John Robitaille tapped to run JWU’s entrepreneurship center

John Robitaille has a new job.

The Republican Party’s 2010 candidate for governor will take the helm on June 1 at Johnson & Wales University’s Larry Friedman International Center for Entrepreneurship, he told this afternoon.

Robitaille said he’s been working out the details of the job since the start of this year, first on his own and then in discussions with David Mitchell, dean of JWU’s business school, as he figured out what to do after coming in a close second in last year’s contest.

“Our country was founded on the spirit of self-reliance and entrepreneurship, and what we’ve got to do now is rekindle that spirit,” Robitaille said. “That’s going to translate into people graduating from college with both a résumé and a business plan.”

Robitaille’s job duties will include acting as “a spokesman and a cheerleader” for those who want to start a business – particularly students, veterans and the disabled – and speaking out on how state government can do more to boost Rhode Island’s private sector.

Robitaille didn’t say it explicitly, but the new gig will also provide a public perch for him to critique Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s policies as he weighs whether to challenge the independent to a rematch in 2014.

Robitaille said his passion for entrepreneurship stems from the 22 years he spent running Perspective Communications, a public-relations shop he opened in Providence and later moved to Middletown. “I learned so much from that experience,” he said.

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