NEW: RIEDC Board & Chafee Vote to Improve Climate for RI Business
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
The RIEDC Board’s subcommittees on Access to Capital and Making it Easier to Do Business have been working over the past several months with members of Rhode Island’s business community, federal, state and local officials and other public and private economic development stakeholders to develop their respective work plans. The goal was to identify the best ways to help existing Rhode Island companies or businesses looking to relocate to the state succeed and create quality jobs. Each establishes a clear, adaptable and measurable set of action steps to improve the state’s business climate and accelerate job growth.
“I have hosted a number of community business forums recently in cities and towns throughout the state, and two things I hear again and again from small business owners are the need to streamline regulations and provide greater access to capital. I am pleased that today we are taking steps toward both of those goals and continuing to make Rhode Island a better place to do business,” said Governor Chafee.
A game plan to fill existing gaps
“To succeed and create jobs, businesses need access to catalytic to accelerate growth and lifeline capital to navigate downturns. The RIEDC Board has established a game plan to fill existing gaps in business financing, especially for early-stage companies and entrepreneurs,” said J.L. “Lynn” Singleton, a member of the RIEDC Board’s Access to Capital subcommittee and President of the Providence Performing Arts Center.
“We’ve also placed a high priority on encouraging private co-investment as a complement to public investments in the growth of high-performing businesses and industries. This co-investment strategy is key to mitigating risk and safeguarding taxpayers, because it ensures that private investors and lending institutions have skin in the game too,” Singleton said.
“Effectively managing time, finances and staff resources is the life blood for any business," said Karl Wadensten, chair of the RIEDC Board’s subcommittee on Making it Easier to do Business and President of VIBCO. "A clear, predicable and reliable regulatory system is invaluable to companies because they can more easily focus their energies on increasing the flow of capital and producing better products and services instead of having to cut through layers of government red tape.”
“By working with state agencies and municipalities, the RIEDC’s Office of Regulatory Reform will help businesses better navigate the regulatory system, establish our state’s processes as the ‘best in class’ around the country and make Rhode Island’s business environment more competitive,” Wadensten said.
“With Governor Chafee’s leadership and the tremendous efforts of the RIEDC Board and our public and private economic development partners, we’re taking significant steps to address two of the critical issues businesses have consistently told us are keys to their success – access to capital and a need for a clear, predictable and reliable regulatory system,” said RIEDC executive director Keith Stokes. “The RIEDC is eager to continue working with federal, state, and municipal agencies as well as the private and non-profit sectors to implement our forward looking strategies to grow quality jobs in Rhode Island.”
The vision for the Access to Capital plan is that by defining and evaluating gaps in business financing and know-how resources, Rhode Island can create opportunity and clearer pathways to private and public co-invested capital for businesses at all stages of development to foster successful growth.
Capital to targeted businesses
The RIEDC Board set a primary goal to deploy catalytic and lifeline capital to targeted businesses through the coordinated and effective delivery of resources by using technology-based Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM) and collaborative education/referral partners to incrementally increase the percentage of qualified business leads by 10 percent and to achieve a 10:1 leverage ratio of private capital co-investment to state investment for Rhode Island’s $13.1 million share of federal State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) grant funds.
The plan for Making it Easier to do Business is focused on strengthening the RIEDC’s Office of Regulatory Reform (ORR) so it can facilitate the creation of a clear, predictable and reliable state and local regulatory system to advance Rhode Island’s economic competitiveness and free up operating capital for company investment while protecting the health, safety and quality of life for the state’s citizens.
The RIEDC Board’s primary goal is to reduce regulatory costs for small businesses by directing the ORR to establish best-practices in pilot communities to streamline processes and reduce average state and local waiting periods for building permits by 10 to 20 percent by the fourth quarter of 2012.
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