The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) Board of Directors today approved the RIEDC Fiscal Year 2012 Annual Performance Report, which includes highlights so far from Fiscal Year 2013. The report outlines dozens of programs, partnerships and process improvements at the RIEDC that are helping to move the state in the right direction.
"You will see in the report that the RIEDC has refocused and realigned its priorities," said RIEDC Board Chair Governor Lincoln D. Chafee. "We are in the process of developing a comprehensive, statewide plan that lays out a clear blueprint for economic development, housing and land use in Rhode Island. We are establishing and strengthening career pathways to good, meaningful jobs for Rhode Islanders. We have expedited a review of each and every state regulation to determine which ones are most harmful to small business growth so we can clear their path."
The report outlines the concrete steps taken by the agency, under the direction of Governor Chafee, to be more responsive to the needs of Rhode Island businesses. Governor Chafee ordered an extensive review of RIEDC priorities and functions, which took place during the summer of 2012. Based on the review findings, the RIEDC has identified three goals:
- Ensure the primary mission of the agency is to help Rhode Island companies stay in business and grow, and to help promote a culture of entrepreneurship that will support the development of high-growth ventures.
- Become a more client-centric agency that will better respond to businesses and connect them to RIEDC and other statewide resources that can help them grow and succeed.
- Create, foster, and effectively manage partnerships with public and private entities to extend the range of services available to businesses through the RIEDC.
Combining these three components, the RIEDC has the opportunity to be the access point of choice for businesses seeking capital and/or technical assistance that will facilitate economic growth and job creation.
The report details the RIEDC's actions – internal and external – over the past year to align with the priorities of responsiveness to businesses, transparency and collaboration, including developing and marketing infrastructure, building and integrating partnerships, realigning and refocusing staff, auditing financing programs, and changing processes and policies. By developing these fundamentals, the agency positions itself to provide the service Rhode Island businesses need to succeed and create quality jobs for Rhode Islanders.
The approved report will now be prepared for formal submission to Governor Chafee, Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, Speaker of the House of Representatives Gordon D. Fox, and Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis.
Summary of FY 2012 highlights include:
- The RIEDC provided access to $28.5 million in capital through various financing and grant programs.
- The RIEDC played a lead role in helping Rhode Island to host the 2012 America's Cup World Series, resulting in $38.2 million in revenue to Rhode Island businesses, 345 jobs with an income of $12 million, and $2.5 million in general state tax revenue.
- The Office of Regulatory Reform made great strides with a targeted approach to systematically achieving baseline metrics, developing corrective action plans and identifying best practices.
- The Rhode Island Procurement Technical Assistance Center at the RIEDC helped more than 400 businesses obtain over $134 million in federal, state and local government contracts, directly creating or retaining 2,683 Rhode Island jobs.
- The RIEDC provided access to $49.8 million in capital through various financing and grant programs.
- Building on the success of the 2012 America's Cup event, Governor Chafee and the RIEDC successfully promoted Newport, R.I., as the only U.S. stop for the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race.
- The RIEDC joined with the Rhode Island Division of Planning to coordinate an economic data and business climate analysis as part of the state's Sustainable Communities Initiative to create a statewide economic development plan.
- The RIEDC partnered with Amica Insurance to provide customer service training to RIEDC staff to help them better assess and meet the needs of Rhode Island businesses.
- As part of Governor Chafee's ordered review of the RIEDC, RI Department of Business Regulation Bank Examiners completed a compliance review of RIEDC financing programs. The RIEDC is implementing the DBR's recommendations aimed at creating consistency and transparency.
- In February, the RIEDC's newly established Client Services Team initiated an extensive outreach program to Rhode Island businesses. As of April 26, 2013, the team has held 245 meetings with businesses.
Through these efforts, the RIEDC has refocused and re-energized itself to take on the challenge of helping Rhode Island companies stay in business and grow.