Collaboration of economic sectors called key to recovery

RHODE ISLAND TREASURER Gina Raimondo, was joined by Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce president Laurie White and Rhode Island Foundation president and CEO Neil Steinberg at the annual Economic Outlook Breakfast Wednesday morning.
Posted 7/18/12

EAST PROVIDENCE – Collaboration between all of the state’s economic sectors is key to its fiscal recovery, according to the officials and industry leaders who spoke at a Wednesday morning breakfast panel centered on fostering Rhode Island’s entrepreneurial success.

“The trick, if we’re going to get out this, is to come together and move forward,” said Gina Raimondo, Rhode Island General Treasurer. “I don’t believe in the us versus them view of the world.”

Raimondo was joined by Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce president Laurie White and Rhode Island Foundation president and CEO Neil Steinberg at the annual Economic Outlook Breakfast, which was sponsored by Sullivan & Company, a Providence accounting and business advisory firm.

Speaking on the belief that attracting small, start-up businesses is the best way to help rescue the state from financial distress and its dismal 11 percent unemployment rate, the panel said that government, nonprofits and private-sector employers should be working together to promote Rhode Island’s assets.

“Much more needs to be done,” White said. “We aren’t moving nearly quickly enough.”

Specifically, the panel said, more attention needs to be given to the state’s affordable real estate and proximity to other major Northeaster corridor cities.

At the same time, improvement needs to be made, they said, in the state’s infrastructure and transportation and in removing obstacles in obtaining permits and licenses as well as in attracting a wider variety of businesses.

“The entrepreneurial spirit isn’t limited to high-tech companies,” Steinberg said. “We need to put people back to work in this state. They’re going to work in a lot of different areas.”

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