What Canada knows that RI doesn't

Mar 20, 2013

The Boston Globe reported Monday that the Canadian government has established a business accelerator program in Cambridge to help its ``most promising young start-ups tap into the expertise and energy of the growing innovation economy around MIT and, ideally return home with new customers, connections and ideas.’’

As anyone with a pulse is aware, the area around Kendall Square in Cambridge has evolved over the past two decades from a seen-better-days warehouse and manufacturing district into an innovation lodestone.

Rhode Island business and government and business gurus and Governor Lincoln Chafee have traveled to such cities as Houston and Pittsburgh to survey new economy districts. But they don’t seem to have learned the lessons provided 40 miles away in Boston and Cambridge.

The centers of the U.S. 21st century innovation economy is focused on Silicon Valley in California, New York City and Boston. There are other areas in the forefront of  these efforts (North Carolina’s Research Triangle, for example) but none of those places are 40 miles from Providence.

If Canadians are smart enough to work with the venture capital firms and the technology and biotech powerhouses that have clustered in Cambridge and Boston, why isn’t Rhode Island?