Manufacturing has strong roots in Rhode Island’s cultural and economic history - after all, we are the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. However, the manufacturing industry looks very different in Rhode Island (and across the country) today than it did in its peak due to new technologies and some relocating production overseas.
Again, there is a new focus on a manufacturing renaissance in Rhode Island for economic growth. There are many efforts to expand the advanced manufacturing industry that is budding in Rhode Island, increase capacity support for traditional manufacturers, and provide capital resources to fund R&D innovation projects in the sector.
Recently, the Rhode Island Foundation commissioned Next Street
to analyze supports available to small businesses in Rhode Island. This assessment specifically identified manufacturing as a key economic area and recommended expanding the manufacturing ecosystem to support strategic growth for new and existing manufacturers in Rhode Island.
Many associations and groups are working hard to provide support services to our manufacturers. Last week, Polaris MEP
and the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association
held their first Rhode Island Manufacturing B2B
at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick. Through our Buy Local RI
initiative, we provided some support for this event where over 50 local manufacturers exhibited their products to nearly 300 attendees. The main objective was to provide a venue for Rhode Island manufacturers to build business to business (B2B) relationships to localize their supply chains while showcasing their products. At the same time, it provided an excellent opportunity to build upon the small business supports report by collecting direct feedback from businesses on their needs.
We look forward to continuing to support Rhode Island’s manufacturers, an industry that is key to Rhode Island’s past and future.