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Connect Greater Newport

Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce
Economic Strategy

The Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce is one of Rhode Island's largest business advocacy organizations. The Chamber was formed to enhance the business, civic and economic vitality of Newport County and greater Rhode Island, and to leverage the region's core assets to find solutions in the areas that matter most to businesses and the community: quality jobs, quality growth and quality of life. The Chamber joined together with their region’s business, government, and philanthropic communities to develop a vision for a regional economic development organization.

Greater Newport is comprised of nine communities within Newport County, as well as neighboring Bristol County. However, despite their close proximity and interdependent economies, these communities have not had a history of collaboration. Furthermore, none of these communities had dedicated economic development staff, aside from limited capacity at the City of Newport.  As a result, a group of leaders formed a steering committee, recognizing the need for a shared vision and collaboration to support the growth of their economy. In 2018, the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce retained Fourth Economy Consulting to create and manage the implementation of a five-year strategic plan for this new initiative.

Our Approach

Our team performs data analysis, research, and interviews. We work with a Steering Committee first to develop a strategic plan focused on: adding capacity for local economic development; marketing the region’s business opportunities; retaining and attracting talent; and supporting and leveraging existing industries and since implementing and updating that strategy.

The Results

We began the process with a traditional business calling program as our highest priority; through that and our other work in the region, workforce housing emerged as a key barrier to their economic success. Addressing this spurred the creation of new partnerships and creative strategies, including a regional housing symposium. Broadband access, reliability, and affordability is also an issue that we are working to enhance in the region.

Location

Newport and Bristol County, RI

Project Type

Economic Development Strategy

Client Type

Economic Development Organization

Scale

State