Earlier this week, the board of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation approved a formal private-public partnership with the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, aiming to attract out-of-state tech companies to downtown Providence. Focusing on the 600 acre Knowledge District, the partnership will showcase the city’s concentration of creative talent, ‘eds & meds’ assets, and high-tech entrepreneurs who already call Providence home.
According to Janet Raymond, the Chamber’s Senior Vice President of Economic Development and Operations, the effort began several years ago when the Chamber hired AngelouEconomics to develop a strategic marketing and business attraction plan for the region. Angelou’s study revealed that Providence just ‘wasn’t in the game,’ and recommended the formation of the public/private partnership. Now, the Knowledge Providence effort is a top priority for both the governor and the mayor, who want to capitalize on our tremendous assets in the area stretching from Allens Avenue north to the State House.
Last month, the Chamber board endorsed the initiative. As a first step, they launched a Knowledge Providence video produced by (add) ventures, a Providence-based advertising and marketing firm, at the annual meeting. A media strategy will follow soon.
Janet has said that in order to be successful, partners must proactively target companies that would benefit from locating in the Knowledge District near our universities, hospitals, and like-minded businesses. Industry leaders will serve as board members of the new entity, and they’ll tap into their own networks to draw new job opportunities to the area in the life sciences, health care, IT, digital media, engineering, and advanced manufacturing industries. The organization will also be staffed by a business attraction officer who will pitch Providence to high-tech companies throughout the country.