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McKee, Commerce Corp. Partner with Thumbtack to Boost Business Friendliness

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - In response to consistently low ratings on small business friendliness, Lt. Governor Daniel J. McKee and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation are launching a collaboration with Thumbtack Inc. to link its network of Rhode Island small businesses with resources, support and services.

Rhode Island has gotten an F for four straight years in Thumbtack's Small Business Friendliness Survey, including the new survey being released Tuesday ( The areas where Rhode Island fared most poorly were ease of starting a business, licensing and business regulations. The survey was conducted in December 2014.

The Lt. Governor, who co-chairs the Small Business Advocacy Council, approached California-based Thumbtack soon after taking office in January and asked the company to facilitate a Roundtable in Rhode Island with some of the very small businesses that gave the state an F in last year's survey.

In May, Lt. Governor McKee brought together nearly 40 individuals representing small business and state and municipal government for the Roundtable at Amica Insurance called "Advance RI: Boosting Business Friendliness."

The Lt. Governor was joined by top officials in Gov. Gina M. Raimondo's administration, including Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor; Macky McCleary, Director of the Department of Business Regulation; and Erik Godwin, Director of the Office of Regulatory Reform.

The Lt. Governor's Office and Thumbtack, in cooperation with the Commerce Corporation, are now collaborating on an outreach effort to the businesses in Thumbtack's network in Rhode Island regarding state programs and other local support offerings available for small businesses.

"Small businesses are the backbone of the Rhode Island economy, and for the state to thrive, small businesses must thrive," said Lt. Governor McKee. "Our collaboration with Thumbtack will help provide assistance to small businesses on the issues they are struggling with. Our aim is two-fold: to remove immediate obstacles but also work with the Governor's office to help make the longer-term, systemic changes that will earn Rhode Island an A in small business friendliness."

"We're working hard to improve Rhode Island's business climate so we can attract companies and encourage our existing businesses to expand and grow," said Commerce Secretary Pryor. "We cut taxes on small businesses by eliminating the commercial sales tax on energy and reduced the minimum corporate tax rate. We're working to eliminate burdensome regulations, we're providing state-financed small business loans, and we're re-imagining workforce development with our 'Real Jobs RI' initiative so we train people for the jobs that actually exist. Rhode Island didn't get its reputation overnight, and we're not going to turn it around overnight, but leaders across Rhode Island are working diligently to make this a great place to do business."

"For four years, the small business owners who use have told us how important it is to operate in a state with an engaged and supportive government," said Luke McGowan, Head of Community and Advocacy at Thumbtack, who facilitated the "Advance RI" Roundtable in May. "I commend the Rhode Island Lt. Governor's Office for proactively contacting us. It has done an exemplary job of taking to heart the feedback it receives from small businesses and developing new programs to directly improve their lives."

Media Contact: Erika Niedowski,, 401-222-1445

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