PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island Innovation Fellows Amy Bernhardt and David Dadekian will pursue projects in the textile and food industries respectively, Rhode Island Foundation announced Wednesday.
Bernhardt’s project, Colorfast, will establish a research and manufacturing facility to design and produce digitally printed textiles.
Dadekian’s project, the Eat Drink Rhode Island Central Market, would include a public market, commercial production and processing facilities, and tourism and educational components.
A public announcement is scheduled to take place at 5:30 p.m. at the Roger Williams Park Casino.
Philanthropists Letitia and John Carter established the Innovation Fellowships in 2011, awarding two three-year, $300,000 fellowships for both 2012 and 2013. In this third round, a seven-member panel selected Bernhardt’s and Dadekian’s proposals from a field of 343, focusing on work that is pioneering and reflects leadership, vision, risk-taking, the potential to scale up and have a lasting statewide impact, Neil D. Steinberg, Rhode Island Foundation president and CEO, said.
“Digital inkjet printing of textiles is the new wave of technology in fabric production,” said Bernhardt, of Providence. “A high-end digital fabric printing facility would transform this technological exploration and creative invention into reality by producing quality goods and services that will directly benefit the Rhode Island economy.”
Dadekian, of Coventry, said his project will strengthen the burgeoning food industry in Rhode Island.
“My plan is to create a centralized culinary hub for Rhode Island, a complete business-to-business and business-to-consumer center, as well as being a destination for visitors to Rhode Island,” he said. “This hub would be integral to the way Rhode Islanders eat and create a model for wider emulation in other regions of the country.”
Steinberg said the two fellows and 10 finalists had stellar projects that made decision-making on the panel more difficult this year. But applicants showed creativity and a willingness to put in hard work, he said.
“We looked for these to be actionable,” he said of the winning projects. “They’re [worked on] over three years and some take time to ramp up. The winners and the applicants … have a passion and it’s a positive, exciting, ‘I’m-going-to-do-it-here’ passion. With most of the applicants, there’s a real sense of commitment to the state and optimism.”