Design, Food, & Custom Manufacturing | Key Industries in RI


Rhode Island faces exciting growth opportunities in some of its most unique sectors: The state is an epicenter for design trends, food innovation, and new developments in manufacturing.

Design: Design is in Rhode Island’s DNA: Institutions like Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design, and Rhode Island College have helped shape the state’s reputation as a leading producer of top industrial and graphic design professionals. Companies seeking to staff in these areas can draw on the sizeable and constantly growing talent pool in the Providence area.

Food: Rhode Island is widely known as a top culinary destination – but not only for its lively restaurant scene and unique local shops. The state is also a top education destination for those looking to train in culinary studies. Johnson and Wales University is among the top schools in the country for students keen on pursuing a career in culinary arts, and provides a great feeder system for the state’s hospitality industry.

Manufacturing: Rhode Island was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution; today it is an emerging leader in manufacturing innovation, with companies like General Electric coming to the state to join venerable Rhode Island manufacturers like Electric Boat, Raytheon, and Textron. The Brookings Institute ranks Rhode Island first in New England for advanced industries job growth, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says Rhode Island is the second-best state in America for innovation and entrepreneurship. The state offers exciting new opportunities for funding, partnership, and support in advanced manufacturing.

The burgeoning maker movement is reshaping product development by lowering the barriers to designing and manufacturing goods. Particularly strong opportunities for Rhode Island involve the development of small batch, local, and traceable products.

Key Facts

Rhode Island’s consumer goods industry concentration is double the national average, and the state has an expanding manufacturing sector.

Productivity is very high for Rhode Island industries associated with the Design, Food, and Custom Manufacturing growth area, standing 45% higher than the U.S. average.

Rhode Island is the number-one state per capita by concentration of industrial design firms and among the top four states for industrial design patents per capita.