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Secretary of State Mollis Releases Data on 2012 Business Starts

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – It appears that Rhode Island's entrepreneurs are continuing to be more optimistic about the economy's recovery, based on 2012 data from the Secretary of State's office, which tracks yearly business filings.

Last year there were 7,121 start-ups, the most since the Great Recession officially began in 2008, when there were 7,837 new business filings.

"We should be careful about reading too much into these numbers after years of struggle. There may still be pain ahead, but at least there are signs that the economy is headed in the right direction," said Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis.

Mollis tracks annual business filings because most newly formed business entities in Rhode Island choose a corporate structure that requires registering with his office.

For example, 2012 marked the first time there have been two consecutive years of growth since 2006-2007. Starts were up 4 percent last year compared to 2011, which was up 1 percent compared to 2010.

"Judging from our work with start-ups over the past year, there were indications that people have more faith in the future of the economy. But the results are still a bit surprising," said Mollis.

And for the first time since 2005-2007, there have been three straight years of growth in any corporate legal structure classification. The number of newly formed limited liability companies (LLCs) hit 4,479 in 2012, up 6.6 percent compared to 2011.

LLCs are a type of business entity that has the liability-shield advantages of a corporation and the flexibility and tax pass-through advantages of a partnership. They have been growing in popularity compared to for-profit corporate structure for several years.

Still, there are signs that the economic shake-out is not over. In 2012, 6,725 corporate entities disappeared, about 1.5 percent more than 2011. Still, Rhode Island did better than in 2008. That year a record 7,071 companies went out of existence.

"Our economic difficulties have taken a terrible toll on all of us. Let's hope these figures are a signal that better days are ahead," said Mollis.

The Secretary of State's office is often the first place that Rhode Islanders stop when considering starting a business. The First Stop Business Information Center helps entrepreneurs file applications, apply for financing and make contacts at every level government.

"Making it easier to start a business in Rhode Island will create jobs and jumpstart the economy," Mollis explained.

Most newly formed business entities in Rhode Island choose a corporate structure that requires registering with the Secretary of State. More than 70,000 limited liability companies and for-profit and non-profit corporations are currently registered.

In addition to its work with start-ups, the Secretary of State's Business Services Division also oversees recording commercial liens, registering notaries public and protecting corporate trademarks.

Secretary of State Mollis is committed to making it easier for Rhode Islanders to vote, making it easier to do business in Rhode Island and making government more open and accessible. For more information about the programs and services the Secretary of State offers businesses, visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Barnett at 222-4293


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  • Department or agency: Office of the Secretary of State
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  • Release date: 01-29-2013

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