For Immediate Release - September 23, 2016

Baker-Polito Administration Makes $1.2 Million Available for Community-Based Innovation

New programming in collaborative workspaces and entrepreneurship will support statewide job growth

Boston – September 23, 2016 – Today the Baker-Polito Administration announced a coordinated grant funding round to support community-based innovation and entrepreneurship in municipalities across Massachusetts. The $1.175 million funding round includes grants to support the physical workspaces that launch new businesses at the local level, as well as new funding for human capital development in entrepreneur mentorship programming. MassDevelopment will commit $500,000 to facilitate the development of collaborative workspaces in Gateway Cities, and $500,000 to develop collaborative workspaces in non-Gateway municipalities, while the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative will commit $175,000 to create a new statewide entrepreneurship support network.

“Our administration is connecting every region in Massachusetts to the innovation economy, creating a platform for sustainable statewide job growth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Through these new investments in innovative workspaces and entrepreneurship support systems, we are deepening the infrastructure of economic development at the local level, and fueling small business job creation.”

“These grant programs will help community-based stakeholders position themselves as anchors of the entrepreneurial economy,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The establishment of locally-grown innovation districts will empower every community in the Commonwealth to have a stake in moving the Massachusetts economy forward.”

As part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s ongoing commitment to community-based innovation and entrepreneurship, MassDevelopment is making $1 million in grant funding available to support the development of collaborative workspaces. The grant funding will finance construction and equipment purchases in a variety of shared innovation workspaces, including incubators and accelerators, innovation centers, maker spaces, and artist spaces. Half of the $1 million in grant funding will fund a new round of TDI Cowork, MassDevelopment’s program for accelerating innovation and business growth in the Commonwealth’s 26 Gateway Cities. Half of the grant pool will fund innovation workspaces in non-Gateway Cities. Programming authorization and grant funding is drawn from new capital authorizations provided by the economic development legislation Governor Baker signed this past August.

Additionally, the Innovation Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative is making up to $175,000 in grant funding available, to support the launch of a statewide Knowledge Sharing Network. This two-year pilot program will deepen the effectiveness of stakeholders across the Commonwealth engaged in community-based entrepreneurship mentoring, by providing a statewide platform for solving common problems and sharing best practices.

“Every community in Massachusetts possesses a deep spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, which is a powerful driver of regional growth,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “By providing both the physical and human capital needed to sustain local entrepreneurship, we are giving communities the tools they need to grow jobs from within.”

“MassDevelopment understands how important dynamic and successful collaborative workspaces can be to innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development in our cities and towns. The Agency looks forward to helping these projects develop throughout Massachusetts, giving innovators the foundation they need to enable their important work,” said Marty Jones, President and CEO of MassDevelopment. “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.”

“Sharing tools, knowledge, and resources around entrepreneur mentoring will help enhance both existing and thriving, entrepreneurship programs across Massachusetts, while kickstarting new mentoring efforts in the state,” said Pat Larkin, Interim Executive Director of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. “Our previous investments in mentorship-related programs, including MassChallenge, Entrepreneurship for All in the Merrimack Valley and the South Coast, and Valley Venture Mentors in Western Mass, have all contributed to strengthening the startup and innovation ecosystems across the Commonwealth in addition to many other entrepreneur support organizations across the state.  We look forward to building on existing success and helping enable entrepreneurs and new ventures to flourish all across Massachusetts.”

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.