As the nation’s Ocean State, Rhode Island’s economic future is bright blue. The proposed RI Blue Economy Technology Cluster (RI BETC) will establish RI and Southern New England as the leading global center of the Blue Economy with equity and sustainability at its core. RI BETC builds upon existing regional, national, and global assets and is backed by a consortium of industry, government, philanthropic, non-profit, and academic partners. RI’s Blue Economy spans seven industries: ports and shipping, defense, marine trades, ocean-based renewables, aquaculture, fisheries, and tourism and recreation. The RI BETC Coalition requests a total of $78.10M in EDA funding. The Coalition has identified over $14.97M in private and State funds, $8.40M in in-kind support, as well as an opportunity for regional collaboration in the Blue Economy with Connecticut (CT) and Massachusetts (MA).
The RI BETC goals are ambitious, based on international Blue Economy benchmarks from Denmark, the Netherlands, and Portugal. Namely, we aim over the next 10 years to reach up to 4X faster growth in Gross Regional Product (GRP) and up to 5X-7X faster job growth in this sector over the economy-wide baseline in RI. The RI BETC proposes nine Component Projects, to catalyze the outsized growth potential of the Blue Economy and benefit populations that have historically been underrepresented in high-paying jobs and wealth-building pathways, both in RI and regionally. The Component Projects have the potential to transform RI’s Blue Economy and nearly double its size, with up to 54,000 additional Blue Economy jobs, and with a projected annual Blue Economy GRP of $15-25B within 10 years. Additionally, Blue Economy growth in RI will create multiplier jobs in related industries across Southern New England.