Small Business & the Economy
Developing a diverse economic base and a skilled workforce will make it easier for us to access quality jobs, goods, and services. We need to facilitate successful businesses, improve pathways to more jobs, higher wages, and facilitate the connection between residents and employers.
Rhode Island thrives on the success of small businesses. They employ many residents, create economic opportunities, and serve as cultural hubs for diverse communities. Councilman Goncalves understands how important protecting rights for entrepreneurs is. He seeks to break the walls that prevent locally owned companies from exceeding and building wealth. This includes developing and supporting high-quality local businesses, promoting our state as a business hub, strengthening education and worker skills and beautifying commercial corridors. Together, we can power an economic revival in Rhode Island focused on access to small businesses and the communities that rely on them.
John supports the Raise the Wage Act of 2023 to dramatically increase the federal minimum wage. To expand workers rights and economic opportunity, John supports Universal Pre-K and Universal Childcare, creating good union paying jobs, Universal Paid Family and Parental Leave, and the PRO Act, which would expand protections for employees who want to organize, collectively bargain, and/or unionize in the workplace.
What We've Accomplished Together
Supported Local Businesses & Innovation
• Identified and actively shared available resources with Ives Street, Wickenden Street, Wayland Square, South Main/South Water, and Downtown businesses to improve their access and knowledge of state & federal grant opportunities.
Promoted Outdoor Dining To Held Keep Businesses Afloat During The Pandemic
• Worked closely with the Wayland Merchants Association and Fox Point businesses to facilitate outdoor dining, events, and road closures to spur economic activity during the pandemic. Sponsored annual events and co-created events such as Autumn Air In The Square, Ward 1 Block Party etc. and promoted events like Providence Flea on South Water, Seafood Fest, etc.
Beautified Our Commercial Corridors
• Replaced trash bins, added benches/flower pots, improved lighting, and worked with businesses to create creative placemaking signage to promote shopping and support local businesses.
Advocated For Fast-Growing Sectors
• Remained a proponent of "knowledge-based" jobs in information technology, engineering, biomedical, biotechnology, and other fast-growing sectors in the Jewelry District and urged the I-195 District Commission to remain true to its mission of economic development in Ward 1 and in the City of Providence. Read more here and here.
The Work We Still Have To Do
Supporting Local Businesses Now and in the Future
The COVID-19 pandemic has strained local business development and growth considerably. These challenges create a lack of stability, increased unemployment, and financial woes. We must provide access in a fair and equitable manner to small business owners who need extra services and assistance at this time.
Invest Federal Funding Back Into the Community
Efforts to improve taxpayer dollar use require redirecting them back into the community and small businesses that help support all people. This is especially true for companies owned and operated by women, people of color, and immigrants who form the backbone of a large part of Rhode Island's economy. Leveling the playing field for federal funding is just one part of an equitable restructuring.
Support Legacy Businesses and Main Street Anchors
The smaller businesses found on main streets and in neighborhoods throughout the state provide financial and community anchors for all. The past year has seen too many legacy or long-standing businesses close their doors due to economic difficulties. This affects the culture and financial strength of these neighborhoods. These challenging times need a strong COVID-19 recovery plan that supports established companies.
Inclusion for POC Entrepreneurs
Historical and systemic racial wage disparity and inaccessibility to business owners have left many people of color behind. We must fight for more inclusion for all entrepreneurs regardless of their heritage.
Offer Unique Support for Restaurants
Recent shutdowns associated with the pandemic have affected restaurants and other food-related businesses greatly. In conjunction with resource allotment from the federal, state, and local governments, Rhode Island must create a unique plan for rebuilding and reinvigorating the restaurant scene. New ideas should include everything from operational existence and publicity.