Word on the Street March 2017

By March 21, 2017 May 1st, 2017 Street Smarts, Word on the Street Newsletter

word on the street | march 2017

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Rhode Island Foundation: Small Business Ecosystem Analysis


In mid-2016, the Rhode Island Foundation (RIF) engaged Next Street to map the state’s small business ecosystem – the array of advisory and capital resources available to support the formation and growth of small businesses – as part of their commitment to equity, economic vitality, and job and wealth creation.

Our team conducted over 80 interviews with service and capital providers, public and private sector leaders, and small business owners, and compiled a database of organizations, programs, and capital sources. In addition to general resources, the team took a deeper look at the distinct needs of and resources for minority-owned businesses, as well as those in the food and manufacturing sectors. We identified several critical areas of opportunity:

  1. Making it easier for business owners to navigate available services and capital;
  2. Scaling and strengthening service and capital models that are working;
  3. Ensuring that the specific needs of manufacturers, food businesses, and businesses owned by people of color are met.

RI small business ecosystemOn Valentine’s Day, the Rhode Island Foundation convened key stakeholders and business owners at a public event to affirm their “love for Rhode Island’s small businesses”  and to share the team’s findings. It was an exciting program that catalyzed a series of planning efforts with the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and other public and private sector partners to prioritize and take action.

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Obama Presidential Center

Earlier this month, Next Street’s Charisse Conanan Johnson, Head of our Chicago Office, spoke at a public community meeting on the South Side of Chicago. The meeting focused on the need for a new community and economic development organization to support work across Woodlawn, Washington Park and South Shore – three neighborhoods surrounding the future Obama Presidential Center. Several new development projects in Chicago, in particular the Obama Presidential Center, present the chance to spur new and impactful investments on Chicago’s South Side and across the Chicagoland region.

Prior to the community meetings that transpired between January and March of this year, Next Street was commissioned to research the mission and programmatic offerings of existing organizations serving the three neighborhoods and best practices from across the country on inclusive economic development.

Most recently, Next Street participated in a Q&A session at the Woodlawn Summit, held on Saturday, March 18th, as part of the ongoing engagement with the communities surrounding the future Obama Presidential Center.

Woodlawn SummitRelated news coverage includes:

street smarts

NYC Department of Small Business Services: Business Pitch Competition


Next Street is proud to have partnered with NYC Department of Small Business Services to develop the workshop content for the upcoming Business Pitch workshops. In this course, businesses can learn how to develop their business pitch, making a strong and compelling case for a lender, investor, or client to believe in their business. Register today!