In October 2011, state and federal officials announced a $13.1 million federal commitment to the R.I. Economic Development Corporation’s Small Business Loan Fund (about $2.1 million), startup accelerator Betaspring ($2 million) and the Slater Technology Fund ($9 million).
The $13.1 million was to be deployed in three tranches through the EDC, with the next tranche delivered once 80 percent of the previous installment had been used. The SBLF, unable to loan out its portion of the federal money from the first tranche, advanced some of its unused funding to Betaspring and Slater to unlock the second round of capital. But the process has ground to a halt.
It seems the EDC has not even applied for the second round of funding. Meanwhile, Slater is stuck without the promised capital, which it has earmarked for companies that will put it to good use, growing the state’s economy.
The EDC needs to do what it takes to deliver the federal money that was promised to Slater, so that at least someone will be investing in Rhode Island. •