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MA, RI Govs Announce Strategies for State Innovation Economies

November 19, 2015

Governors in Massachusetts and Rhode Island have released details about their plans to boost innovative businesses in their respective states. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker offered a strategic plan to guide his administration’s economic development efforts, with an emphasis placed on fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced the launch of three new incentive programs aimed at research-driven companies.

Opportunities for All: The Baker-Polito Strategy and Plan for Making Massachusetts Great Everywhere avoids specific program recommendations, for the most part, but outlines a number of areas for action to boost the statewide economy. The administration notes that Massachusetts is a nationwide leader in educational attainment and innovation-related employment, but both business formation and job growth have fallen in recent years. New policies are needed to address the growing skills gap for middle-skill jobs and growing regional inequality.

As the global economy pivots toward knowledge-intensive industries, the Baker administration perceives an opportunity for Massachusetts to leverage its advantages in a few strategic, high-tech industries. Areas of strength, as identified in the plan, include: digital health care, the Internet of Things, robotics, flexible hybrid electronics, revolutionary fibers and textiles, cybersecurity, marine technology, big data, photonics, autonomous vehicles and financial technology.

Gov. Baker’s administration identifies a number of different goals for state policies that could help boost the overall economy.  Several of these recommendations relate directly to innovation and entrepreneurship. In order to foster regional innovation, the administration recommends support for cross-cluster collaboration, particularly in industries where the state holds a competitive advantage. One means to provide this kind of support is Massachusetts’ Creative Economy Network, which funds regional creative collaborations. Similarly, the administration hopes to grow a statewide community of regional innovation districts, and plans to tap into university research centers to support regional entrepreneurs.

Download Opportunities for All: The Baker-Polito Strategy and Plan for Making Massachusetts Great Everywhere…

RI Gov. Raimondo announced a trio of new programs to link innovative businesses and research institutions to help capitalize on the R&D activity already going on in the state. Initiatives include:

  • Innovation Voucher program, which will provide businesses with fewer than 500 employees with grants of up to $50,000 to fund R&D assistance from a Rhode Island university, research center or medical center;
  • Industry Cluster Grants program, to provide grants of $75,000 to $250,000 to fund planning and organization building for industry clusters, and grants of $100,000 to $500,000 to implement cluster-strengthening efforts around R&D, tech transfer and workforce development; and,
  • Innovation Network Matching Grant program to offer technical assistance, business space and/or capital access to small businesses in strategic, high-tech fields.

Read the Rhode Island announcement..

Massachusetts, Rhode Islandstate tbed, strategic plan