Chamber Connections BLOG
Chamber Connections BLOG
Q. With Winter just about behind us, what has the state done to better connect business to emergency information?
A. Emergency Management (EMA) and RI Commerce, in partnership with the business community, will launch the Rhode Island Alliance for Business Resilience (The Alliance).
The Alliance will be a self-governed public-private partnership focused on improving the resilience of Rhode Island businesses during emergencies. Formal discussions between business leaders and state government officials began in January 2016. Participants recognized the potential for greater resilience and speed of recovery if businesses and associations are collectively focused under a statewide umbrella. In the year since it came together, the steering committee defined its mission and developed a governance document. It is a work in progress but the Alliance will be ready to expand and welcome new members and partners.
• What are the benefits of membership? Emergency response and recovery is not just in the hands of government officials – it requires a “whole community” approach. The Alliance will be a voice for the business community in disaster response and recovery. The most important benefit to membership will be access to information during the entire cycle of an emergency. During quiet periods, it will serve as a community of peers who share best practices and experience in business resilience.
• How does a company/entity become a member? Prospective members or strategic partners will be required to fill out an application on the Alliance website. Membership will be available to companies or nonprofits that employ 50 or more people, trade associations, and chambers of commerce. Strategic partnership will also be available to public sector organizations that support the mission of the Alliance with information and/or resources. Applications will be reviewed by the steering committee and evaluated based on specific relevance to the Alliance’s mission and the needs and structure of its relationship to the State of Rhode Island, especially participation in ESF18. Member companies will be required to provide proof of good business standing through records with the Better Business Bureau and/or the RI Secretary of State’s office.
• What kinds of business continuity plans does RI have in place? Individual businesses are responsible for their own continuity plans. There are resources available, including information on the RIEMA website about how to develop business continuity plans.
Q. How do Rhode Island businesses now have a “seat at the table” with ESF-18?
A. RIEMA has established an Emergency Support Function (ESF) for the business community in the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC). It provides a conduit for the state to get information to the business community through chambers of commerce and trade organizations, and to get information from the business community to the State. It is staffed by individuals responsible for communications with the business community from the RI Commerce Corporation, RIEMA, and members of the Alliance.
Q. How does RIEMA interact with the business community and ESF-18?
A. RIEMA provides guidance through their website, and is partnering with the business community through the Alliance to create a more in-depth dialogue around business continuity issues. ESF-18 is part of RIEMA’s program for business representation in the SEOC. The Alliance is a public-private partnership driven by the business community to focus on resilience and continuity. Members of the Alliance are offered the opportunity to provide properly trained personnel to the SEOC through ESF-18. RI recognizes the importance of working with the business community and is adding to the emergency management structure by more directly including businesses. RIEMA provides guidance, training, and information to the business community, and is now broadening this involvement to have commercial entities participate directly in emergency management.
Upcoming Events & Deadlines:
• April 4: Rhode Island Commerce Corporation Small Business Assistance Program Information Session
More information and registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ri-commerce-corporation-small-business-assistance-program-info-session-tickets-33017413974
• April 12: Main Street Grant Applications are due
More information and application: http://commerceri.com/finance-business/taxes-incentives/main-street-rhode-island/
If you have any questions, contact Liz Tanner at email@example.com or 401-278-9195.