Baker-Polito Administration Announces Inaugural Round of Collaborative Workspace Program Awards
The Collaborative Workspace Program will support community-based innovation and entrepreneurship across the Commonwealth
WORCESTER — Today the Baker-Polito Administration awarded over $950,000 in grant funding to 23 organizations across Massachusetts, to strengthen community-based innovation and entrepreneurship in the Commonwealth’s cities and towns. The awards, managed by MassDevelopment, will build physical infrastructure to supports the growth of new entrepreneurial ventures, while spurring innovation and job-creation at the local level.
The $950,000 grant round will fund the development and expansion of 10 shared workspaces, including innovation centers, incubators, artist spaces, collaborative kitchens, and co-work spaces. Grant funds will also support planning efforts in communities, to build the capacity of 13 additional collaborative workspaces. Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito announced the funds at an event at the WorcShop, in Worcester.
“Entrepreneurship is the engine that drives small business forward,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By giving entrepreneurs across Massachusetts the tools and support systems they need to grow their own businesses, these grants will advance job creation and new businesses in communities, while building stronger regional economies.”
“Our administration is partnering with every region in the Commonwealth to create new jobs, by tapping into the deep innovative and entrepreneurial spirit present in all of our communities,” said Lieutenant Governor Polito. “The collaborative workspaces funded here today will unlock potential across Massachusetts, by increasing the capacity of local organizations to become centers of creativity and innovation in their communities.”
“These targeted investments will give residents in every region access to the tools and expertise they need to launch new businesses, and contribute to their local innovation ecosystems,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “By investing in innovative workspaces, these grants will empower communities of every size and shape to participate in our state’s unrivaled innovation economy, and generate new growth from within their own borders.”
“MassDevelopment’s collaborative workspace strategy emphasizes community engagement, civic commitment, and fiscal responsibility, helping these entrepreneurs build sustainable spaces and drive the Commonwealth’s economy forward,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration and the Legislature for supporting this initiative and creating more opportunities to develop innovation related spaces across the entire Commonwealth.”
“Whether for students, startups or local economies, I’ve seen firsthand the immense impact that collaborative workspaces can have on entrepreneurialism and economic success,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “I’m excited about the potential of these grants and thank the Administration for its focus on bringing innovation to all of our communities.”
“Entrepreneurs and innovators are building some of the most promising businesses in Massachusetts today,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg. “Providing support for good, community-based companies helps our regional economies and strengthens our statewide economy overall. I’m excited to see what these outstanding grant recipients will now be able to do, thanks to the Collaborative Workspace Program.”
“The Collaborative Workspace Grants being awarded today will help foster innovation and community based entrepreneurship in Central Massachusetts and across the Commonwealth,” said Senator Michael Moore (D- Millbury). “This funding will strengthen key strategies aimed at ensuring the health of our economy going forward.”
“Innovative entrepreneurs are driving economic growth in MetroWest communities and across the state,” said Senate Committee on Ways and Means Chair Senator Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “These grants will boost resources available for local entrepreneurs and start-ups at places like TechSandBox and the Framingham State University Entrepreneurial Innovation Center, allowing our community organizations to provide indispensable networking opportunities, educational programming and logistical support to help get more innovative ideas off the ground.”
“These are the types of programs it is great to see the Commonwealth investing in: collaborative workspaces which encourage entrepreneurship and give back to local communities throughout the state, keeping creative energy alive in our communities,” said Representative Kate Campanale.
The Collaborative Workspace Program consolidates two capital authorizations included in the economic development legislation Governor Baker signed this past August. The consolidated grant program encompasses funds from a new community innovation infrastructure fund, which the Administration proposed in January, and from the Transformative Development Fund, which received a substantial recapitalization in the economic development legislation. The Collaborative Workspace Program creates a single point of entry for community-based organizations, located in both Gateway Cities and non-Gateways, seeking funding to advance locally-based innovation and entrepreneurship.
MassDevelopment will administer the program. The new grant program builds on MassDevelopment’s experience with collaborative workspaces, including commissioning a report on makerspaces in 2013, and funding Gateway City collaborative workspaces through the Transformative Development Initiative’s Cowork program.
The inaugural Collaborative Workspace Program grant round generated 62 proposals from organizations across Massachusetts, seeking a total of over $8.5 million in funding. The Administration is awarding 10 full fit-out grants, and 13 seed grants, for planning and business plan development. Half of the awarded projects are Gateway Cities.
The growth of innovation communities, and community-based entrepreneurship, are key goals of the Commonwealth’s comprehensive economic development plan, Opportunities for All.
The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development’s community-based innovation strategy builds on a review of the statewide innovation ecosystem. This comprehensive effort to map the state’s innovation ecosystem demonstrates the statewide reach of Massachusetts’ innovation economy: 118 communities, located in every region of the Commonwealth, contain at least one innovation space, program, or organization, with dense innovation hubs in every region of the state. The Baker-Polito Administration’s community-based innovation strategy focuses on growing these statewide innovation assets, and empowering community innovation stakeholders to drive regional job growth. For more information and to access the statewide innovation asset database, please click here.
2016 Collaborative Workspace Program Grant Winners
Artisan’s Asylum, Somerville - $100,000
The Artisan’s Asylum will make upgrades that will allow the facility, which is the largest makerspace on the East Coast, to expand its diverse community of makers, artists, engineers, craftspeople, and learners.
Cook Test+Launch, Greenfield and North Adams - $100,000
The Franklin County Community Development Corporation and Greylock WORKS will make strategic improvements to their facilities, enabling the launch of a new collaborative project that will grow new culinary businesses that support local food systems. This award complements a MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant supporting Greylock WORKS, and a Massachusetts Food Ventures Program award to the Franklin County CDC, both awarded in 2016.
Greater Gardner Business Incubator, Gardener - $20,000
The Greater Gardner Business Incubator will grow jobs in north central Massachusetts, and advance the redevelopment of downtown Gardner, by launching a new, immersive business incubator and coworking space.
MassDIGI New Ventures Center at Becker, Worcester - $50,000
Grant funding will support the development of the New Ventures Center, a new, publicly facing incubator lab for Becker College students and community entrepreneurs working in interactive media and digital game development, by financing the purchase of a state-of-the-art core computing network.
Stock Pot Malden LLC, Malden - $100,000
Collaborative Workspace Program funding will allow the Stock Pot, a food incubator serving a diverse mix of food wholesalers, catering companies, food trucks, meal kit providers, and specialty food providers, to expand its capacity, and offer new services to clients.
TechSandBox, Inc., Hopkington - $55,375
TechSandBox is a tech incubator providing collaborative coworking and maker space for entrepreneurs along the I-495 corridor. Grant funding will create new prototyping capacity, and make improvements to the incubator’s basic infrastructure.
The Maker Innovation Lab Lawrence, Lawrence - $64,850
The Maker Innovation Lab (The M.I.L.L) is a new Maker Space that will support community creative expression through workshops, hands-on forums, events and provide equipment, materials and tools necessary to support current and potential entrepreneurs.
The WorcShop, Worcester - $100,000
The WorcShop, a facility that combines studio and industrial shop space, will make critical improvements to its facility that will deepen the organization’s capacity to support art, innovation, and creativity in central Massachusetts.
UTEC Community Kitchen, Lowell - $50,000
UTEC’s new Community Kitchen project will engage immigrant and lower-income entrepreneurs from Lowell and beyond, by providing commercial kitchen capacity for prepared foods and food manufacturing.
Worcester Clean Tech Incubator, Worcester – $23,500
Collaborative Workspace Funding will advance the redevelopment of the historic Printers Building in Worcester, by supporting the expansion of the Worcester Clean Tech Incubator.
Bank Street Armory, Fall River - $25,000
Planning funds will allow the City of Fall River to conduct pre-development and feasibility work necessary to transform the historic, vacant Bank Street Armory facility into a new collaborative workspace, currently planned to include technology, textile design, and manufacturing.
Barnstable Innovation Center, Barnstable - $25,000
Planning funds will explore the feasibility of redeveloping the former Cape Cod Times building into a new coworking facility that would serve companies working in the blue economy.
CoWork Gloucester, Gloucester - $22,500
CoWork Gloucester will advance planning on a new collaborative workspace designed to spur new entrepreneurship in maritime and non-maritime businesses, and diversify Gloucester’s economy.
Creative Hub Worcester, Worcester - $23,500
Grant funding will accelerate the development of this new visual arts makerspace in Worcester, by funding a portion of the project’s predevelopment design and planning costs.
Fairmount Innovation Lab, Dorchester - $25,000
The Fairmount Innovation Lab will use seed grant funds to perform market study, feasibility and design work, in order to provide an appropriate mix of coworking, meeting, gathering, and maker space, as the Innovation Lab expands into a new, larger facility in Uphams Corner.
Holyoke Creative Arts Center, Holyoke - $13,000
The Holyoke Creative Arts Center will collaborate with the Brick coworking shop, to launch a new collaborative maker’s village. Grant funds will advance predevelopment work on the project, including design work and code review.
Holyoke Workforce and Innovation Center, Holyoke - $25,000
The Greater Holyoke Chamber Centennial Foundation and the City of Holyoke are pursuing an inclusive collaborative space that would co-locate with local career center, and other institutional partners, and would incubate businesses exiting the city’s SPARK entrepreneurship program. Seed grant funds will enable space planning, business and marketing plan writing, and other predevelopment costs. The proposed Workforce and Innovation Center would advance Holyoke’s ongoing work under the Working Cities Challenge and Urban Agenda.
Makers’ Mill, North Adams - $5,000
Makers’ Mill is a maker space partnership between MASS MoCA, MCLA, Williams College and the nonprofit incubator Lever, Inc. The collaboration provides workspace, equipment and classes for members and the general public in printmaking, fiber arts and book arts. Grant funding will allow for predevelopment work for Makers’ Mill to move to a larger space and incorporate additional partners.
The Record Company, Boston - $25,000
The Record Company is a music incubator with a mission to build the music economy in Massachusetts by providing space to artists and music consumers. Seed funding will fund a feasibility study, around the creation of a small format, neighborhood-based, multi-purpose music workspace.
Framingham State University Entrepreneurial Innovation Center, Framingham - $25,000
The Entrepreneurial Innovation Center (EIC) is a partnership between Framingham State and Workbar, providing co-working space and resources to the MetroWest community. Funding will support predevelopment work.
Inc.ubate Coworking, Winthrop - $25,000
Inc.ubate Coworking will offer amenities for entrepreneurs and professions, including expertise, office equipment, a business mentor program, monthly art exhibitions and educational events for members and the general public and will accommodate up to 35 professionals in a common work area.
Launchspace, Orange - $25,000
The Launchspace plans to take up residence in the Orange Innovation Center, repurposing a currently underutilized industrial space, and advancing industrial entrepreneurship in the North Quabbin region. Grant funding will support predevelopment planning. The Baker-Polito previously supported the Orange Innovation Center with a $200,000 MassWorks award in 2016, to upgrade public infrastructure so the center could expand to meet growing demand.
The Revolution Factory, Maynard - $25,000
The Revolution Factory is dedicated to helping local entrepreneurs turn ideas into businesses and this grant will build out their maker space in a larger space at Mill & Main allowing them to host a pre-accelerator program, accelerator program, incubation, co-working, community events and a maker space for designing, prototyping and small scale manufacturing.