Rhode Island Commerce Corporation | Business Incentives, Credits and Grants


Innovation Voucher Program

The Innovation Voucher program lets your business unlock R&D capacity. Rhode Island small businesses with fewer than 500 employees can receive grants of up to $50,000 to fund R&D assistance from a Rhode Island university, research center, or medical center. Rhode Island manufacturers have the option to use the Innovation Voucher to fund an internal R&D project. Grants can be applied to
  • support for commercialization of a new product, process, or service
  • access to scientific, engineering, and design expertise
  • technological development and exploration to make your innovation come to life
  • scale-to-market development of your innovative idea


Industry Cluster Grants

Industry Cluster Grants encourage companies to work together to solve problems, exchange ideas, and develop talent. Grants are available to fund planning and organization of the cluster. Implementation grants are also available for programs that strengthen the cluster in areas like R&D, tech transfer, workforce development, and marketing. Download the Technical Assistance (Planning) Grant application or the Implementation Grant application to apply now.


July 2018 May 2017 October 2016 May 2016

Innovation Network Matching Grants

Innovation Network Matching Grants are provided to intermediary organizations for projects that offer technical assistance, space on flexible terms, and/or access to capital to Rhode Island small businesses in key industries (e.g., life sciences, healthcare, food and agriculture, clean technology, energy efficiency, cybersecurity, and others as designated).


June 2018 March 2016 June 2017 September 2017 November 2017 December 2017

Wavemaker Fellowship

The Wavemaker Fellowship
CommerceRI facilitates its award-winning Wavemaker Fellowship program, which provides student loan debt relief to qualified candidates working in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and design fields in Rhode Island. This publicly funded program is committed to keeping the best and brightest in Rhode Island after graduation, and ensures a robust talent pool for the state’s growing businesses. The program offers qualifying individuals a refundable tax credit certificate equal to the value of their annual student loan burden for up to four years. In addition to the financial benefit, fellows are invited to participate in various personal and professional development programs, social and professional networking opportunities, community-based events, and more. Discover more information about the Wavemaker Fellowship program Rules and Regulations for the Wavemaker Fellowship Program error Full list of 2018 Wavemaker Fellowship Award Winners Full list of 2017 Wavemaker Fellowship Award Winners Full list of 2016 Wavemaker Fellowship Award Winners
Jillian Butler Wavemaker Fellowship Director
Jillian Butler

Wavemaker Fellowship Director

Science and Technology Grants

Science and Technology Grants
The Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC) STAC was launched in 2005 and sustained by legislative statute in 2006 to make innovation central to the state’s leadership agenda. Through this council, funding was developed for small businesses that need capital to innovate, expand, and succeed.   Innovate RI Small Business Fund The Innovate RI Small Business Fund provides the following grants to assist local entrepreneurs and high-growth start-ups:
  • Application Grant: Provides grants of up to $3,000 to help small businesses offset the costs associated with preparing a competitive Phase I SBIR/STTR application.
  • Matching Grant: Provides grants of up to $45,000 to recipients of SBIR/STTR Phase I awards and up to $100,000 to recipients of Phase II awards.
  • Internship Grant: Provides grants of up to $3,000 to help companies offset the cost of providing internships to RI residents attending a RI college or university.
  Collaborative Research Grants Competitive funding is offered each year as part of STAC’s participation in Rhode Island’s Cooperative Agreement with the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). Collaborative Research projects are eligible that address research questions related to the current Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Track-1 that will create the RI Consortium for Coastal Ecology Assessment, Innovation, and Modeling (RI C-AIM). Project teams must be collaborative in nature and include investigators from at least two RI C-AIM partner institutions. These include the University of Rhode Island, Brown University, Bryant University, Providence College, Rhode Island College, the Rhode Island School of Design, Roger Williams University, and Salve Regina University. Business and government organizations may be part of a collaboration of academic partners.   Learn more about STAC and its funding and grant opportunities
Christine Smith Managing Director Innovation
Christine Smith

Managing Director Innovation

Rhode Island Innovation Campus

In November 2016, Rhode Island voters approved a $20 million bond issue to create one or more Innovation Campuses affiliated with URI that will bring together leading industry, academic, and research partners.   These Innovation Campuses are envisioned as facilities designed to stimulate collaborative research and development projects among academic and corporate tenants, with the goals of job growth and catalytic statewide impact. The campuses pair world-class, cutting-edge research with proven industry leadership and investment. Press Release Executive Summary Innovation Campus RFP

Solicitation Process

The Executive Office of Commerce initiated a competitive solicitation process with the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP). Activity and discussions related to the RFP are not part of any CommerceRI procurement process. Please click here to view the Innovation Campus RFP (Note: process closed for submissions)