Providence, R.I. – Polaris MEP (Manufacturing Extension Partnership), a division of the URI Research Foundation, is announcing its latest move to lift Rhode Island’s manufacturers to higher profitability and employment. Polaris MEP has committed 100% of its first ever state funding of $350K to go to Rhode Island’s small manufacturers in the form of innovative events, programs and pricing.
“Everyone has a role to play in sparking Rhode Island’s economic comeback, and Polaris MEP’s Rocket Program is a great example. Through my jobs plan and innovative programs like this, we are making it easier for businesses to grow and succeed in Rhode Island and taking important steps to jumpstart our economy,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo.
“The Polaris MEP Rocket Program is designed to assist small RI manufacturing companies to reach the next level of profitability, job growth and efficiency,” said Christian Cowan, Polaris MEP Center Director. “Many companies look for tools and opportunities to grow their business, but don’t have access to the right information. We are accelerating that growth opportunity through engagement, education and execution.”
“Rhode Island has a strong manufacturing history and we must build upon that legacy while positioning our manufacturers to compete and win in today’s economy,” said Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. “I applaud Governor Raimondo and the General Assembly for funding initiatives that help small manufacturers receive the services provided by Polaris MEP.
The program includes 4 key components: All Access Bus Tours, Manufacturing Consortia, Acceleration Seminars, and Launch Pad Pricing. All Access Bus Tours start September 29th during a ceremony kicking off Manufacturing Week, and allow small RI manufacturers to take a behind the scenes tour at several of Rhode Island’s successful, growing companies. Participants will meet executives and tour their plants to see how they’ve grown their organization through a strategy of continuous improvement and innovation. They will experience “lean in action”, witness employee involvement that drives efficiency and profitability gains, and engage with local executives in round table discussions.
The Rocket Program kick off also includes Polaris MEP’s new, ongoing member-driven Manufacturing Consortia. The “RI Family Owned Manufacturing Consortium” members learn best practices from national experts, discuss legal issues with corporate governance experts and more – all with a focus on family-owned businesses, the heartbeat for Rhode Island’s economy. The “RI Lean Consortium” members share best practices and challenges facing RI manufacturers with a focus on supporting company growth and continuous improvement.
The Rocket Program also introduces Acceleration Seminars led by nationally recognized experts on entrepreneurship and leadership. One of the first seminars includes a tour of Rhode Island in a C-130 aircraft from Quonset Airport.
All Polaris MEP programs feature Launch Pad Pricing. “State funding now allows Polaris MEP to adjust our project fee structure to be even more affordable, making our programs accessible to the small manufacturer,” said Cowan. Eligible growth programs include Strategic Business Planning; Continuous Improvement Programs, such as lean, quality management systems, and facility planning; Workforce Development; Technology Acceleration; and Supply Chain Optimization. More detail can be found at Polarismep.org/Rocket.
About Polaris MEP
Polaris MEP is a statewide non-profit organization that provides competitive manufacturing business improvement programs to grow RI’s manufacturing industry. Polaris is an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Program (NIST MEP) and a business unit of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation. Since 1996 Polaris has delivered improvement solutions to over 750 Rhode Island manufacturers to help them achieve sustainable and profitable growth.