Last week’s annual meeting of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce provided three pieces of welcome news amidst the yearly program of recognition and speeches.
The least-specific news tidbit was the announcement that Brown University, Lifespan and Care New England were in talks to consolidate their research platforms. For most of the last decade, collaboration rightly has been trumpeted as the key to Rhode Island competing on the global stage.
Second on the list was the announcement of the formation of the Food Innovation Nexus, supported by Johnson & Wales University and designed to help further knowledge about the healthy properties of food as well as to help startup enterprises in the field get going.
But the biggest news for the 740 attendees at the Chamber event was the unveiling of a new website, greaterri.com, which is a joint venture of the Chamber, the R.I. Economic Development Corporation and the Economic Development Foundation.
The website is a treasure trove of data useful to anyone trying to better understand Rhode Island with an eye to investing, expanding or moving a business here, and amazingly, it is the only up-to-date repository of such data, although navigating the site can be a challenge at first.
GreaterRI.com is an important effort and a good start, but the stakeholders – meaning the entire business community as well as the public sector – must stay vigilant in making sure it is kept fresh and accurate over time. •