economic development

150 Years of Baubles, Bling and the Rise of America’s Only Jewelry Billionaire

Throughout 2018, we will be posting to our Then and Now blog series to unearth the roots of our state’s key industries. Today, our earliest entrepreneurs and Rhode Island’s rich and surprising history of jewelry manufacturing.

Then
In the 1880s, Rhode Island was the No. 1 state for jewelry manufacturing, accounting for one quarter of the entire country’s production, thanks to the more than 200 Providence-based jewelry firms that employed almost 7,000 workers. How did the smallest state become the “jewelry capital of the world”? 

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To put our finger on the industry’s origins in Rhode Island, we have to trace back even further, to 1794, when a man named Seril Dodge opened his jewelry store on North Main Street in Providence. He made shoe buckles that the dandies of that day took a shine to. But it was his nephew, Nehemiah Dodge, who would go on to develop an early process to plate lesser metals in gold and silver, whetting the nation’s appetite for inexpensive jewelry. Around the Dodge family, a generation of innovative jewelry manufacturers sprang up. A Jewelry District hummed to life in Providence, powered by an immigrant labor force. And around the country, the Industrial Revolution spurred increased production and economic growth. (Of note, Rhode Island is also widely credited as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. In 1790, English immigrant Samuel Slater built the first American factory to successfully produce cotton yarn with water-powered machines.) 

Jewelry-making in Rhode Island flourished for a century, and rags-to-riches stories abounded. The Great Depression put growth in the Jewelry District on pause until after World War II, but Rhode Island emerged from wartime with manufacturing as its dominant activity. And though the Jewelry District was bisected by the construction of Interstate 195 in the 1960s, jewelry represented the state’s largest manufacturing sector by 1978. At that time, Rhode Island produced 80 percent of the country’s costume jewelry and employed 32,500 workers in the industry.

Along the way, evolving trends in fashion helped feed demand for Rhode Island-made baubles. As Peter DiCristofaro, the jewelry historian who founded the Providence Jewelry Museum, tells it, “You had the counterculture, birth control—and pierced earrings. In the ’70s you had disco jewelry, and in the ’80s you had big hair and big jewelry.”

Then came a steep and sudden decline in sales. Fashions changed, and overseas companies that offered cheap labor began competing with local makers. Many Rhode Island companies went out of business. Factories closed. By 1996, only 13,500 people remained employed in jewelry in the state. 

Around the country, manufacturers were telling similar stories. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 1960, about one in four American workers had a job in manufacturing. Today fewer than one in 10 are employed in the sector.

Carolyn Rafaelian, founder of Alex and Ani. Photo by Rhode Island Monthly magazine

Carolyn Rafaelian, founder of Alex and Ani. Photo by Rhode Island Monthly magazine

Now
Nevertheless, the one-time “jewelry capital of the world” is undergoing a revival. Besides being home to Alex and Ani, the half-billion-dollar brand founded by native Rhode Islander Carolyn Rafaelian, the state can boast one thousand jewelry-related companies. According to a recent WWD account, “Rhode Island’s jewelry manufacturing is a nearly self-sustaining ecosystem—invisible to those not in-the-know. Stuffed into unassuming pre-war millhouses, their floorboards are worn to a sloping sheen and the sound of arcane machinery fills the air with a droning hum.”

Tiffany & Co., David Yurman, Shinola and Jennifer Fisher all now manufacture their wares in the state. From its HQ in Cranston, Jewelry Concepts has become a world leader in personalized jewelry, annually producing over one million unique personalized jewelry items. And companies like Luca + Danni and Alexys Ryan are quickly writing their own success stories. Why the return to manufacturing in Rhode Island? Besides the public’s embrace of the Made in America movement, jewelry makers cite frustration with quality control and delays experienced with overseas manufacturers. Designer Pamela Love, who manufactures part of her line in Rhode Island, recently told WWD, “The quality is fantastic, [the Rhode Island factories] do such a great job. I think that the chain factories, the finding factories are on par with Italy.”

Today, Rhode Island once more has the highest concentration of jobs in the jewelry industry in the United States. The 30-year-old Providence Jewelry Museum, which has long resided quietly on a dead end street in Cranston, is now being made over as the National Jewelry Museum and will be opened to the public. It will move to Providence, where it can better put the state’s industrial past on display, in the form of 50 Providence-made machines, 200 pieces of jewelry and 20,000 company samples spanning more than two centuries of jewelry making. Museum president Edward Lemire says, “We are on a mission to make [the museum] a bigger, better, permanent, public tourist attraction. A lot of people had no idea this all went on in the United States. This will bring that awareness back.”

By most accounts, one jewelry brand in particular has helped Rhode Island return as a world player on the jewelry scene: Alex and Ani, a bangle-making brand founded in 2004. Not only has the brand grown from $4 million in sales in 2010 to $500 million in sales in 2015, but it bridges Rhode Island’s past with its present, since founder Carolyn Rafaelian opened Alex and Ani out of her father’s Rhode Island jewelry factory. She and her sister had worked at the factory as teenagers in the 1960s, and she began to design jewelry herself. Today, her designs have made her America’s only jewelry billionaire, and she sits at the No. 18 spot on the Forbes list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women.

Gov. Gina Raimondo, another native Rhode Islander, also has familial ties to Rhode Island’s bejeweled past: “I had a great life as a kid—my dad had a job at the Bulova Watch company,” she told Rhode Island Public Radio. “Good jobs like his gave people dignity in their work. It’s important that Rhode Island gets [manufacturing] right.”

The governor, whose late father lost his job at the watch factory when work was shipped overseas, has committed to rebuilding and reinventing Rhode Island’s manufacturing prowess. Jewelry will always be an important part of that story. 

Business Leaders Offer Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

On a recent Monday afternoon, the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce hosted a panel discussion at Brown University about the ways that entrepreneurs and forward thinkers are leading the way to a new Rhode Island. Moderated by Inc. contributor and Shorty Award winner Jeff Barrett, the conversation featured entrepreneurs and educators who are contributing to the state’s thriving maker ecosystem.

Co-hosted by Innovation Providence and Brown University’s Jonathan M. Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, Jeff was joined on the panel by Fred Magnanimi, CEO and founder of Luca + Danni; Meg Wirth, CEO and co-founder of Maternova; Ellen McNulty-Brown, CEO of Lotuff Leather; and Jonas Clark, associate director of Brown’s Nelson Center.

We captured many of the insights shared by panelists on the @ProvChamber Twitter feed, which I hope you’ll take some time to read through. And for those of you who haven’t joined the Twitterverse, here’s the advice that each panelist said they would share with an aspiring entrepreneur. Happy reading! 

1.      “Give yourself runway—give yourself time to fail before you succeed.” —Jeff Barrett, Inc. contributor and PR consultant

2.      “Start with the question that you are focused on. Then have the confidence, persistence and passion to find a solution to that question.” —Meg Wirth, CEO and co-founder, Maternova

3.      “Be a good listener. Pay attention to your customers. Ask yourself whether you are building something that will provide value to those you serve.” —Jonas Clark, associate director, Jonathan M. Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, Brown University

4.      “Don’t think, just do—and you will learn by doing.” —Ellen McNulty-Brown, CEO, Lotuff Leather

5.      “Don’t be afraid to cold email or cold call. You will get a lot of no’s—but be relentless. And make sure you surround yourself with a great team.” —Daniel DeCiccio, co-founder and CTO, Vitae Industries

6.      “Partner with a mentor. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to fail. Don’t accept no for an answer. And take a test-and-learn approach.” —Fred Magnanimi, CEO and founder, Luca + Danni

We appreciate the participation of these business leaders and look forward to the new stories that the next generation of Rhode Island entrepreneurs are now writing.

For more information, read our blog post on the forces feeding entrepreneurship in the state today, and contact us if you’d like to learn more about the ways the Chamber is sparking innovation and supporting entrepreneurs in the state.

 

We Invited TechCrunch’s Andrew Keen to R.I. and Something Awesome Happened

For the past seven months, the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce has supported “Innovate 2017,” a TechCrunch.com TV series hosted by author/speaker/Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur Andrew Keen. During this period, Andrew interviewed numerous leading thinkers across public, private and social sectors to “pontificate” about technology and innovation. When he attended our annual meeting in Providence on Nov. 20, he also interviewed Gov. Gina Raimondo for the series, as well as our board chair, Alden Anderson, Jr., Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor, and a number of other Rhode Island business leaders for a video series that we’ll be sharing with you over the coming weeks and months.

Influential blogger Andrew Keen says Rhode Island has extraordinary capacity in "design thinking"which is where the future is headed.

Influential blogger Andrew Keen says Rhode Island has extraordinary capacity in "design thinking"which is where the future is headed.

 

It was Andrew’s first time doing anything more than just “passing through” Rhode Island on the way to someplace else, and something awesome happened: He was blown away by the promise of our little New England state and in particular by our governor’s intellect and impressive background, calling her “incredibly smart and dynamic” and comparing her to another personable government leader he’s interviewed, Emmanuel Macron. By the time Andrew had completed his immersion in all things Rhode Island, I felt compelled to turn the tables on him, interviewing him about his impressions of our state. They are as follows:

 

·         Rhode Island offers the real deal: “The geography is incredibly rich with potential, at a time when geography is increasingly important. Digital pundits have argued that we’re in a post-geography, post-physical-space era—that it doesn’t matter where we are. In spite of those predictions, made goods and physical goods like vinyl LPs and books have become more valuable, and talent has congregated in places like New York and San Francisco. What digital has done is created an abundance of information, which has generated a new scarcity—attention. There are infinite amounts of movies, music and content online, but it’s no coincidence that young people are embracing the physical. And in spite of that fact that we can now speak or meet with anyone digitally or virtually, physical meetings, like TED conferences, have become increasingly valuable. Digital doesn’t replace physical engagement. Scarcity of the physical is one of the realities of the 21st century. It turns out, place does matter, and Rhode Island is an excellent place to be. We need to get people to experience the state firsthand; you have a wonderful state and a wonderful governor.”

 

·         The size is right: “What struck me, when taking the train from New York to Rhode Island and from Boston to Rhode Island, is that it’s really not that far. This is important—not only because of the state’s proximity to major urban centers, but also because of its size. Small, vibrant, flexible places will have huge value in the future as opposed to sprawling empires. The 21st century will be owned by smaller places like Singapore, Estonia and even Rhode Island. Rhode Island, being small, becomes a meeting post; it can play a central role on the U.S. eastern seaboard, but also globally. As America changes, places like Rhode Island have great potential.”

 

·         Its industrial pedigree bodes well for its digital potential: “Rhode Island was at the center of the Industrial Revolution, boding well for its potential as a player in the digital revolution. This is especially true now that Silicon Valley is in crisis in so many ways, and people are bored with it. I think there’s something to what Steve Case has written about with “the rise of the rest” and our country’s emerging startup ecosystems. Rhode Island just needs to roll its sleeves up. Your success is about the rejuvenation of America.”

 

·         Design is Rhode Island’s differentiator: “One unique attribute in Rhode Island is design thinking. It’s absolutely essential; you can’t commoditize design or human creativity. In the age of the algorithm and A.I., anything that can be crunched will be crunched, but design rests on human creativity. Design, storytelling and the creation of empathy and relationships will become the most valuable scarcity.”

 

·         Our governor is an asset: “My interview with Gov. Raimondo was one of the most successful that I’ve done. It generated a lot of positive buzz. People were impressed with her—how smart she is, her business-orientation, and they wanted to know more about her, especially these days with the explosion of gender in politics. It’s important for the state to leverage the governor’s vision for the future. Her background as a venture capitalist and her understanding of the investment landscape also needs to be stressed. It’s a compelling story, and it needs to be told repeatedly.”

 

·         What’s hot for 2018: “My new book [How to Fix the Future] comes out in February in the U.S., and on TechCrunch this year, we’ll explore solutions for a lot of the themes we pursued via Innovation 2017 around women’s issues, justice in technology, new technologies and algorithms that reflect biases—2018 is the year of solutions. Rhode Island is interesting because it doesn’t focus on problems, but instead on mapping out the future.”

 

Find Andrew Keen’s interviews with Rhode Island business leaders—ranging from Verizon’s Donna Cupelo to CCRI’s Dr. Meghan Hughes to BCBSRI’s Kim Keck and RIC’s Dr. Frank Sánchez and many more—on the Chamber’s web and digital channels in the coming weeks and months.

Why RI: Businesses Are Taking Off ---Thanks to the Recent Expansion of T.F. Green Airport

The recent announcement by Gov. Gina Raimondo that Air Canada will begin round trip service from Providence to Toronto -- the latest in a flurry of new economic developments in Rhode Island  -- was an exciting one to witness. We were at T.F. Green to greet Air Canada dignitaries and officially welcome them to the nation's premier medium-sized airport. It's the kind of work we have been doing for nearly a century. Whether we are advocating for entrepreneurs or making business to business connections among our members, we have an expansive portfolio or activities.

Gov. Gina Raimondo and Rhode Island dignitaries welcome Air Canada to the Providence market, with nonstop flights beginning soon.

Gov. Gina Raimondo and Rhode Island dignitaries welcome Air Canada to the Providence market, with nonstop flights beginning soon.

Back in the late 1920s, the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce worked with the state legislature to establish an airport in Rhode Island because we recognized early on that air transportation was essential to our community’s long-term economic vitality—earning Providence the moniker of the “Southern Gateway to New England.” And we’ve never stopped advocating for the continued expansion of what is now T.F. Green Airport to provide greater amenities with each passing year. Fast-forward to present day, and we now have a bustling transportation hub that will only continue to grow and benefit Rhode Island’s thriving business community. Passenger travel in and out of Providence grew by 7.8 percent in 2017 over the prior year.

Already the T.F. Green Airport offers nonstop trips to 34 cities. There are now year-round, nonstop flights to Europe, and they are among the cheapest trans-Atlantic flights offered nationwide. Multiple carriers are competing to offer flights from T.F. Green, and airfare prices have dropped as a result. In the past year alone, four new airlines have been introduced to the Warwick hub, including Norwegian Air. And just a few short weeks ago, a new 8,700-foot runway expansion was completed. This has increased service opportunities to accommodate all types of aircraft and has made destinations that were once inaccessible a travel reality.

Having these services has made Rhode Island all the more prominent as an epicenter of commercial growth, and local businesses are reaping the benefits. As I’ve often said, Rhode Island’s accessibility is one of its best-kept secrets. By expanding T.F. Green, we’re trying to let the greater business community in on something we’ve known for years.

Rhode Island is at the crossroads of East Coast industry—just consider the density of people and businesses within a two-hour drive. It is perfectly positioned among one of the wealthiest pockets in the country. Even better, congestion is minimal, and the price point cannot be beat. An impressive talent pool has recognized all the possibilities of our intermodal transportation options, and they understand how important this accessibility is. In developing T.F. Green, we are creating opportunities to take our ever-expanding business community beyond the East Coast—not just across the country but across continents as well.

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Because of this expansion, small businesses in particular now have the ability to extend their operations into markets that were once cost-prohibitive. By expanding opportunities for Rhode Island businesses, we are investing in their growth—and making Rhode Island all the more appealing for young entrepreneurs as they look to our state as a place to grow their own ventures.

These developments have not gone unnoticed by those beyond Rhode Island’s borders. T.F. Green Airport has been ranked among the best midsize airports in the country for its convenience, and it was recently included among Condé Nast Traveler’s annual Readers’ Choice list of the top 10 airports in the United States. We’ve won back several carriers that had departed from the marketplace years ago. We’re creating a center of transport that serves a wide range of individuals who see the benefits of the expanded hub, whether they’re businesses, tourists or vacationers. Not only has the newly expanded T.F. Green Airport made the world a smaller place, but it’s also made Rhode Island a more desirable one.

Here at the Chamber, connectivity is key. By continually improving T.F. Green Airport, we’re taking our business community to a whole new level of possibilities. 

New URI Engineering Complex Coming Along Nicely

It's been about a year since Rhode Island voters bullishly approved Phase II funding to create a gleaming new complex for the University of Rhode Island's College of Engineering --- a $125 million endeavor designed to put our state's flagship research institution at the vanguard, internationally, for engineering and entrepreneurial prowess.  

Eager to see how the project is shaping up, I headed over to campus to take a closer look.  I was thrilled to see teams of construction workers moving earth, burying conduit and pouring concrete. Indeed, they are laying the metaphorical groundwork for the jobs of the future. (Check out some fun facts about the project!)

From the Chamber's vantage point as business builders, it's promising that Rhode Island is responding to market demands for engineering talent. Across the state, several of our world-class institutions of higher education, including Brown University, are investing more than $300 million in sophisticated new infrastructure that will produce high value engineering research and learning facilities. That pace bodes well for Rhode Island's ability to be a prime target for new corporate investment.

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Pictured here is the project site where the demolition of five antiquated buildings began in the spring and was completed this summer. Sparking the need, the older buildings had not undergone any major improvements in more than 50 years. Consequently, they did not provide the open and flexible teaching, learning and research spaces necessary to adequately prepare engineering students and fully serve faculty members.

Don't underestimate the ubiquitousness of engineering. It's at the heart of most everything in contemporary society: energy, medicine, water, bridges, data, physical structures and more. That's why the sector is growing jobs at such a rapid clip. 

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URI President David Dooley puts it in perspective: “Increasingly, our engineering students and faculty are not only working in interdisciplinary teams within the College of Engineering, but with students and faculty from across the University in oceanography, health, pharmacy, chemistry, computer science, and business, to name but a few, as well as companies and corporations around the state, region and the world. This new facility will stimulate collaborative, multidisciplinary learning and research. It will lead to discoveries that we cannot even imagine today. Our engineering alumni, students, and faculty have always been essential drivers of innovation and economic development in Rhode Island, and with these new facilities, we know that URI’s role in moving the state forward will be strongly enhanced."

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The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce was proud to be an early champion of the project. We invested time, money and resources in promoting the economic benefits to the state and making the case that access to engineering talent will attract attention from corporations looking to sit alongside URI's demonstrated expertise in undersea robotics, smart building technology and other engineering disciplines. Many Chamber member companies also took up the mantle to make the project a reality: Toray Plastics (America) $2 million: FM Global, $1 million; Taco Inc., $400,000; and an anonymous gift of $2.5 million from a URI alumnus and corporate leader. 

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Ballinger of Philadelphia, is the prime architect, mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, and structural engineer on the project, and the associate architectural firm is Chamber member DBVW of Providence. The construction management firm is Dimeo Construction Co. of Providence.

Congratulations to Chamber Directors Brad Dimeo and David Dooley for their leadership on this essential project to Rhode Island's future. We're looking forward to the ribbon cutting in 2019!

 

More Shovels In The Ground in #PVD

Innovation districts are emerging in the downtowns and midtowns
of cities like Atlanta, Cambridge, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis, where advanced research universities, medical complexes, and clusters of tech and creative firms are sparking business expansion as well as residential and commercial growth.  

Now, add Providence to the mix. 

With this week's groundbreaking on the former Route 195 land, business, academic and government leaders are partnering with Wexford Science and Technology to create a grand Innovation Center that will be at forefront of discovery.

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Wexford CEO Jim Berens emphasized that the $88 million facility will draw the best minds in research, design and commercialization. "We are excited that our work in Providence will become more visible as we begin vertical construction of the first Innovation Building, anchored by Brown University, the Cambridge Innovation Center and Johnson and Johnson. This represents another step forward in the development of a dynamic Knowledge Community that brings together intellectual capital, innovation and infrastructure to create a center of gravity and congregation that can give a sense of place to the growing innovation and entrepreneurial activities taking place in Providence and across Rhode Island."

In addition to the 66,000 square feet in the Innovation Complex, CIC also is planning to locate an 8,000-square-foot Innovation Hall and Venture Cafe-dedicated civic spaces that are modeled after CIC's highly successful District Hall in the Seaport District of Boston, where the innovation community can gather and exchange ideas.

The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce has been working for many years to champion an environment in Rhode Island that leverages our amazing assets, including our comprehensive talent base, our world class universities, colleges and hospitals and our innovative businesses. We are confident that progress is accelerating at a rapid pace now.

"Wexford's project has the potential to advance our state's economy in significant ways -- fostering innovation, spurring growth, and building opportunity for all Rhode Islanders," said Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. "This project will become the catalytic centerpiece of our revitalized I-195 Innovation & Design District. It represents the culmination of the very hard work of many including our visionary Governor, Gina Raimondo; leaders at the I-195 Commission and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation; the teams at Wexford Science & Technology, Ventas, CIC, Brown University, and Johnson & Johnson; and state, city, and federal elected leaders. I congratulate these partners on reaching this critical milestone."

Keep the announcements coming!

UPDATE: Software Jobs Open at eMoney

FinTech company eMoney is settling in to their new Providence home at 100 Westminster Street and quickly getting to know the local tech and entrepreneurial community.  “It’s been amazing . Everyone here has been so welcoming,” said HR Director Tessa Raum.  

Tessa shared her staffing plans with us today.  “We’re hiring! We’re looking to bring on 50 new roles by the end of 2017, and more by the end of 2019.” 

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Software engineers and software developers are very much in demand by e-Money, with competitive average salaries. Entry level roles as well as positions with three to five years’ experience are being offered.

The company builds software as a solution in the wealth management sector. Their vision is to “drive innovation in FinTech by creating and delivering technology solutions that help advisors and firms of all sizes achieve greater efficiency, scale, competitive edge, and growth in their businesses.”

Tessa described the culture at eMoney as “Google-like,” with strong emphasis on work/life balance. “We’re serious and passionate about our business. We want our talent to love the people they work with and to add value to our clients.”

eMoney  has been in business for 17 years with 455 employees in LaJolla, California and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce and our partners at Commerce RI have been working with company’s human resources executives in Providence to help link them with local talent from our preeminent colleges and universities. The opportunities are diverse and exciting. 

To learn more about the jobs now available in Rhode Island, check out their hiring site here. 
 

FinTech Firm eMoney Now Sourcing Providence Talent

FinTech firm eMoney is expanding into Providence. The wealth management technology company is opening a new office at 100 Westminster Street, with positions already being filled for the site. 

Located in a 20-story commercial building in the Financial District, the office’s downtown views paired with nearly 7,000 square feet of rented space, provide an atmosphere that is conducive to fostering the collaboration and innovation that eMoney is known for both as an employer and as a leading provider of scalable wealth management technology. 

The new office location stems from the firm’s rapid growth over the last few years and desire to explore a new talent market in the Northeast. 

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“This is just the beginning of our journey in Rhode Island,” said Ed O’Brien, CEO of eMoney. “We’re excited to get the office up and running, becoming an integral part of the Providence community and tapping its extensive network of talent. We’re proud to expand our eMoney team so we can continue to innovate and meet the needs of our clients.”

As previously announced by Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation in March, eMoney is committed to bringing 100 full-time jobs to the state by 2020. The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce stands ready to assist the firm with its hiring needs.

“We welcome eMoney to their new Providence office,” said Governor Gina Raimondo. “With workforce training and economic development as top priorities, we have added 14,000 jobs since taking office, and regained all the jobs lost during the Great Recession. Additions to the state like eMoney show Rhode Island is on the move.”

eMoney already has 10 employees set to work in the Providence office by mid-August, and extensive recruiting efforts are underway to fill open roles in software development, user interface and experience design, software testing and quality engineering, and product management, among others.

“Providence continues to demonstrate that it has the talent, quality of life, and momentum that businesses are looking for,” said Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “I’m excited to welcome a fast-growing company like eMoney Advisor to the capital city and wish them success in the years to come.”

eMoney has two other office locations in the U.S. Its corporate headquarters located just outside of Philadelphia in Radnor, Pa., has more than 400 employees on-site serving all areas of the business, including software development, financial planning, security and data services, sales, client engagement, marketing, finance, and human resources, among others. The firm’s West Coast office located in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla, Ca., is home to approximately 60 employees who work in client engagement, sales and financial planning.

To learn more about eMoney’s open positions in Providence, visit here.

 

Start-Up Environment In Providence Cheered

Summer is a perfect time of year to see Providence in a new light.

Summer is a perfect time of year to see Providence in a new light.

Good news travels fast. We've had a recent spate of positive media attention highlighting the Providence, Rhode Island entrepreneurial communities. This piece in Crain's Boston talks about our legacy as a maker city and as a recent leader in the social enterprise movement.  Kelly Ramirez from Social Enterprise Greenhouse shares her thoughts on how the movement is catching fire. Providence's world class colleges and universities and young talent pool are the key differentiators drawing attention.

FDi Intelligence magazine, a publication associated with The Financial Times in London, has a well researched feature story highlighting our international prowess in the manufacturing sector and how educational leaders are driving Rhode Island's economic resurgence.

I have been on the road recently, as well, promoting Rhode Island's advantages as a place to do business. The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce and Commerce RI have had a major presence at the Boston Biosciences Leaders Conference, the Social Innovation Summit in Chicago, and BIO International 2017 in San Diego. 

The reaction from business leaders with whom we have met has been consistent: 

  • Rhode Island is definitely on the radar screen for investors. High profile names like GE Digital, Virgin Pulse, Johnson & Johnson, Agoda and Wexford Science & Technology have generated a bit of a curiosity factor. i.e. What's going on in Providence???
  • Our talent pipeline and workforce development strategy is considered smart and unique.
  • Our incentive programs are performance-based and deliver benefits that are most relevant.
  • Rhode Island's business climate is now viewed as increasingly favorable. 

Help us spread the word! If you would like to learn more about Rhode Island as a place to grow and expand your business, reach out to us today.