Posted by: Providence Chamber of Commerce | May 9, 2012

Rhode Island Small Business Development Center Names State Director

Johnson & Wales University Vice President of Academic Affairs Jeff Senese, Ph.D. announced the appointment of Adriana I. Dawson as the Rhode Island Small Business Development Center (RISBDC) state director. The search committee recommended Adriana’s appointment after reviewing and interviewing a strong pool of applicants from the region and throughout the country.  In her role, Adriana will oversee the center and work closely with the Larry Friedman International Center for Entrepreneurship, the deans, and interested faculty on business support projects in the state that also will involve students.

The RISBDC ( ) provides entrepreneurs and small business owners with resources to help them create, transform and grow their businesses. It promotes entrepreneurship and strengthens small business in Rhode Island by providing broad-based, high-quality, “no fee” one-on-one counseling and low-cost group educational services. It is a vehicle for connecting university, government, banking, private sector and other community-based resources to support small businesses and to promote economic development. The primary recipients of RISBDC services are existing businesses. Certain specific services, particularly educational programs, also are offered to start-up businesses. These services are provided directly by experts and faculty/student teams in a variety of business disciplines at a network of offices throughout Rhode Island.

Adriana has served as the RISBDC interim state director since September 2011. Previously, she was associate state director and a regional director. Before the RISBDC came to JWU in 2006, Adriana was the assistant state director when the center was located at Bryant University.

Adriana is very involved in the community. She is a board member of the International Charter School and the Rhode Island Latino Policy Institute and is active with the Providence Economic Development Partnership Loan Committee. She was awarded the national state star award at the SBDC national conference in 2011 and was named SBDC State Star for Rhode Island in 2003. In 2008, she was recognized as the business person of the year by Rhode Island Latino Civic Fund and a recipient of the Providence Business News 40 Under Forty award. Adriana was responsible for leading the SBDC through its recent award of national accreditation and for the proposal process for funding of the program’s cooperative agreement from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Adriana earned a Master of Arts in Management Communication from Emerson College and a Bachelor of Science in Communications Studies, with concentrations in organizational communication and business administration, from Northeastern University.

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