February 1, 2012

Whitehouse Brings RI Business Leaders to Washington

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee held a meeting to hear from businesses around the country that have succeeded and created jobs despite the tough economy.  Two Rhode Island businesses sent representatives to the meeting to share their experience and expertise.  Allan Tear from Betaspring in Providence, and Giovanni Feroce from Alex and Ani, Inc. in Cranston joined the meeting at the invitation of U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.

“As we work to boost Rhode Island’s economy and help small businesses succeed, it’s helpful to hear from successful businesses in our Ocean State and learn from their experience,” said Whitehouse.  “I’m glad Allan and Giovanni were here in Washington to share their ideas with my colleagues in the Senate.”

“On behalf of our owner, designer Carolyn Rafaelian, and all the women and men who work so hard to produce and sell our wares around the world, I extend our gratitude to Senator Whitehouse for the opportunity to tell our story to key decision-makers in Washington,” said Feroce.  “It is the story of Alex and Ani, and those that follow our ‘triple bottom line’ model, economic, social and environmental, which will allow the United States to resume our leadership in the world of business.”

“The value of bringing real-world success stories into the Senate’s work toward economic recovery and growth cannot be overstated,” said Tear.  “We are grateful that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has included Betaspring and Rhode Island’s entrepreneur community in this important gathering and we look forward to a continued partnership with the Senator and his colleagues in Washington.”

Each year, the Steering and Outreach Committee hosts several meetings with advocates, policy experts, business leaders, elected officials, and community leaders to discuss key priorities and enlist their help.  These meetings are open forums for discussion between members of communities around the country and members of the Democratic Caucus.

Alex and Ani, Inc. describes itself as a “positive energy company” and jewelry manufacturer and retailer based in Cranston that uses recycled materials for its products.  All of its products are manufactured in the U.S., and they have hired nearly 200 people since May 2010.

Betaspring describes itself as a mentorship-driven startup accelerator program for technology and design entrepreneurs.  According to materials provided to the Steering Committee by Betaspring, they have launched 28 companies and supported the growth and development of nearly 100 entrepreneurs.  Their teams have created more than 50 full time jobs and raised approximately $10 million in follow-on funding.  Last year, they were selected for inclusion in the Obama Administration’s Startup America initiative.


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Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921