The Rhode Island Small Business Development Center (RISBDC) on Tuesday announced the opportunity to apply to a program that has proven very successful in other states for growth-oriented companies confronting new challenges as they scale their businesses. This nationally recognized program offered through the Edward Lowe Foundation enables the CEO/President to work through common second-stage challenges, including building a management team, creating internal infrastructure, expanding into new markets, and recruiting and retaining talented employees.

“One of the key areas for a business to succeed and grow coming out of the pandemic is to plan and examine key possible areas for growth,” said Ed Huttenhower, Executive State Director of the RISBDC in a statement. “The Level Up program being offered by the RISBDC and the Edward Lowe Foundation will provide participating businesses the opportunity to do this through the various aspects of the program.”

This comprehensive, six-month program is effective across many industries, with the potential to be a good fit for scalable businesses in manufacturing, marine, defense, wholesale and distribution, and technical consulting, among other industries.

Level Up is a virtual, integrated program that offers a growth-oriented consulting engagement to identify barriers and opportunities and provide strategic information, a series of monthly CEO round tables, and a leadership retreat all tailored to the realities second-stage businesses face. As part of the program, CEOs/Presidents will gain access to customized information to grow the business, hone their leadership skills, and connect with other second-stage business owners.

“Second-stage business owners face challenges and opportunities that differ from those confronted by start-up, early stage and mature businesses,” said Diane Fournaris, RISBDC Associate State Director. “The Level Up program will help them to deal effectively with the challenges presented by growth and make the most of the opportunities to scale their businesses.”

Companies that participated in this program were thrilled with the information provided and the results they were able to achieve. Because of this, the RISBDC decided that bringing this program to Rhode Island was a key component of helping to minimize the impact of the pandemic on the state’s small business community while capitalizing on growth opportunities. By offering the best advice, resources and recommendations, the program should enable participating businesses to recover more quickly and to move forward with plans for the future. This will enable both the business and the state’s economy to prosper. 

Second-stage businesses typically:

  • Generate between $1 million to $50 million in annual revenue.
  • Employ between 10-99 full-time equivalent employees.

CEOs/Presidents interested in discovering if the program is a good fit for their companies should register for a virtual info session on January, 14, 2021. Or they may submit their application for consideration here. The deadline to apply is January 29 at 5pm. 

RISBDC at the University of Rhode Island provides local small business owners with the services and expertise they need to succeed: no-cost expert counseling, relevant training and access to important resources. With a total of eight offices and outreach locations throughout the state, their experienced business counselors are available to support businesses at every stage, from startup through maturity. The RISBDC is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The RISBDC successfully completed a rigorous accreditation process in association with the Small Business Administration. Rhode Island has had an SBDC office since 1983. 

This program is part of the RISBDC’s commitment to small business in every stage as a pillar of the Ocean State’s economy. Second-stage companies account for an outsized slice of job growth and are an important economic engine in Rhode Island. In other states where this program has been implemented, for every dollar invested in the program, it returned $9 to the economy, according to the Edward Lowe Foundation.