Direct Economic Development Corporation to develop plans for small and medium size businesses

"I will instruct the director of the EDC to develop a small and medium size business service plan within 30 days."


Chafee campaign policy paper, The First One Hundred Days, Plan for Jobs

Subjects: Economy, Jobs, Small Business


Chafee asks commission for plan to help small businesses

Updated: Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 | By C. Eugene Emery Jr.

While big businesses often get the headlines, smaller businesses can be the lifeblood of a community. So Lincoln Chafee, during his campaign for governor, promised to work quickly to try to help promote such businesses and help them grow.

On his campaign website, he pledged: "I will instruct the director of the EDC [the Economic Development Corporation] to develop a small and medium size business service plan within 30 days."

It"s been more than 30 days since Chafee was inaugurated, so we decided to check whether he kept this promise.

The time frame for fulfilling that promise is ambiguous.

We read it as saying that Chafee was going to give the EDC 30 days to come up with a plan.

"Our reading was [that] within 30 days, we would issue the directive," said Chafee spokesman Michael Trainor.

Regardless of the interpretation, the Chafee administration has now sent a letter to EDC Executive Director Keith Stokes, whom Chafee recently decided to retain, asking him to develop  "a small to medium-size business service plan and create a long-term, entrepreneur-focused growth strategy."

The directive is based on the premise that "Rhode Island relies on small businesses to be catalysts of economic growth and job creation."

It urges the corporation to ask small business owners what services and support they need most; distribute an up-to-date list of all the services available to small business owners; explore the idea of offering industry-specific information to businesses; and provide "market data and other statistics to assist small business owners as they look to expand their operations."

In addition to developing a plan for small- to medium-sized businesses, it asks the EDC to "create a long-term, entrepreneur-focused growth strategy."

There is no deadline for reporting back to the governor.

The letter, at first glance, seems to fulfill the promise. It is dated Feb. 2, Chafee's 30th day in office.

However, it wasn't mailed out until the morning of Feb. 4, two days after the self-imposed deadline.

Two days seemed close enough to us. Promise Kept.

Sources:, "The First One Hundred Days Plan for Jobs," accessed Jan. 20, 2011

Interview, Michael Trainor, spokesman for Gov. Lincoln Chafee, Feb. 4, 2011

E-mail, Christian Vareika, office of Gov. Lincoln Chafee, Feb. 4, 2011

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