At the end of every month, we recap the biggest tech and startup happenings in Rhode Island. We have an archive of past roundups here. To get this info weekly (Tuesday afternoons, to be exact), sign up for the Rhode Island Inno Beat newsletter.
Let’s take a look.
- The Providence Journal reported that Gov. Gina Raimondo’s latest budget includes a new $1.3 million tax credit for “early stage” companies or those “substantially increasing its investment in research and development.” The tax credits would be worth 22.5 percent of the cost of that new research up to $250,000 per company. Current law provides a 5 percent credit for research costs, but many technology startups generate little in the way of profits or tax liability and don’t benefit. By being able to sell the credits to more mature companies, the Raimondo administration hopes to make it much more valuable for early-stage ventures.
- Inspire Environmental, a Middletown firm specializing in environmental assessments and seafloor mapping, will relocate to the new Innovate Newport business incubator expected to open this winter, Providence Business News reported. The firm will be the largest tenant at the Innovate Newport incubator, occupying about 4,350 square feet on the building’s second floor. The $7 million-plus construction project involves converting the former Sheffield School on Broadway into an office space and amenities for small companies, startups and entrepreneurs. The project is spearheaded by the City of Newport and the Newport County Chamber of Commerce, which also is relocating to the incubator site. Towerhill Associates will be another tenant.
- Gov. Raimondo and University of Rhode Island President David Dooley debuted three Rhode Island Innovation campuses, which together represent the initiative’s first round of projects. The trio of campuses includes the University of Rhode Island and Arizona State University Innovation Hub, the Rhode Island “iHub” and Rhode Island Agricultural Innovation & Entrepreneurship Campus. The private investment in the URI-affiliated projects is expected to top $122 million, a figure that is 10 times the state’s investment.
- CVS Health will spend $100 million over the next five years to support community health programs following its roughly $70 billion acquisition of health insurer Aetna, according to CNBC. The initiative, dubbed “Building Healthier Communities,” seeks to improve access to affordable health care, manage health challenges like chronic conditions and opioids and partner with communities. The bulk of the funding will come from the CVS Health Foundation and Aetna Foundation, with the rest coming from the company.
- The entity formerly known as MedMates has rebranded. Now known as Rhode Island Bio, the 2011-born group still works to coalesce the life science industry throughout southeastern New England.`Additionally, Rhode Island Bio has become the official affiliate of Biotechnology Innovation Organization, and will “work to secure resources for the Rhode Island life sciences community and provide its members with exclusive access to events, materials and supplies, workspaces, growth partners and more.”
- Our deep dive showed how Ocean State Job Lot, one of Rhode Island’s largest employers has survived for more than 40 years using one consistent business model: Finding the best deals on merchandise and then passing the savings to the customer. Also of note, the national retailer has developed a new website and is even considering ecommerce.
- Blue tech champion SeaAhead announced it will be establishing a hub at the Cambridge Innovation Center next month. SeaAhead catalyzes the intersection of oceans, innovation and sustainability.” The entity’s influence covers southern New England, 75 miles around its headquarters in Providence.
- Four Rhode Island companies represented the Ocean State this month at the Consumer Electric Show in Las Vegas hosted by the Consumer Technology Association. The event showcases more than 4,500 companies displaying over 4.5 million net square feet across the city. These organizations exhibited their newest tech, hardware and other products to more than 180,000 attendees from 150 countries. The event also boasts over 250 sessions of programming.
- Seventeen Rhode Island-based food businesses began the Social Enterprise Greenhouse Food Accelerator program earlier this month. The accelerator, SEG’s signature venture development program, includes a 12-week blended learning model that provides high impact social entrepreneurs the tools, networks and resources to validate their idea, understand their customer and formalize growth strategies from fundraising to social impact measurement.
- This March, Rhode Island Inno is bringing the tech and startup communities together for some healthy competition — bracket-style. Submit your nomination here or complete the form below. Tech Madness is our annual bracket challenge designed to generate awareness and excitement for the city’s ecosystem, and those that are driving it forward. Rhode Island Inno will assemble a bracket of private, fast-growing, tech-enabled local businesses and seed them based on funding. Then, we’ll ask the community to vote on each matchup in every round. Companies go head-to-head, with Rhode Island Inno’s readers determining who moves on by answering just one question: “Who would you invest in?”