Press Release

Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Announces $2.2 Million for Collaborative Workspaces

For immediate release:
  • Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
  • Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces $2.2 Million for Collaborative Workspaces

Colleen Arons , Communications Director

CONCORDToday, the Baker-Polito Administration announced $2,200,387 in grants to 28 organizations to strengthen community-based innovation and entrepreneurship in 21 communities across the Commonwealth. The third round of the Collaborative Workspace Program, managed by MassDevelopment, will build physical infrastructure to support new entrepreneurial ventures while spurring innovation and job creation at the local level.

“Massachusetts is a global leader in innovation and is home to cutting-edge companies and creative entrepreneurs,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By supporting the development of collaborative workspaces across the Commonwealth, we’re creating opportunities for small, independent businesses and supporting job creation and community building that will continue to propel our state forward.”

“Since it launched in 2016, through its creation in our Administration’s first Economic Development bill, this program has helped many collaborative workspaces and entrepreneurial ventures open their doors or expand in Massachusetts,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “I am proud join state and local officials and members of our state’s innovation economy today to announce that another 28 workspaces will receive the resources they need to grow locally based innovation in their communities.”

Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito joined MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss, Senator Michael Barrett, Representative Cory Atkins, Concord Town Manager Christopher Whelan, and the Umbrella Community Arts Center Executive Director Jerry Wedge to announce the awards today at the Umbrella Community Arts Center in Concord. Secretary Jay Ash previously announced a $231,372 grant to Provincetown Commons, the first award made in the third round of Collaborative Workspace Program grants.

“The Collaborative Workspace Program has enabled the Baker-Polito Administration to invest in infrastructure that supports our innovation ecosystem,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “Through our third round of this program, we’re proud to continue supporting the physical infrastructure necessary for entrepreneurs and innovators across the state to access our world-class innovation economy.”

“The Collaborative Workspace Program provides a shot in the arm for entrepreneurs looking to develop or grow a coworking space within their community,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “MassDevelopment is proud to oversee this important program on behalf of the Commonwealth, and we congratulate all those receiving awards today.”

Through its first two rounds of grants, the Collaborative Workspace Program provided $3 million in funding to more than 50 organizations for the planning, development, and build-out of different types of collaborative workspaces.

In June 2018, the Baker-Polito Administration and MassDevelopment announced the opening of the third round of program grants. Eligible organizations could apply for either seed grants to plan and study the feasibility of new collaborative workspaces, or fit-out grants to develop and expand existing workspaces.


Through the first three rounds of the program, collaborative workspaces have reported more than 7,000 users, garnered 2,000 members and occupy approximately 375,000 square feet in cities and towns across Massachusetts. More than 30 awards have benefited innovation spaces in the state’s Gateway Cities.

“Culture sparks innovation and creativity,” said Representative Cory Atkins. “This grant will give artists and entrepreneurs the opportunity to contribute to the economic vitality of our communities. I can’t think of a better investment.”

“The recognition by the Governor’s Office of the importance of community-based innovation is both welcomed and appreciated by our community,” said Concord Town Manager Chris Whelan.  “As a local government entity, we work tirelessly to foster unique, lasting and beneficial partnerships which work to empower small businesses and enrich our economic development efforts.”

MassDevelopment’s continued partnership with the Barr Foundation broadens the reach of the Collaborative Workspace Program to include the creative sector, a critical source of innovation and positive community change.

“Arts and creativity are essential for vibrant, vital, and engaged communities,” says San San Wong, Arts & Creativity Program Director at the Barr Foundation. “It is our privilege to partner with the Commonwealth and MassDevelopment to jointly invest in the potential of artists and creative entrepreneurs. In the supportive environment of these collaborative workspaces, they will encounter diverse ideas, launch new enterprises, and grow small businesses that will infuse vibrancy and economic activity in their communities.”

"The Umbrella Community Arts Center, located in the heart of the Concord Center Cultural District, is thrilled to receive this extraordinary grant from the Collaborative Workplace Program through Mass Development and the Barr Foundation.  This grant funds the equipment for a new Makerspace, an integral part of our major construction project to create a unique regional art center,” said Umbrella Community Arts Center Executive Director Jerry Wedge. “The Umbrella will be a magnet for creators, teachers, and students and a significant addition to our creative economy. We are very grateful to the Commonwealth, the town of Concord, and the generous donors who have embraced this project and we look forward to welcoming everyone to our new facilities in the fall of 2019.”




About MassDevelopment

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2018, MassDevelopment financed or managed 384 projects generating investment of more than $4.1 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 10,994 jobs and build or rehabilitate 830 housing units. To learn more, visit:



2018 Collaborative Workspace Program Grant Winners

LaunchSpace, Athol - $105,000
LaunchSpace currently operates a coworking space at the Orange Innovation Center and is now opening a second location in a former school building in Athol. The new space will operate as a community kitchen, coworking space, and will provide opportunities for workforce education and development. The grant will be used to replace the building’s broken heating system.

Artists for Humanity, Boston - $250,000
This collaborative maker studio, located in the newly expanded EpiCenter, will be equipped with tools and technology to help Boston-area youth to produce transformative art and top-quality professional creative services. The grant will be used for third-party labor and materials for workspace improvements, including interior fit-out costs, soft costs, and equipment purchases.

Fab@CIC, Boston - $33,466
Fab@CIC is a digital fabrication lab and makerspace that provides public access to tools for fabrication and technical invention within a supportive start-up community.  The organization will use grant funds to outfit its current space to better support collaborative work amongst start-ups, makers, and would-be makers. Upgrades to the facility will include more user-friendly workstations, graphic designs for visual placemaking, purpose-built material and tool storage solutions, and movable partition walls to help members quickly convert the multi-use space for events.

The Record Co., Boston - $25,000
The Record Co. is an affordable recording co-workspace for Boston-area musicians. Grant funds will assist with pre-build design costs for the organization’s new recording studio and rehearsal suites.


The Umbrella Community Arts Center, Concord - $85,000
The Umbrella Community Arts Center is creating a makerspace that can support artists, students, and entrepreneurs as they explore and innovate. The grant will be used for buildout and for the purchase of equipment for a digital arts and design room, makerspace classroom, fabrication lab, and production shop.

NewVue Communities, Fitchburg - $25,000
NewVue Communities sponsors the Fitchburg Arts Community, a future 58-units mixed-income artist-preference housing development and studio space located at the site of the former BF Brown School, the former City Stables, and the former high school annex building. The project will support artist community cohesion with public art, gallery and studio space, and a landscape plan that knits the entire site together with an arts campus that connects to the Fitchburg Art Museum and downtown Fitchburg. This grant will be used to provide the necessary site engineering needed to support 40R rezoning efforts for the project.

Zea Mays Printmaking, Florence - $92,500
Zea Mays Printmaking is a studio, gallery, educational facility, and research center with a focus on sustainable printmaking practices. Zea Mays offers workshops, exhibitions, and residencies. The grant will fund HVAC upgrades, a new letterpress, screen-printing studios, print storage, and equipment.

BamRock Entertainment LLC, Framingham - $135,783
BamRock Entertainment’s Red 13 Studios is a membership-based collaborative for musicians, artists, videographers, photographers, and other creatives. Funds will be used to build and furnish additional spaces including a collaborative visual studio, dedicated coworking and community space (including a kitchen), and administrative offices, and for the purchase of new and/or used equipment.

Studio for Integrated Craft, Great Barrington - $147,572
Studio for Integrated Craft is a collaborative workspace in a repurposed mill building, founded with the goal of fostering a professional creative community. The grant will be used to renovate a 25,000-square-foot building including architectural, structural and electrical engineering, demolition and removal of heavy existing machinery, and masonry and roof repairs.


Berkshire Community College, Great Barrington - $25,000
Berkshire Community College is proposing a learning kitchen and coworking space at its South County Center on Main Street in Great Barrington.  Funds will be used for a feasibility analysis, engineering, and design costs.

Creatorpult Makerspace, Haverhill - $25,602
Creatorpult Makerspace and Coworking currently offers classes, space, equipment, and tools for 3D printing, electronics troubleshooting/prototyping, model, miniature & 3D print painting, airbrushing, and wood carving. Funds will be used for new equipment including industrial 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC machines; a robotics lab; and furnishings.

60 Island Street, Lawrence - $89,500
The coworking space will use grant funds for the repair and remodeling of the existing historic mill space, and for acquiring equipment like a copier and scanner, work tables, conference room furniture and fixtures, common area finishes, and Bluetooth-accessible locks.

Mill City Grows, Lowell - $20,000
Mill City Grows is using funds to hire a consultant to guide them in developing an Urban Food & Sustainability Center in partnership with the Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust.  The feasibility study will explore the viability of purchasing the last privately-owned farm in Lowell and developing the Center, which will house an incubator space for other food entrepreneurs, gardeners, and educators, and will be open and accessible to the public.

Brickyard Collaborative, Lynn - $56,000
The Brickyard Collaborative is proposing a hybrid makerspace/incubator/coworking/kitchen in Lynn.  Funds will be used for buildout and equipment acquisition.

Cultural Alliance of Medfield, Medfield - $25,000
Funding will allow the nonprofit Cultural Alliance of Medfield to assess two unoccupied buildings at the former Medfield State Hospital for a redevelopment that includes a makerspace, commercial kitchen, visual arts studios, and flexible-use arts-related space as part of a seven-building cultural campus that will also include live/work units, a performing arts venue, classrooms, and outdoor events.

BoroBot Incorporated, Middleborough - $7,500
The BoroBot Makerspace will educate and train members in CAD Design, 3D printing and CNC machining, electronics, and programming microcontrollers in the pursuit of a broad spectrum innovation pathway to employment or entrepreneurship. Funding will be used to acquire equipment including 3D printers, a CNC machine, and an alarm system.

Waterfront Historic Area League of New Bedford, d/b/a WHALE New Bedford, New Bedford - $14,165
WHALE’s Co-Creative Center (CO+) is a 10,000-square-foot development designed to establish a footprint for creative enterprise in New Bedford's historic downtown to connect, support and celebrate artists and cultural entrepreneurship. This formerly abandoned block has been transformed into a collaborative retail, living, and arts space that includes a community gallery, education center, and makerspace. Funds will be used for various acoustic and sound isolation structural components, as well as IT, photography, and vinyl, paper, and mat cutters.

Empow Studios, Newton - $89,931
Empow Studios is a recently opened community learning and innovation space focused on AR/VR technologies and related fields of 3D design and robotics among others.  Funds will be used for construction of a control room, storage, and equipment.

Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce, Newton - $25,000
The Newton Innovation Center is seeking a new home. Seed funding will be used for construction cost verification, and operational models.

Provincetown Commons, Provincetown - $231,372
The Provincetown Commons is a hybrid economic development center, coworking, makerspace and arts-related space. Educational programs will provide economic development support for start-ups, individual professionals, artists, designers, and small business owners. Funds will complete the renovation of a 10,000-square-foot building and help the organization purchase furnishings and IT equipment. 

The Quincy 2000 Corporation, Quincy - $75,000
Quincy Center for Innovation coworking space is proposing a move to Quincy Square and will use funds for furniture, IT equipment, and lighting.


City of Somerville, Somerville - $61,610
Nibble Kitchen is a coworking and arts-related space that works with the Nibble Culinary Entrepreneurship Program, developed and run by the Somerville Arts Council. Nibble offers licensed kitchen, vending, and teaching space to emerging culinary entrepreneurs from the area's diverse immigrant communities. Nibble's fit-out will include installation of a full commercial kitchen within Bow Market in Union Square.

Valley Venture Mentors, Springfield - $142,000
Valley Venture Mentors works with innovators and entrepreneurs through a coworking, maker and accelerator space. Funds will be used for furnishings, equipment, and security systems to support their move to the Springfield Innovation Center.

Wellspring Cooperative Corporation, Springfield - $25,000
Wellspring Cooperative is co-developing a shared commercial kitchen incubator with Gasoline Alley, a business incubator with a sustainable business mission in Springfield. Gasoline Alley is building out the initial 1,200-square-foot start-up kitchen. Grant funding will support a feasibility study for expanding into an additional 3,000-square-foot space that would incubate new cooperative and community food businesses, process its own food products for anchor institution markets, and develop a “Food Business 101” training program for entrepreneurs.  

Alternatives Unlimited, Whitinsville - $22,500
Alternatives Unlimited and its arts and culture subsidiary, ValleyCAST, will use funding to undertake a feasibility study and strategic plan for the Whitin Mill Complex, as well as additional property operated by Alternatives in the Blackstone Valley. The project seeks wider use of these properties in collaboration with artists, community groups, educational institutions, and entrepreneurs for the long term.

Creative Hub Worcester, Worcester - $94,506
Creative Hub Worcester is building a makerspace within its future arts center where artists, entrepreneurs, innovators, hobbyists, and students can come together and work in a dynamic ecosystem of fine arts genres using high-quality equipment. Funds will be used for construction, furnishings, and equipment.

526 Main Street Partners, Worcester - $250,000
526 Main Street Partners propose an arts-related studio space and creative retail incubator. The developer will use grant funds to renovate, outfit, and equip the studio. Fixtures will include sinks, countertops, large open areas, drying racks, and private workspaces. In addition to the fixtures and equipment, a large portion of the funds will be used to renovate the space and bring it up to modern building code and standards.

Becker College, Worcester - $21,400
Grant funding will be used to create the first ever eSports lab of its kind in central Massachusetts. The project will also add capacity to the AR/VR lab located at the New Ventures Center at the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) within Becker College's Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship.



Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces $2.2 Million for Collaborative Workspaces

Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development 

The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development promotes vibrant communities, growing businesses, and a strong middle class.

Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito

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