grade.
Overbearing bureaucracy and excessive licensing is stifling small business in America.
CNBC ranks each state in cost of doing business, economy, technology and innovation.
Rhode Island's unemployment rate as of May 2014 was 8.2 percent. This is RI's lowest unemployment rate since August 2008.
Forbes ranks each state in business costs, economic climate, and growth prospects. RI is third worst in 2013.
The most damning in the commentary:
After Michigan, Rhode Island has experienced the second worst net migration in the country over the past five years.
ChiefExecutive.net ranks each state in taxations and regulations, workforce quality, and living environment.
The most damning in the commentary:
Sky-high unemployment rate bespeaks continuing terrible business climate.
#46 Tax Foundation
Tax Foundation ranks each state in corporate tax rank, sales tax rank, and unemployment insurance tax rank.
Rhode Island and the other states in the bottom ten suffer from the same afflictions: complex, non-neutral taxes with comparatively high rates.
#24 Wallet Hub
Wallet Hub ranks each state in ROI rank, state tax rank, and overall government services.
Rhode Island ranked #50 for worst roads and bridges, but ranked #4 in safety.
ALEC ranks each state in economic performance and outlook.
Although Rhode Island ranked low in economic performance, a forward-looking forecast is based on the state’s standing in 15 important state policy variables. Some of these variables include top marginal personal income tax rate and sales tax burden.
#50 Kauffman Foundation
Kauffman Foundation ranks each state in entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurial activity generally is highest in Western and Southern states
and lowest in Midwestern and Northeastern states.
#47 Free Enterprise
Free Enterprise ranks each state in performance, exports, innovation + entrepreneurship, business climate, talent pipeline, infrastructure.
Rhode Island has continued to feel the direct impact and ripples from the recent recession—it ranks 47th overall in economic performance. However, positive rankings of 15th in talent pipeline and 16th in innovation and entrepreneurship suggest the existence of a foundation on which to build the future.
The Pew Charitable Trusts
#40 The Pew Charitable Trusts
The Pew Charitable Trusts ranks each state in job growth and job creation.
Rhode Island added 6,223 jobs in 2014.
10th Worst in Gallup's Annual Ranking of State Job Markets 2014
Rhode Island has been ranked 10th worst for job creation in Gallup's annual ranking of state job markets in 2014 with a job creation index number of 21
Rhode Island is one of two (Connecticut) states to rank in the bottom ten each year since 2008.
The 2014 State level findings have were drawn from 201,254 interviews with employed adults across the nation.
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