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NEW: 2014 RI Business Plan Competition Judges Announced

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

 

The Rhode Island Business Plan Competition announced Tuesday its 10-member judging panel for the 2014 competition, which will award prizes valued at more than $200,000.

“We’re very fortunate to have a talented, diverse group of seasoned professionals who bring broad, business-building experience to this year’s judging roster,” said Competition Co-Chair Peggy Farrell, partner in the law of firm of Hinckley Allen, who is one of the judges. “We especially appreciate that they are willing to contribute their time and expertise.”

In addition to Farrell, the following will serve as judges:

  • Roger Darois, VP, Research and Advanced Technologies, Davol, Inc, a Bard Company
  • Larry Davidson, principal, Kahn, Litwin, Renza & Co.
  • Scott DePasquale, chairman and CEO, Utilidata
  • Mark Higgins, dean, College of Business Administration, University of Rhode Island
  • Jeff Jefferson, partner, Edwards Wildman Palmer
  • Ray Mathieu, investor
  • Sandra Potter, director, Global Entrepreneurship Program, Bryant University
  • Shawn Scott, director of marketing, Collette
  • Christine M.B. Smith, director of Innovation Programs, RI Commerce Corporation

 

Application deadline

The deadline to apply to the 2014 competition is 5 PM. on March 31. The judging process will then occur during April, with winners announced May 1 at The Garage, a half-day business expo hosted by the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence.

The competition is open to anyone with an innovative business plan. All applicants must be at least 18 years of age and must agree to use winnings to establish or expand a business in Rhode Island. Complete competition information, including rules, application procedures, guidelines, and business plan resources, is available at http://www.ri-bizplan.com.

2014 Competition sponsors

Supporting this year’s competition are 59 sponsors, the most ever since the competition began in 2000, including 14 banks and investors; nine colleges and universities; foundations; construction, insurance, health-related, software, other businesses, professional firms, and services organizations; and two former participants.

See the full list of sponsors here

About the Competition

Established in 2000, the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition has been recognized as one of the top 40 business plan competitions in the country. To date, it has awarded more than $1.4 million in prizes to competitors developing companies across many industries.

In addition to awarding prizes, the competition hosts educational events in the months leading up to the application deadline in early April. They include business development, financial planning, and presentation skills workshops. In addition, the competition hosts the annual Rhode Island Elevator Pitch Contest.

 

Related Slideshow: 8 Discouraging Facts About Unemployment in RI



 

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Worst in the Country

9.2% unemployment rate for Jan. 2014.

Although the national unemployment rate for January was 6.6%, Rhode Island's jobless rate was 9.2% –  making it the highest in the nation. The 9.2% figure is one-tenth of a percentage point lower than it was in December 2013.

Source of data: RI DLT

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Number of Unemployed

64 consecutive months with 50,000 or more unemployed.

The number of unemployed Rhode Islanders decreased from 51,055 in Dec. 2013 to 50,600 in Jan. 2014. That said, the number of unemployed Rhode Islanders has not been below 50,000 since September 2008, which is 64 months.

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North of Nine

Above 9% unemployment for 63 straight months.

So just how long has Rhode Island's unemployment rate been above 9 percent? According to RI Department of Labor and Training statistics, the state's jobless rate has been over 9% since November 2008. That's a staggering 63 consecutive months.

Source of data: RI DLT

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Months at the Bottom

Seven consecutive months with the worst unemployment rate.

Rhode Island's unemployment rate has been worst in country each month since July 2013. Prior to that, the state was tied for worst in the nation with Nevada May 2013 when both states reported a jobless rate of 9.5%. As of Dec. 2013, Nevada's unemployment rate has dipped to 8.8%.

Sources of data: RI DLT; Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Worst in New England

Lagging behind the rest of New England in job recovery.

The rest of New England's states have not reported their unemployment rates for Jan. 2014, but the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that their respective jobless rates pale in comparison to Rhode Island. In fact the average New England unemployment rate for Dec. 2013 was 6.9%.

Here's the complete list:

  • Vermont  4.2%
  • New Hampshire  5.2%
  • Massachusetts  6.4%
  • Connecticut  6.9%
  • Maine  7.4%

 

Source of data: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Number of Employed Residents

Nearly 6,500 less employed residents than a year ago.

Rhode Island's unemployment rate may be lower than it was in January 2013, but this isn't reflected in the number of employed Rhode Islanders. In fact, there are 6,498 less people employed now than in Jan. 2013.

Source of data: RI DLT

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Shrinking Labor Force

Year-over-year decrease in total labor force.

Rhode Island's labor force increased by 200 to 550,300 in January, but the present workforce has shrunk by 9,700 compared to January 2013.

Source of data: RI DLT

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2013 Average

Next to worst in the nation for 2013.

Rhode Island's average unemployment rate for 2013 was 9.5%, which was the second highest in the country, after Nevada.

Sources of data: RI DLT; Bureau of Labor Statistics

Photo: Flickr/bytemarks

 
 

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