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Businesses Give High Marks on Blizzard 2015 Prep and Clean-up
Rhode Island Commerce Secretary-designate Stefan Pryor joined Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce President Laurie White on January 28 to meet with businesses around Wayland Square in Providence. They visited local establishments to hear firsthand how they are doing after the blizzard and to learn if they needed any assistance.
The area businesses they visited were fully operational and gave very positive overall feedback on how the State of Rhode Island and the City of Providence handled the winter storm preparations and dig out.
Thank you to all the businesses who spoke with us today!
If any businesses need help with a storm related matter, you may e-mail Laurie White at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Greater Providence Chamber and Commerce RI have created a "help desk" to ensure that the business community is dialed into all the pertinent resources to cope with the blizzard and its aftermath. Check back often for fresh updates on travel bans, parking bans, weather forecasts, and more. Click here for the latest information from Rhode Island EMA.
If you need help with a storm related matter effecting your business, email email@example.com
As the advocate for growing and protecting the business community in Rhode Island, the Chamber supports policies that build on our state's economic advantages, spur new business growth, encourage expansion of existing RI businesses, create jobs and attract private investment.
$500 Minimum Corporate/Business Entity Tax
Governor’s Economic Development Plan
Angel Investors and Venture Capital
Temporary Disability Insurance Program
Continue/Expand Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Funding
Apprenticeship and internship programs
Manufacturing Extension Partnership
Paul T. DeRoche, Senior Vice President Government Affairs
firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-521-5000
PRESS RELEASE ARTICLE
January 15, 2015
Contact: Stephanie Mandeville
Office: 401.825.2662 | Mobile: 401.536.5760
Beacon Mutual Announces Policyholder Dividend
Warwick, RI – The Beacon Mutual Insurance Company today announced it will distribute a $2 million dividend payment among its 12,100 policyholders. Beacon Mutual, Rhode Island’s largest provider of workers’ compensation insurance, will begin issuing the dividend during the second quarter of 2015.
“As a mutual insurance company we operate for the benefit of our policyholders. During this difficult economic climate, we are pleased to be able to assist Rhode Island businesses – our policyholders – with this dividend offering,” said Beacon Mutual President & CEO James V. Rosati. “This dividend collectively will result in two million dollars being returned to the state’s economy.”
“In order to create opportunity for Rhode Island families, we need to build skills, attract investments and entrepreneurs, and foster innovation,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “Beacon’s commitment to creating safer workplaces benefits all Rhode Islanders and helps to make our economy stronger for everyone.”
With five consecutive years of dividend returns, Beacon Mutual is fulfilling its mission of being a stabilizing presence in the Rhode Island workers’ compensation system.
The dividend will be distributed to all policyholders insured by the company as of December 30, 2014, who have been insured for one year and whose premiums are paid in full.
“This dividend offering is possible as a result of capital gains on our investments,” added Rosati. “As always, our focus remains: to reduce workplace injuries through safety training and education; to provide the highest quality resources and programs, like our Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work program; and to treat injured workers with respect and dignity, while getting them back to work as safely and as soon as possible. It is the continued hard work and dedication of Beacon employees that enables us to deliver these high-quality customer and claim services.”
Beacon continues its commitment to increasing efficiencies and reducing operating costs through automation and innovation, and creating value for policyholders every day.
Is your New Year's resolution to be healthier and save money?
Own a business? Have part-time employees in need of pharmacy benefits?
Has your company recently switched to a HSA or high deductible health plan?
The Chamber's RIRX prescription drug card can come in handy. In some instances, depending on your insurance plan, the drug card can save you up to 75% on FDA approved prescriptions. The discount card can be used by people whose health plans don't include prescription benefits; those whose health insurance has a high deductible; people with health savings accounts (HSAs); those who are in the "doughnut hole" of Medicare Part D plans; and those who need a prescription drug not covered by their insurance plan. The card works just as well for individuals who are uninsured.
Download your free card by clicking here.
You can also visit any CVS/Pharmacy and request a card.
Press Release Article From:
EANE Contact: Carolyn Lavin, 401.451.9660
Business Trend Survey by Employers Association Shows Region’s Outlook on Talent, Training, Salary, Staffing and More
Lincoln, RI (January 6, 2015)— With close to 900 members concentrated in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, the Employers Association of the NorthEast today unveiled the regional findings from the 2015 National Business Trends Survey conducted by the Employer Associations of America. The survey covers trends in staff, hiring, job creation, pay, and beyond.
“Despite strong continued optimism for 2015, employers are keenly aware of short- and long-term competition and talent challenges looming ahead,” states Meredith Wise, who is both Chair of the Board of the national Employer Associations of America and President of the Employers Association of the NorthEast. “The survey allows executives to make data-driven decisions and provides detailed information on how other executives plan to approach their business in 2015. Here in the northeast, the results reflect a tempered but cautious optimism of the region.”
Executives in New England and throughout the northeast are as optimistic about a positive outlook for 2015 as the national trends, with 53% believing the 2015 economy would be at least the same as the 2014 economy and 41% thinking it would be better. Other key findings include:
Staffing on the rise but not as strong
Despite the less favorable economic outlook regionally, regional executives are still expected to add staff in 2015 at or above the national projected staffing levels. The numbers show that 57% surveyed intend to increase staff in 2015, versus only 52% nationally who indicated they would add staff in 2015. However, the 57% rate figure represents a slight decline regionally from the 2014 outlook which saw 59% of respondents indicate they would add staff during the 2014 year.
Vast majority to award wage/salary increases:
Consistent with the trend nationally, 81% of executives responding to the survey plan to award wage/salary increases in 2015 (which was comparable to 78% of survey respondents nationally who had indicated that they would be doing the same).
Training remains a priority:
58% of regional respondents indicated they will be providing additional training and development to their existing workforce, a slight increase from the 56% figure in last year’s survey and identical to the 58% rate noted nationally.
Skilled labor remains greatest challenge:
Investment in both pay and training is a reflection of the need to retain key talent as regional respondents noted skilled labor shortage as the greatest “serious” challenge both short-term (over the next year) and long-term (over the next 5 years) for their businesses.
For over 100 years, the Employers Association of the NorthEast (EANE) has provided resources for organizations to maximize employee engagement and retention while minimizing risk. www.eane.org
The Employer Associations of America (EAA) consists of 33 regional employer associations that serve 35,000 companies and more than six million employees. www.eaahub.org.
A total of 1,417 companies, covering locations in all 50 states, were surveyed in October/November 2014 representing companies of all sizes: 1-99 employees (53%), 100-249 employees (27%), 250-499 employees (12%), 500-999 employees (4%), and 1,000+ employees (4%).
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Starting January 1, 2015, Rhode Island’s 9 percent corporate income tax rate will drop to 7 percent.
In addition, the franchise tax will be officially repealed, mandatory combined reporting will take effect, and businesses treated as C corporations will see changes in their apportionment calculations.
These and other changes are the result of legislation approved by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Lincoln D. Chafee on June 19, 2014.
Click here for details.
The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce is partnering with state education leaders to provide input on their 2015-2020 strategic plan. The Rhode Island Department of Education has received more than 4000 responses to their online survey. However, the views of the business community have been underrepresented. We need to change that. Take five minutes and complete the interactive questionnaire. Make the case that your ability to hire qualified workers has a huge impact on the overall success of your business. Then share the link with everyone in your networks: www.ride.ri.gov/Strategic-Plan-Survey.
If you are wondering how education reform stacks up as an issue for business leaders nationally, check out the Q4/2014 issue of Area Development Magazine. The cover story lists "the top 10 location factors" for site selectors. The availability of skilled labor jumped to #1, with "a growing economy and an onshoring trend fanning demand."
Flu season is officially here. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older as the first and most important step in preventing sickness. People should begin getting vaccinated soon after the flu vaccine becomes available locally.
Should you contract the cold or flu, the Chamber's RIRX prescription drug card can come in handy. In some instances, depending on your insurance plan, the drug card can save you up to 75% on FDA approved prescriptions. The card works just as well for individuals who are uninsured.
Download your free card by clicking here.
You can also visit any CVS/Pharmacy and request a card.
The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce has joined more than 500 organizations representing millions of individuals, businesses of all sizes and community development and nonprofit organizations from around the U.S. to sign on to a November 18, 2014 letter delivered to Congress urging policymakers to work together to extend, enhance or make permanent expired and expiring tax provisions that are critically important to U.S. jobs and the broader economy.
At least 50 tax provisions expired at the end of 2013 or are scheduled to expire in 2014.
UPDATE: The Senate voted 76-16 on December 16 to approve a one-year retroactive extension of most – but not all – of the temporary tax deductions, credits, and incentives that expired at the end of last year.
The approved extenders bill, which cleared the House of Representatives on December 3, now heads to the White House for President Obama’s signature. Obama is expected to sign the bill.
To see which provisions are extended and which provisions are not renewed, click here.
Click here to view the letter and list of signatories. Join the discussion on Twitter at #GridlockOrGrowth.
President and Chief Executive Officer at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Peter Andruszkiewicz Takes Helm as Board Chair at Chamber’s 2014 Annual Meeting
Annual Meeting also featured keynote by Citizens Financial Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Van Saun
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (November 24, 2014) – Peter Andruszkiewicz, president and chief executive officer at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI), assumed the role of the new chairman of the Board of Directors of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting held November 24 at the Rhode Island Convention Center. Andruszkiewicz succeeds outgoing chairman Jon Duffy, president of Duffy & Shanley.
“I look forward to taking on this leadership role within the Chamber, and I welcome the opportunity that it presents,” said Andruszkiewicz. “Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island has been a member of the Chamber for 54 years. In this new role I am committed to supporting our state’s continued growth as a wonderful place to do business and live—values that are shared by the Chamber and by BCBSRI.”
“In his three years as chair, Jon has helped to guide the Chamber in our efforts to advocate for growing and protecting the business community in Rhode Island. His leadership allowed us to continue to serve our members and our community intelligently, graciously, and enthusiastically, while taking on new projects and collaborating with new and unexpected partners,” said Laurie White, president of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce.
Laurie White continued, “The Chamber is honored and excited to have Peter as our new board chair. His wealth of experience in business and healthcare and his leadership, vision, and passion for making Rhode Island a great place for people and businesses to thrive is a tremendous asset to us.”
Andruszkiewicz has more than 30 years of experience in healthcare and healthcare financing. He also previously served on the board of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and has been a member of the Greater Providence Chamber’s board for the past three years.
Prior to joining BCBSRI in May 2011, Andruszkiewicz served as President of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia, where he spent three years successfully leading operations for that state’s largest nonprofit health plan. His experience also includes leadership roles at CIGNA HealthCare and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of the National Capitol Area (now CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield).
A native of Salem, Massachusetts, Andruszkiewicz graduated from Springfield College in his home state. In addition to serving as chairman of the Board of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, he gives back to the community as a trustee of the Greater Providence YMCA, and as a board member of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council (RIPEC), the Rhode Island Quality Institute and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
Citizens Financial Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Van Saun headlined the Annual Meeting with a keynote address. Van Saun shared his perspective on how financial institutions can continue to make meaningful contributions to economic growth and vitality in the communities they serve and to gain the confidence of their customers and stakeholders. He also discussed Citizens’ recent IPO as well as the bank’s impact on and commitment to Rhode Island and the region.
“We’re deeply committed to supporting this state’s economic growth and vitality. We’ve been with you since 1827, and we look forward to many great years ahead,” said Van Saun.
Additionally, the evening included remarks by Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello, President of the Senate M. Teresa Paiva Weed, Providence Mayor-elect Jorge Elorza, and Bernie Szachara, interim publisher of The Providence Journal and senior vice-president for publishing for GateHouse Media.
Citizens Financial Group and UnitedHealthcare were the Presenting Sponsors of the event.
For media coverage and photos of the 2014 Annual Meeting, click on the links below:
July 18, 2014 -- At the launch of the Providence Polaroid Project, Mayor Taveras accepted the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ award to Providence as one of four U.S. cities recognized with a 2014 Outstanding Achievement Award in City Livability.
According to the Providence Business News, Taveras accepted the award at the site that’s part of the reason the city earned the recognition – the PopUp Providence project, a three-year-long urban space initiative launched by the city’s department of planning and development in fall 2013. The goal of the project is to enliven neighborhoods and engage residents with interactive artistic and cultural projects.
Three others awards for outstanding achievement in livability went to Arlington, Texas; Phoenix and Mesa, Ariz.; and Philadelphia.
To learn more about the award, visit the Providence Business News.
PROVIDENCE, RI (July 9, 2014) -- The Providence Journal today published a cover story highlighting a new report issued by the Rhode Island Defense Economy Planning Commission.
In the article, Edinaldo Tebaldi, an economics professor at Bryant University and author of the report, outlined some of its findings, including:
The 32,993 jobs includes 15,760 direct jobs at defense employers and 17,233 spinoff jobs at suppliers and other employers who support defense companies and their workers.
The $3.7 billion in the state’s economy, about 7 percent of the state’s entire economic activity, includes $2.2 billion in direct activity and $1.5 billion in spinoff activity.
The $1.9 billion in wages includes $1.1 billion for workers employed directly in the defense industry and $800 million for workers at other companies.
The $105 million in state taxes includes $47 million in personal income taxes and $58 million in other taxes.
For every 100 jobs created at private defense contractors, another 152 jobs are created in other sectors of the state’s economy.
Complete coverage of the report can be found at The Providence Journal.
PROVIDENCE, RI (June 23, 2014) -- The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation recently released its 2014 Best And Worst States For The New Economy Report. Moving up four spots, Rhode Island ranked an impressive 19th, and was listed as one of the top five movers in a number of categories, including high-tech jobs, clean energy, workforce education, fast-growing firms, and high-wage services.
Rhode Island also ranked in the top ten for two categories: non-industry investment in R&D and the digital economy.
For more information, the complete report can be found at: ITIF.org
In an effort to accelerate innovation in Rhode Island and help local entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses compete for approximately $2.5 billion in available annual federal funding from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), U.S. Senator Jack Reed and the Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC) will host a free forum and workshop on Friday, June 27, 2014, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., at Commerce RI.
The SBIR/STTR programs provide critical and significant sources of early-stage research and development funding to companies developing cutting-edge technologies. These programs are highly competitive, and the grant and contract preparation and submission process can be complicated for first-time applicants.
At this workshop, program managers from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Defense (DOD) will participate in an advanced discussion on tips and strategies for working with federal agencies to develop winning proposals. The program will include time for questions and information on the Innovate RI Small Business Fund (IRISBF), which provides grants to help defray the cost of applying for SBIR/STTR awards and matching grants to Phase I recipients.
Register early to reserve your spot as space is limited.
The elements of the digital marketing campaign include drawing attention to Greater Rhode Island as a place where the mighty forces of "grit and intellect intersect." Potential investors and job creators are encouraged to get immersed in a formidable talent base of world-class designers, artists and "artrepreneurs." Copy points reinforce that academic researchers, medical scientists and fabricators, alike, know that Rhode Island is the perfect place to grow and innovate.
Key words aimed at generating clicks to the website highlight Rhode Island's industry strengths in design, medical research, food innovation, brain science, marine technology and consumer products. Check it out and bone up on why growing a business in Rhode Island makes a ton of sense.
Meanwhile, the 195 Redevelopment District Commission has produced a compelling website and developer's tool box to generate interest in the 21 parcels of land freed up by the relocation of the interstate highway. The first round of proposals is due on May 1. The accompanying image is a rendering of the open space and river walk planned to connect the east and wide sides of the LINK.
Scott Donnelly, president and CEO of Providence-based Textron will deliver the Chamber's annual economic outlook luncheon address on May 1st in conjunction with "The Garage."
Textron started as a small textile company in 1923, when 27-year-old Royal Little founded the Special Yarns Corporation in Boston, Massachusetts. Revenues that first year were just $75,000. Today that company has grown into a $13 billion company with more than 33,000 employees in 25 countries. It is known for producing some of the most sophisticated and leading technology products in the world and includes globally recognized brands such as Cessna Aircraft, Bell Helicopter, Beechcraft and E-Z-GO.
Scott Donnelly joined Textron after a 19-year career at General Electric, most recently as president and CEO of its aviation unit. Consistent with the theme of “The Garage,” where the power of a single idea can ultimately transform the world, Donnelly will be discussing the importance of product innovation at Textron businesses today.
To register for the Economic Outlook Luncheon, click here.
Efforts to transform Downtown Providence into one of America's great urban centers are paying off. Livability.com is highlighting the area as a place that is attracting new residents and businesses. The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with a number of civic organizations including the Providence Foundation and the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy, has been aggressively championing the Providence experience.
Recently, the Chamber launched a special marketing website targeting entrepreneurial investment, noting that Providence is an internationally known center for art, design and creativity. In addition, the community has come together to feature the positive attributes of Greater Rhode Island as an ideal location for corporate relocation, particularly given our enviable location along the lucrative northeast corridor. "Think Bigger" is the reinforcing theme of both marketing efforts.
See the latest news about #ourpvd.
Be an advocate for our government affairs priorities in 2014. Your activism can make a difference. Familiarize yourself with the issues. Read what our elected officials have to say about the business community's priorities. Understand the political complexities of the 2014 legislative environment under Speaker Mattiello.
To further amplify the voice of business, the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce is working with a broad coalition of business organizations to push a growth agenda. Relevant issues include taxes, public education, regulatory schemes and workforce development.
New Economic Development Website Launches:
Greater Rhode Island: Think Bigger
A composite listing of more than 1,000 data points critical to positioning Rhode Island as the ideal spot for new and expanding businesses
11.26.13 PROVIDENCE, R.I. – This morning, the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Foundation of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, launched a new, interactive economic development website quantifying why Rhode Island is the ideal choice for business decision makers looking to relocate, start-up or expand. Pulling together more than 1,000 distinct data points, the site, “Greater Rhode Island: Think Bigger,” provides a one-stop shop for the critical information needed by business executives as they consider where in the Northeast to grow their business. The website also highlights growth companies and industries that have already taken advantage of the unique competitive advantage offered by Rhode Island.
“Greater Rhode Island: Think Bigger” provides local businesses, industry leaders, and prospective companies access to unfiltered data, based on standards developed by the International Economic Development Council, on Rhode Island’s demographics, higher education, health care systems, employers, government, payroll costs and much more. It also highlights specific data and infographics that reinforce Rhode Island's unique strengths in the dynamic and innovative Northeast market. For instance, comparing states in the Northeast:
“Never before has greater Rhode Island put forth its unique and compelling assets in one interactive site,” said Laurie White, president of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. “Situated along one of the most powerful economic corridors in the world, with top education and research facilities, hospitals, start-ups and established businesses, Rhode Island allows for and cultivates the kind of collaboration that breeds innovative success stories.”
“The Economic Development Foundation of Rhode Island is honored to be part of this collaborative effort to position the Rhode Island product in the northeast market. The Greater RI website provides the baseline information and strategic messaging necessary to be competitive in promoting private investment and job creation. We look forward to building on this collaboration. Working together, Rhode Island will be successful,” said Scott Gibbs, president of the Economic Development Foundation of Rhode Island.
“This comprehensive website provides the data and information to help businesses looking to expand in the Northeast make an informed decision and consider Rhode Island,” said Marcel A. Valois Executive Director of the RIEDC. “Rhode Island has many economic assets and we must collaborate and work in partnerships to achieve long-term sustainable economic growth that will benefit all Rhode Islanders.”
“Atlas is honored to be working with the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Foundation of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation as a long term partner in the success of its website, www.GreaterRI.com. This new website, armed with the latest technology and thousands of distinct data points, will be key to converting expanding and relocating companies inside and outside of Rhode Island from casual browsers to real prospects for the state and its community partners. We are also pleased that GreaterRI.com also provides a platform for the cities, towns and regions to gain access to expanding and relocating businesses, and to the tools they can use to market their own communities and business locations. It is in this spirit of collaboration and regionalism that we are excited to introduce GreaterRI.com to Rhode Island, and the world,” said Ben Wright, CEO of Atlas Advertising, one of the nation’s foremost leaders in economic development marketing.
“Greater Rhode Island: Think Bigger” is a public/private partnership based on nine months of research guided by the institutional knowledge of corporate relocation and site selection industry experts. It is the next step in Rhode Island's effort to showcase continuing industry successes in new and innovative fields such as brain science, medical advances, and food science, and make it easier for businesses to better understand why Rhode Island is the ideal place for their company.
The Centers for Disease Control reports that Americans spend more on prescription drugs than people in any other country: some $45 billion in out-of-pocket dollars in the last year alone. With that in mind, the Rhode Island Rx Card is reminding those who aren’t insured or who take prescription drugs that aren’t covered by their health insurance plans, can use the Rhode Island Rx Card to obtain discounts of up to 80 percent off the retail price for brand and generic FDA-approved medications.
The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce and Rhode Island Medical Society have been working closely with Rhode Island Rx Card to distribute free discount prescription cards to all residents. The goal of the partnership is to provide additional card distribution channels and create awareness so that all residents will have access to this free statewide prescription assistance program. Cards are also available at United Way, Goodwill, Cranston Family Center, Newport Family Center and Westerly Public Schools.
Rhode Island Rx Card was launched to help the uninsured and underinsured residents afford their prescription medications. The program can also be used by people that have health insurance coverage with no prescription benefits, which is common in many health savings accounts (HSA) and high deductible health plans.
"With health care cost containment among the most pressing issues for business leaders, the Chamber is pleased to be able to partner with United Networks of America to deliver an innovative and money-saving solution,” said Laurie White, president of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce.
Another unique component of the program is their preferred pharmacy option. Rhode Island Rx Card has chosen CVS/pharmacy as their preferred pharmacy so that residents who don’t have access to a computer and can’t obtain a hard card, can visit any CVS/pharmacy to have their prescriptions processed through Rhode Island Rx Card. Residents can simply reference “Rhode Island Rx Card” to have their prescription processed through the program. Rhode Island Rx Card is accepted at over 56,000 participating regional and national pharmacies.
“We strongly believe that this is an easy and innovative way to help the residents of Rhode Island find affordable prescription options,” states Program Director, Alix Cousins.
Rhode Island Rx Card has helped residents save over $3 million since its inception in March 2009. You can help by encouraging everyone to print a free Rhode Island Rx Card at www.RIRX.com. Rhode Island Rx Card is also available as an app for iPhone and Android. You can search “Free Rx iCard” in the app store. Anyone who is interested in ordering free cards for their business or organization can email Alix Cousins, Program Director, at email@example.com
Despite the balmy Fall weather, flu season is fast approaching. The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce is pleased to sponsor the free RIRX prescription drug card in connection with United Networks of America. Be sure to print your pre-activated card today so you are not left paying more than you need to for your medications. Tamiflu is the number one prescribed drug to treat the flu, but the downside is that it's not covered by most health insurance providers. Use the card. Don't pay full price. Take care of your employees, too. Let us know if your company would like to receive a plentiful supply of RIRX cards. Distribute them as part of your workplace wellness program. Employee health and productivity are good things!
The conversation continued at The Garage 2013, focusing on the industry intersections of design, manufacturing and connectivity. Rhode Island School of Design hosted the second iteration of the "mash-up" which drew a wide cross section of innovators as well as those seeking to be inspired by the power of creative expression.
Connie Howes, chair of Innovation Providence, kicked off the program by sharing examples of the knowledge economy's growing impact. Three grant recipients of Innovation Providence awards talked about how the early stage money leveraged considerable downstream investment. Chamber Chair Jon Duffy drew attention to the burgeoning entrepreneurial environment locally and gave special recognition to the organizers of the Founders League.
RISD President John Maeda introduced a panel discussion on the art of critical making and talked about the need to inspire confident and creative thinkers who are comfortable navigating through uncertainty and ambiguity. These will be the change agents and economic drivers, he said. Jose Escobar, head of global innovation at Verizon, talked about the confluence of communications technology and design and invited the crowd to understand the breadth of resources available at the company's Innovation Center in Waltham.
The conversation turned electric when serial entrepreneur Angus Davis invited ten company founders to come on stage with him, one at a time, to talk about their business and the forces driving it today. Companies selected to participate included DCI, HealthID, Jamie Oliver at Home, Lee Allen Eyewear, Focal Upright Furniture, NanoSteel, R & D Technologies, Mojo Tech, Wear Asprin and Sproutel.
The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce extends a special thank you to our sponsors: Bank of America, The Beacon Mutual Insurance Company, RISD, Verizon, Partridge Snow & Hahn, and the RIRX prescription drug card.
What do you think is Rhode Island’s greatest asset?
Our partners at the Rhode Island Foundation want to know!
The Chamber was excited to be part of the official launch of the "Rhode Island: It’s All In Our Backyard" campaign! The effort, which grew out of last year’s "Make it Happen" forum, is a way for everyone to celebrate Rhode Island as a vibrant, stimulating place to work and live.
The goal is to help Rhode Islanders connect with the state’s rich resources, and remind us of all our great assets: global industry and cutting-edge innovation, thriving entrepreneurship and world-class universities, breathtaking landscapes and a major arts scene.
How can you get involved? Visit www.ourbackyardri.com to tell your favorite Rhode Island story, post a “backyard” photo on Instagram, or follow the movement on Twitter using #OurBackyardRI.
Take a look back at The Garage 2013! Using interviews, presentation footage and networking shots, we have captured the enthusiasm and energy of this first ever private sector led economic development event.
Thank you to the team at Cox Business for helping to capture individual growth experiences at the Cox Media Center and throughout the course of the day!
We are already working on the next installment of this exciting event. Watch in the coming weeks for information on when and where we will bring Rhode Island’s growth companies together again for another mash-up of compelling, relevant and inspiring storytelling around positive economic activity in Rhode Island.
House leadership has unveiled, and passed its spending blueprint for FY 2014. We have begun to study the $8.2 billion budget proposal and its potential impact on Rhode Island businesses and their employees. Our initial dive has found quite a few areas of promise as well as a few concerns. We will continue to share more insight in the days ahead as more details emerge.
An initial review:
The full House is scheduled to hear, and approve, the budget proposal next Tuesday, June 25. A Senate vote is expected to take place shortly after that.
We will activate CapWiz in the coming days to generate key messages from our membership on our entire portfolio of legislative priorities.
There has been a flurry of activity at the Rhode Island State House as members of the General Assembly work to wrap up the 2013 legislative session by tomorrow,
But you can still have an impact! Here are a few key issues we are asking you to take action on today!
Take Action: Expansion of Temporary Disability Insurance
A a proposed expansion of the Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) – which would allow workers to receive paid leave to act as a temporary caregiver -- is still very much a threat. If you have not done so already, please contact your State Representative TODAY and let them know that enacting this legislation sends the wrong message regarding improving Rhode Island’s business climate.
Rhode Island is one of only a handful of states that offers Temporary Disability Insurance to workers. Expanding this program will certainly result in an increased tax burden for the state’s workforce, in addition to requiring employers to sustain absenteeism and unmet labor needs – all during a time when the state’s unemployment rate remains one of the highest in the nation.
Take Action: Definition of an Independent Contractor
If this legislation passes, employers will be faced with applying two different, inconsistent standards to determine whether a particular worker can lawfully be treated as an independent contractor – the IRS guidelines for federal withholding and this new, state specific standard, for state withholding and employment security. It truly will be a trap for unsuspecting employers.
Take Action: Biweekly Pay
Rhode Island is one of very few states to require its private businesses to pay hourly workers on a weekly basis. Urge RI lawmakers to permit business to pay employees biweekly.
Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce Creates Entrepreneur Web Portal
www.entrepreneurprovidenceri.com showcases RI as the hottest start-up community in the Greater Boston Region
Rhode Island and Providence have a new tool for unleashing and bolstering entrepreneurial potential – www.entrepreneurprovidenceri.com.
The first of its kind web portal in the state, created and populated by the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, the site is designed specifically to support the development of high growth firms by providing key information on resources, educational opportunities, funding sources, and overall connectivity in and around Providence. Deep with data about Rhode Island, its idea makers, its knowledge assets and its entrepreneurial ecosystem, the site serves as an important connection point for the individuals, organizations and institutions driving knowledge development locally.
Since launching in May, the site has attracted more than 1,600 unique visitors (as of October 20, 2013), with the most popular content being "incubator spaces" and the "guest blogging" feature. A daily social media news feed gives visitors an up to the minute pulse on the region. We also post fun success stories from local entrepreneurs. As an example, this week we featured the story of Sproutel founder Hannah Chung and her big day with iconic investor Warren Buffett. Hannah and Jerry the Bear won Fortune's Perfect Pitch contest.
“Entrepreneurs have a great ability to see new, expanding and innovative markets, create jobs, contribute to the tax base,” said Chamber President Laurie White. “We see a real value in innovative ideas and want to make sure that those who work to create successful businesses around those ideas have the tools and knowledge to be successful. This site is the private sector investing in and supporting economic development around entrepreneurship.”
The site is also a critical tool in expanding Rhode Island’s innovation market. Only 50 miles south of Boston, Providence is fast becoming an increasingly integral part of the Greater Boston regional economy. Many local entrepreneurs talk about Providence being the "hottest start-up community in the Greater Boston region," where launching a venture can be faster and easier because of the state’s small size, networks and expertise.
“Rhode Island, and Providence, has an entrepreneurial mindset. We need to shout this idea from the rooftops,” said Chamber President Laurie White. “I truly believe this site will create a stickiness that will bring more idea makers to our door.”
More than 50 growth companies shared optimism and inspiration to hundreds of business professionals at The Garage. The first ever “mash-up” of ideas and innovation held at the Rhode Island Convention Center highlighted sectors of the Rhode Island economy that are growing and the people that are driving that growth.
With a combination of start-ups, emerging companies and established business both participating and attending, the event served to highlight the vibrant economic activity taking place in Rhode Island.
Thank you to all that participated, attended and supported this private-sector led economic development event.
We will work to keep this important conversation going. Watch in the weeks ahead as we share some of the positive stories, collaborations and new ideas to come out of The Garage.
If you have a positive story to share from the day's events, or a growth story you think is important to tell, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you been to www.thegarageri.com?
The new site, designed and powered by the ADK Group, provides real time information on all things happening at The Garage, a private sector led event that will take over the Rhode Island Convention Center on May 14th. From a schedule of events, to a list of participants, and stories of companies who will be highlighted during the event… the site is designed not only to provide visitors with a snapshot of what is happening but serve as a platform for sharing the knowledge, expertise and growth that exists in the Rhode Island business community.
What can you find at www.thegarageri.com?
Schedule of Events
A full listing of what is happening; where it is happening and how participants can register
Information about the key industry sectors to be highlighted at this event including – Health and Wellness; Lifescience and Medtech; and Consumer Products
Meet some of the growth companies who will share their stories on May 14.
See a full list of participating companies – this includes panelists, presenters, sponsors and attendees. Is your company on that list?
Secure your place!
Breaking news about presenters, topics and guests!
Recognition of local companies that have made an investment in the event.
Tell us your growth story!
Drawing its name from the start-up ingenuity in Silicon Valley that led to the creation of companies like Apple, Google and others, The Garage will be the place where the private sector will create a mash-up of all good things happening in the local business community. Revenue generating companies will share their success stories and best practices in an effort to inspire, cross-pollinate and grow key economic sectors. Bank of America serves as the event’s Presenting Sponsor.
Be sure to follow the conversation on social media channels as well. Like The Garage on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ThegarageRI Follow The Garage on Twitter - @thegarage13
The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce is calling on Rhode Island growth companies to tell their story at The Garage.
Drawing its name from the start-up ingenuity in Silicon Valley that led to the creation of companies like Apple, Google and others, The Garage will be the place where the private sector will create a mash-up of all good things happening in the local business community.
Revenue generating companies will share their success stories and best practices in an effort to inspire, cross-pollinate and grow key economic sectors. This first event, which will take place on Tuesday, May 14 at the Rhode Island Convention Center, will focus on the key industries of consumer products, health care, food, nutrition, and wellness.
“The event is all about storytelling,” said Laurie White, president of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. “We want to showcase companies here in Rhode Island where innovation is a central strategy, where management is committed to expansion and where financing aligns with a business plan.”
The half day event will begin with the Economic Outlook Luncheon, and will be followed by five panel discussions, the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition and then culminating with a networking reception.
For more information visit www.thegarageri.com
Tonight, I would like to put forth a new idea -- a big idea -- that the Senate can get behind, get excited about, and get others excited about. We have talked for more than a year now about the development of a joint nursing education building in the Knowledge District hosted by the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College. Well, I challenge all of us to think even bigger and more inclusively.
Let’s get behind the creation of an all-encompassing Health Sciences Facility. In addition to the medical education component, think about a public/private partnership that unites growth companies, universities, colleges, hospitals, researchers, students, investors and others. Picture a sprawling campus. A place that fosters easy collaboration between and among scientists from a wide range of disciplines solving some of the most pressing medical challenges of our day.
The Health Sciences Facility could give focus to a particular area of expertise for Rhode Island--- brain science, the last frontier in modern medicine. Rhode Island is home to world-class talent across a gamut of institutions. Brown University and its affiliated hospitals in the Lifespan and Care New England systems as well as the Providence VA Medical Center are deeply immersed in research and clinical care centered on brain injuries and disorders. Each partner brings specific expertise to the forefront, including specialties in adult and pediatric psychiatry, neurology, neurosurgery, diagnostic radiology, neurotechnology and neuroregeneration. The University of Rhode Island’s College of Pharmacy brings similar nationally-recognized talent in drug therapy to complement the intellectual capacity.
Here’s the vision: Let’s brand Rhode Island as a leader in neuroscience and attract attention locally, regionally and nationally. The Chamber is convinced that realizing this vision would create an academic environment that would be extremely attractive to new healthcare-related companies and start-ups. Brown’s particular strength in developing devices and interfaces with the brain should be a compelling draw for medical device companies. The Center of Excellence, most importantly, would improve clinical care and outcomes for patients suffering from debilitating neurological diseases and conditions.
Linking science, engineering and medicine around this opportunity would be an exciting economic development venture for Rhode Island. On a national scale, medical professionals are increasingly concerned and focused on addressing age-specific disorders in response to our aging population in the United States. Rhode Island currently ranks 4th in the nation, per capita, in terms of the percentage of elderly in our population. As a result, it is critically important for us to focus our attention on the discovery and development of new therapies aimed at slowing the progression of key neurodegenerative diseases that affect older adults, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease among others.
Brain science and brain health in Rhode Island. A national leader and a Center of Excellence in neuroscience research and clinical care. Let’s seize the opportunity, let’s invest in the opportunity.
The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce is excited to be joining with Betaspring, Brown University and the University of Rhode Island to invest in, and support the state’s latest entrepreneurial platform -- the Founders League.
Building upon programming initially launched by the Rhode Island Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Founders League will offer community, space and programming where entrepreneurs at all stages of development can find inspiration and support. The Chamber has invested $100,000 in the new venture.
“We are excited to work with this consortium to drive forward the next generation of entrepreneurship programming in Rhode Island,” says Board Chairman Jon Duffy. “This initiative is a bull’s eye in the Chamber’s strategic plan, which is centered around fueling entrepreneurial and small business growth and developing the state’s Knowledge Economy. The overwhelming support from the Board and general membership for this effort only serves to echo the mindset that startups, students and entrepreneurs are a critical part of the Rhode Island economy.”
Over the next 12-weeks, the partners will convene groups of entrepreneurs, mentors and community partners to solicit input on how the platform can be deployed to support the sustained growth of a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in Rhode Island.
Betaspring will provide leadership for the platform and a physical nexus for the activity at their 95 Chestnut Street headquarters. Beginning this fall, Betaspring will roll-out a mix of entrepreneur-centric activities, such as community co-working, educational programming and networking events, as well as oversee a planning process to establish the platform’s long-term operating plan. The process to establish an operating plan will be led by a steering committee of representatives from the partner organizations and leaders from the entrepreneur community.
Click below to read media coverage of this exciting announcement.
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President and CEO Eric Rosengren delivered a generally optimistic economic outlook for 2013 during the GPCC Policy Forum held Tuesday, January 15th at the Providence Marriott Downtown. Rosengren told that crowd of more than 100 that early 2013 is being bolstered by a stronger housing market and robust consumer spending. He expects this trend to continue, even predicting that growth will hit 3 percent in the second half of the year.
Click here to read media coverage of the event and follow the Twitter feed.
The Policy Forum was sponsored by Coastway Bank.
Rhode Island isn’t immune to the spreading nationwide flu epidemic. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, we are one of the 47 states to have a “widespread” outbreak of the contagious disease.
A recent survey conducted by Walgreens suggests that nearly 100 million workdays are lost due to the flu -- that equals approximately $7 billion per year in sick days and lost productivity. With this year’s strain effecting so many, those estimates are expected to go even higher.
And as with any emergency situation, having a contingency plan is essential.
What can you do to protect your business and employees?
Click on these links for more information about the flu outbreak and your business.
Rhode Island Department of Health - http://www.health.ri.gov/flu/about/whentoseekmedicalcare/
Center for Disease Control and Prevention - http://www.cdc.gov/flu/
Additional government information - http://www.flu.gov/#
Business planning information - http://www.flu.gov/planning-preparedness/business/#
GPCC's FREE prescription drug discount program, the RIRx Card, offers savings on numerous medications to the uninsured, under-insured and compliments the benefits offered the insured.
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Visit www.RIRX.com to download your FREE prescription drug discount card.
Rhode Island is small, yet its resources are abundant and due to its size --easily accessible. From farms to main street boutiques, reap the harvest of Rhode Island's local and independently owned businesses.
Purchasing local goods injects much needed revenue into every community statewide, with Rhode Islanders benefiting from returns on these local investments. According to the 10% Shift initiative, even redirecting 10% of typical spending can provide a valuable boost to local economies. Building community support translates into economic viability statewide where Rhode Island as a whole benefits from the profits generated by locally owned businesses.
Buy Local RI’s mission is to build a strong economy and vibrant community by promoting locally owned independent businesses, strengthening our state’s merchant and commercial associations, and providing a unified public resource where businesses and individuals can find and connect to local products and services.
Farm Fresh RI, connects Rhode Islanders to fresh and locally grown agricultural products at farmers markets and restaurants across the state.
Edible Rhody profiles the growing community of local establishments serving the bounty from Rhode Island farms and fisheries.
Many Rhode Island communities offer regular farmers’ markets and local buying initiatives to motivate local commerce. The impact of these initiatives multiplies throughout the state, from the local producers, to the local vendors, and finally to Main Streets within every community.