University of Rhode Island Partners with the US Navy to Support Small Business

If you’re a Rhode Island small business in the defense, undersea technology or marine industries, a new partnership between the University of Rhode Island (URI) and U.S. Navy may provide access to resources previously unavailable, such as better facilities, unique equipment, industry expertise and new research.

This partnership was made official in April by the signing of an agreement between the University of Rhode Island’s Business Engagement Center (BEC) and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC). Together, the two entities want to collaborate with each other. The shared mission is to promote education, jobs and economic growth for businesses in Rhode Island and the surrounding region.

Photo courtesy of The Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) & URI Business Engagement Center meet to sign the partnership agreement. Officials include Capt. Michael Coughlin, commanding officer of the NUWC Division Newport; Donald Aker, deputy technical director at NUWC; Vic Ricci, chief technology officer at NUWC; Theresa Baus, head of the Technology Partnerships Office at NUWC; Stephen Stewart, director, Small Business Program at NUWC; URI President David M. Dooley; URI Business Engagement Center Executive Director Katharine Flynn.

Reasons Behind the Partnership

The partnership has many potential benefits for small businesses throughout Rhode Island. Specifically, these two groups will focus on matching small businesses with URI and NUW. This way they can increase, particularly, the number of business patent licenses, development agreements, cooperative research and direct contracts.

Katharine Hazard Flynn, executive director of the business center, says small- and medium- sized defense businesses will also be able to leverage the connections they make through this partnership with labs, students and similar companies.

“This agreement will connect the vast resources available at the University and NUWC Newport to better serve our state and beyond,” said URI President David M. Dooley.

Why did the U.S. Navy and University of Rhode Island enter into this partnership? They both feel that not only will it benefit small businesses in their community but grow the economic strength of their state. Also, both entities will also receive benefits from working with small businesses. Furthermore, the Navy entered into the partnership to specifically have access to new and emerging technologies and proprietary research being done by innovative small businesses. In addition, it will increase their understanding of local and regional technology needs. For URI, it increases the portfolio of services they offer small businesses in Rhode Island.

How to Take Advantage of This Partnership

Once involved with the URI’s Business Engagement Center, you can take advantage of this partnership. As activities, events and possible business perks evolve, you’ll be the first to be informed by BEC if you’re connected to their community. Additionally, they provide communication to business owners they work with.

Other business services that URI’s Business Engagement Center offers include opportunities to find workforce talent to hire and sponsor research. Moreover they help move your business ideas to market and business development for your employees. They even have access to business planning facilities such as conference rooms and specialized equipment. You can find out more information about BEC and this partnership, or how BEC can support your local Rhode Island small business, on

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