For Immediate Release - May 16, 2017

BAKER-POLITO ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES NEARLY $2.1 MILLION FOR COLLABORATIVE WORKSPACES

Collaborative Workspaces Awards support entrepreneurship and small business creation across Massachusetts

Holyoke – May 16, 2017 – Today the Baker-Polito Administration announced $2,145,000 in funding for the second round of Collaborative Workspace Program grants, a MassDevelopment program that accelerates business formation, job creation, and entrepreneurial activity by supporting community-based innovation.  

Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito joined Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones, and Barr Foundation President and Trustee James Canales at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke to official open the second round of Collaborative Workspace Program grants. This new round includes $1 million from the Baker-Polito Administration’s FY18 Capital Plan, $500,000 from MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) fund, and $645,000 from the Barr Foundation, the first installment of a three-year $1,965,000 grant to the program to expand support for arts-related collaborative workspaces in the Commonwealth.

“We were pleased to propose this new program in our economic development bill last year and, building on the success of last year’s awards, we look forward to the innovative ideas to come in this next round,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These awards help meet the need for physical infrastructure that supports the growth of new, entrepreneurial ventures, and spurs local innovation and job creation.”

“Last year, we made 23 awards that are helping build a strong pipeline of compelling, projects across the state,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We are proud to collaborate with The Barr Foundation to increase capacity and continue supporting small, independent businesses that launch in Massachusetts every day.”

“Massachusetts continues to rank as the most innovative state, because we are seeing entrepreneurial instincts reach all corners of the economy, from engineering and manufacturing and technology, to food production and the arts,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “These grants support the type of community-based innovation that make Massachusetts unique, and create opportunities for long-term economic growth and job creation across sectors and regions.”

"The Collaborative Workspace Program grants are an extraordinary opportunity for cities like Holyoke to jump-start their local entrepreneurship initiatives," said Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse. "The Baker-Polito Administration has done an outstanding job at providing the resources Holyoke needs to allow community businesses, artists, and entrepreneurs to make a positive impact. Last year, the Holyoke Creative Arts Center and the Holyoke Workforce and Innovation Center received grants that have enabled them to thrive and expand. I commend the Administration for its hard work in making sure our business community has what it needs to create jobs, grow local business, and attract more economic activity to our city."

“MassDevelopment appreciates the Baker-Polito Administration’s ongoing investment in the Collaborative Workspace Program, and is thrilled that the Barr Foundation has generously supported this entrepreneurship initiative,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “The increased funding for this second round of grants will help expand on existing workspaces and launch new ones that will provide artists, small business owners, and entrepreneurs across the Commonwealth with the spaces and resources they need.”

The new partnership with the Barr Foundation will further encourage communities to broaden the reach of the Collaborative Spaces Program to include critical agents of experimentation, communication, education and expression: the creative economy and arts community. The Barr Foundation grant will provide additional capacity to further challenge spaces to engage more purposely with the arts and creative individuals and organizations. These grants will provide resources to arts-focused forums to pursue programming to enhance collaboration in cities and towns with their arts community

"Not only are arts and creative industries major economic drivers in Massachusetts, they also strengthen our social fabric by connecting people to ideas, cultures, history, and each other," said San San Wong, Senior Program Officer for Arts & Creativity at the Barr Foundation. “Barr is pleased to join with the Commonwealth and MassDevelopment in this effort to give artists and creatives the kinds of spaces they need to innovate and collaborate, and to contribute to the vitality of communities.”

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. Collaborative Spaces often feature open floor plans, community meeting spaces, and shared tools or equipment with emphasis on common and shared spaces. Emerging worldwide, these projects have been evolving in the Commonwealth for the past 5-8 years, starting in more traditional 'hubs' of innovation sectors, but quickly expanding. They are by their nature organizations that are engaged with arts and creative institutions and are open to collaboration.

MassDevelopment administers the state’s program, which builds upon its work funding Gateway City collaborative workspaces through TDI’s Cowork program. The first round of Collaborative Workspace Program grants awarded more than $950,000 in grant funding to 23 organizations: 10 fit-out grants to develop and expand  shared workspaces, including innovation centers, incubators, artist spaces, collaborative kitchens, and co-work spaces; and seed grants to fund planning efforts and build the capacity of 13 additional collaborative workspaces.

The Commonwealth’s comprehensive economic development plan, Opportunities for All, focuses on growing statewide innovation assets and empowering community innovation stakeholders to drive regional job growth. The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development’s community-based innovation strategy builds on a map of the Commonwealth’s innovation ecosystem that demonstrates the reach of Massachusetts’ innovation economy: 118 communities contain at least one innovation space, program, or organization, with dense innovation hubs in every region. For more information and to access the statewide innovation asset database, please click here.