Chamber opens Garage to inspire businesses

The annual Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Providence on Tuesday had a new theme. They called it the Garage.

The gathering drew 500 businessmen and women to the Rhode Island Convention Center for the usual speeches from business leaders and politicians.

But this year, for the first time, the audience was treated to some workshops intended to simulate a garage.

The idea was to capture the spirit of start-ups, some of which began in settings as informal as garages.

"New companies are where the jobs are being developed and literally, they could be developed in a garage today and turn out to be a major employer tomorrow," said chamber president Laurie White.

This is the new strategy of the chamber, spotlighting companies poised for growth, encouraging others to find the winning combination, and keeping those growing companies in Rhode Island.