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R.I. Foundation, RIEDC Announce Private Sector Partnership to Develop State Economy Improvement Plan

The Rhode Island Foundation and the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) announced a partnership to seek input from business leaders to build an action-oriented blueprint for improving the state's economy.

The foundation and the RIEDC will bring together representatives from eight industry sectors in order to develop action steps as well as inform and contribute to the Rhode Island Division of Planning's RhodeMap RI economic development planning process.

A series of workshops will focus on facilitating private-sector-led discussions about the market opportunities for the sectors that were identified in the economic development data analysis conducted earlier this year by Fourth Economy Consulting for RhodeMap RI, as well as ideas generated through the foundation's Make It Happen RI initiative.

"This collaboration between the Rhode Island Foundation and RIEDC will enhance contributions by the business community to the RhodeMap RI process, which is developing a comprehensive and forward-looking economic development plan for the State," Governor Lincoln D. Chafee said. "RhodeMap RI is the State's big-picture initiative to strengthen our economy, create vibrant neighborhoods, and prepare for future growth."

The foundation is providing $75,000 to support the work through its Civic Leadership Fund.

Earlier this year, the foundation also committed $1 million above its normal grantmaking to fund 18 projects stemming from Make It Happen RI, which brought together more than 300 business and community leaders to brainstorm ways to jumpstart the state's economy. The work includes producing university-generated economic data for state policymakers and streamlining the process for obtaining state building and fire permits. The full list of projects is posted at http://bit.ly/189lPQi.

"From the moment Make It Happen RI kicked off, we've had great results by bringing people together to get things done. We'll be listening hard to what these business leaders have to say and using their input to move Rhode Island forward now," said Neil D. Steinberg, the foundation's president and CEO.

"Rhode Island's unique size creates opportunities within our borders to expand and intersect business growth," said Marcel A. Valois, executive director of the RIEDC. "There's so much happening in the state, and this is an opportunity for us to bring together private business leaders in an initiative that will provide constructive input to the work being done by RhodeMap RI."

"By bringing together business leaders from across Rhode Island, we will be strengthening the already robust public engagement we are doing through RhodeMap RI," said Kevin Flynn, associate director of the Rhode Island Division of Planning. "What we learn will be critical to the creation of an action-oriented state economic development plan."

"Our team is extremely excited about building on our work in Rhode Island. The publication in February of 'Economy RI: Economic Development Analysis and Assessment', was an important milestone, and we're looking forward to the opportunity to reengage as the RhodeMap RI process continues," said Rich Overmoyer, president and CEO of Fourth Economy Consulting. "We are particularly enthusiastic about the opportunity to build on thoughts collected during our interviews and analysis of strategy documents like Make it Happen RI and begin to further delve into market opportunities and cluster modeling."

Beginning this fall, and through the end of 2013, business leaders will join together to further discuss and develop actions steps for the various intersections where Rhode Island industries meet. The industry intersections have been identified by stakeholders over the past several months. Each area identified intersects in some way with another industry, which has the opportunity to further develop economic growth with existing Rhode Island businesses and resources.

• Arts/Culture/Creative Sector • Biotechnology/Medical/Public Health Sector • Tourism/Hospitality/Visitor Sector • Finance/Insurance/Real Estate/Corporate Sector • Technology/Digital/Software Sector • Manufacturing/Design/Makers Sector • Logistics/Connectivity Sector • Agriculture/Aquaculture Sector

About the Rhode Island Foundation The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. In 2012, the foundation made grants of more than $30.4 million to organizations addressing Rhode Island's most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities. Through leadership, fundraising and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the foundation is helping our state reach its true potential. For more information, visit www.rifoundation.org.

About Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation is the full service, official economic development organization for the state of Rhode Island. A quasi-public agency, RIEDC's mission is to work with public, private and non-profit partners to create the conditions for businesses in all sectors to thrive and to improve the quality of life for our citizens by promoting the state's long-term economic health and prosperity. For more information, visit www.riedc.com.

About RhodeMap RI RhodeMap RI is a coordinated and forward-looking effort led by the state to make Rhode Island a better place to live and work by mobilizing state and community assets in a whole new way. Through RhodeMap RI, the state seeks to strengthen our economy, meet current and future housing needs, and plan for future growth through the development of an integrated plan that will also include strategies for transportation, land use, and environmental protection. For more information, visit http://rhodemapri.org/.

Related links

Department or agency: RI Commerce Corporation

Online: http://www.edc.ri.gov/

Release date: 09-23-2013

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