The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce was founded during the height of Rhode Island’s industrial prosperity in 1868. Our mission, then and now, is to be the voice for commerce and private sector business in our community.
The Chamber is financially strong with more than 1500 member-companies located throughout Rhode Island and beyond. Our staff of 12 is composed of experts in economic development, government affairs, small business and communications and is led by a Certified Chamber Executive.
Our headquarters is located at 30 Exchange Terrace in Providence, which once housed the historic Union Station railroad depot. In the mid-1980s, after the train tracks were relocated, the Chamber bought the building at the west end of the Romanesque complex. That move catalyzed the redevelopment of an important urban corridor. Today, Commerce Center sits at the confluence of the city’s financial, retail, jewelry and knowledge districts.
The Chamber’s program of work is organized to deliver two types of specialized services. Primarily, we are there to be your advocate and your watchdog on policy issues ranging from taxes and health care to the fire code and labor regulations. In addition, we provide direct member services and specialized problem solving to small and medium-size businesses. This allows us to truly engage our members, understand their needs and protect their interests in a unified fashion. We help facilitate connections and build awareness.
We are multi-dimensional in our portfolio of products, as our membership base reflects hundreds of industry segments. We are a complete and collaborative network. Our constituents value the fact that our advocacy work protects them day in and day out while they tend to their own business needs.
Members want their voices heard
We know activism
“We can’t take it anymore.”
The Chamber is the place where small and medium-size business, in particular, can find an avenue for “organizing the fight.” We are the lobbying force for private-sector business. We devote considerable time to pushing a very structured legislative and economic development agenda. The two go hand-in-hand. The Chamber analyzes bills and determines what affect they will have on the overall business community as well as on a specific industry. We then take a position, either in support or in opposition, and reach out to our constituents to engage them.
We make it easy to fight back through our Capwiz electronic messaging tool. For example, we “organized the fight” to stop the proposed $165 million expansion of the Rhode Island sales tax, and the subsequent effort to levy a new meals and beverage tax. We also played an important leadership role in solving the state’s pension crisis. We testified at all the important legislative hearings and spoke out about how ill-conceived benefit structures hurt business. We shared our concerns with policy makers and hammered home the message that fiscal solvency in the public sector will lead to renewed economic vitality for the business community.
We achieved further advocacy success in relieving some of the more unrealistic aspects of the firecode. We vigorously defended business interests on the new federal health care act, unemployment insurance taxes, personal income taxes, digital download taxes, miscellaneous fee-gouging and regulatory underbrush as well as on T.F. Green Airport expansion and runway upgrades.
Lobbying isn’t pretty, but it is essential. With the Chamber, there is strength and opportunity in numbers.
Members want problem solving
We know how to get results
Good corporate citizenship
The Chamber is where the state’s most civic-minded business leaders convene to work on issues that affect your business and our community. Tell us what’s on your mind. Through the Chamber, we solve problems and deliver solutions. Taxes, public education and stimulating local demand are just some of the economic development issues that drive our policy work. The Chamber provides a proven forum for channeling your energies as an informed advocate.
Growth is central to our agenda. Who are the major players? Where is the new investment taking place? What industries are doing well and why? Who’s leaving? Who’s coming? Where is our economy headed? Who’s adding jobs? Who’s contracting? Gain valuable market intelligence. Be conversant on the issues. Get one step ahead of the competition. Learn how to leverage your time and resources.
Members of the Chamber are also deeply engaged in growing Rhode Island’s transition to the knowledge economy --- a place where everyone has a stake.
Through in-depth research, we are providing market intelligence on how to break into those new industries that are on a growth trajectory.
For Rhode Island, that means understanding how to tap into life and oceanographic sciences; aging and the brain; behavioral and preventive health care; facility, spatial and product design; information technology; digital media; advanced manufacturing; and clean tech. Our economic development consultants have invited the world to “beat a path to our door” to sit side-by-side with Rhode Island’s world-class talent. Know who’s coming to town!