The Raimondo Administration today launched SupplyRhodeIsland.com, a one stop web portal for the SupplyRI program. Twelve institutions have signed on to the state's SupplyRI initiative, an effort to help Rhode Island's largest employers use their spending power to support local businesses. Since its March launch, the SupplyRI program has held 11 networking events with more than 190 local businesses participating.
"Small businesses are vital to the well-being of our state's economy. When our state's largest employers support local businesses, they're getting a quality product and know their spending is going directly into our local economy," said Governor Raimondo. "By shortening the supply chain, SupplyRI is strengthening the health of all of both the large and small businesses participating, and this is just the beginning."
The initiative, for example, has helped Pawtucket-based Central Paper increase business with Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).
"The program has allowed us greater reach and exposure with customers in the state," said Bruce Walker, Director of Technologies at Central Paper in Pawtucket. "For example, we had supplied RISD previously, however it had been a challenge to connect to support RISD to our full ability. We are now on a course that will allow for greater exposure and contact that can exponentially allow us to provide RISD with enhanced services and support, as well as grow business with other art, graphic and design schools. The SupplyRI program has been the spark that lit the way to the future to develop our business and this particular relationship."
"RISD is pleased to continue to be a part of this important effort to connect area anchor institutions with local suppliers," noted Dave Proulx, Rhode Island School of Design Senior Vice President of Finance & Administration. "Already we've seen a number of successes result, such as reconnecting with Central Paper at a SupplyRI event. In addition to offering competitive pricing, Central is able to provide RISD local onsite storage and same day delivery, critical services that are only possible with a local vendor. We look forward to continuing to be an active supporter and participant in SupplyRI."
In August, the Commerce Corporation hosted a SupplyRI networking event specifically for the state's food sector. The event took place at culinary incubator Hope & Main in Warren and was attended by 40 local suppliers. The afternoon consisted of a tabletop trade show, where food businesses sampled products grown or processed in Rhode Island. This was followed by a networking session between suppliers and R.I. based buyers.
"The SupplyRI program is connecting small businesses with our state's valued anchor institutions and is strengthening our local supply chain," said Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. "Initial feedback from companies small and large has been positive – because they realize the mutual benefit of these partnerships. We are pleased with the progress so far, and look forward to even more successes in the future."
Governor Raimondo announced the SupplyRI initiative in her 2018 State of the State address and it was funded in her FY19 budget. To date, 12 institutions have signed on as anchors in the effort. The Commerce Corporation is creating a comprehensive database of local suppliers and will provide support services for employers and suppliers, including networking events and information sessions on procurement. Local contractors and suppliers can sign up for information and alerts about these services at www.supplyrhodeisland.com or by calling 401-278-9100.
According to research conducted for the Executive Office of Commerce, if the state's colleges, universities and hospitals shifted just two percent of their contracts to companies based in Rhode Island, it could add more than $50 million to the state's economy each year and create hundreds of new jobs. Approximately 60 percent of all state procurement dollars are awarded to companies with a local Rhode Island presence. Governor Raimondo set a goal to increase the amount of local buying the state does by 10 percent over the next three years.