On October 26, the Baker-Polito Administration awarded $1,257,592 million to 20 organizations in eastern Massachusetts to strengthen community-based innovation and entrepreneurship in the Commonwealth’s cities and towns. The second round of these Collaborative Workspace Program awards, managed by MassDevelopment, will build physical infrastructure to support new entrepreneurial ventures while spurring innovation and job creation at the local level.
“Massachusetts is home to an unrivaled innovation economy that has made us a destination for cutting-edge, world-class companies,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These awards will lay a strong foundation for entrepreneurs collaborating to research and develop their ideas and businesses, driving job creation, economic growth and next generation advancements.”
Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash announced the funds at an event at the Fairmount Innovation Lab in Boston, the second in a series of announcements for the Collaborative Workspace Program awards. Secretary Ash previously announced more than $340,000 in funding through the program for seven Western Massachusetts organizations. Today’s awards include funding to support fit-out and feasibility work to grow collaborative spaces, innovation centers, maker spaces, artist spaces, collaborative kitchens, and cowork spaces.
“The Collaborative Workspace Program strengthens local and regional economies by supporting community-based companies and generating new growth in cities and towns across the Commonwealth,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We are pleased these targeted investments will help spur job creation and empower entrepreneurs, creators, and small business owners.”
“The Collaborative Workspace Program bolsters Massachusetts’ innovation and creative economies by providing entrepreneurs with physical space, mentorship, training opportunities, and investment capital,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “We are thrilled to announce this second round of funding through the program, which will help advance community-based innovation throughout the Commonwealth.”
The Baker-Polito administration announced this second funding round in May 2017. It includes $1 million from the Baker-Polito Administration’s fiscal year 2018 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 are grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration for supporting small business growth, creativity, and entrepreneurship through the Collaborative Workspace Program,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “This grant funding will provide innovators and creators with the resources necessary to allow their new ventures to take root, flourish, and drive the Massachusetts economy forward.”
“Nearly 310,000 people work in New England’s creative sector, collectively earning more than $17 billion per year,” said San San Wong, Barr Foundation Director of Arts and Creativity. “Barr is pleased to join with the Commonwealth and MassDevelopment in this effort to give these workers the kinds of spaces they need to connect, collaborate, and innovate – and that also become vital community gathering spaces.”
The Collaborative Workspace Program provides grants for community-based organizations 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. 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.
In August 2016, Governor Baker signed comprehensive economic development legislation, An Act Relative to Job Creation and Workforce Development. This legislation created the Community Innovation Infrastructure Fund and capitalized the TDI fund, 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 the Commonwealth’s innovation ecosystem and 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.
2017 Collaborative Workspace Program Grant Winners
The Colab: The Collaborative Making Space @ Arlington, Arlington – $25,000
The CoLab @ Arlington will offer a modern, hands-on learning environment through collaborative STEAM-based programs for students, parents, teachers, administrators, education technology providers, and the community at large; and an incubator that will provide a unique and supportive working environment for EdTech entrepreneurs. The grant will fund a feasibility study for the facility.
Bartlett Station Food Retail Incubator, Boston – $25,000
Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation is developing Barlett Station Food Incubator, a 2,000-square-foot food retail incubator within a mixed-use building under construction in Boston’s Dudley Square. The space will address the neighborhood’s need to connect micro-businesses to affordable space and provide them with networked support. This grant will assist Nuestra Comunidad with architectural design costs for the space.
Fairmount Innovation Lab, Boston – $ 85,000
The Fairmount Innovation Lab is a cross-sector incubator, accelerator, and collaborative workspace for launching and growing creative enterprises along Boston’s Fairmount Indigo corridor and within adjacent communities. The Lab will use this grant to develop and equip 3,050-square-foot of additional collaborative work space in its existing building.
The FPAC Space, Boston – $151,000
The Fort Point Arts Community Inc. is planning to create The FPAC Space, a collaborative arts incubator and venue for film, new media, music, fine art, dance, poetry, and craft programming. The grant will be used to fund state-of-the art digital media, video, and AV equipment; lighting and signage; and the millwork and cabinetry needed for the sale art and craft items.
Makerspace Urban Artists-in-Residence, Brockton – $26,314
Located in the heart of downtown Brockton, Fuller Craft Museum’s Makerspace will be a hub of artistic exploration and community experiences with the arts. This 1,568-square-foot facility will be used to bring youth programming, workshops, open studios, and gallery talks to the heart of the Brockton community. Led by Artists-in-Residence, these programs will encourage the exploration of craft and offer a unique and vibrant experience for Brocktonians.
The Village Works, Brookline – $10,000
The Village Works is a neighborhood coworking space that serves members and the broader community through coworking, collaborative and meeting space, community building, and public events. This grant will help fund soundproofing and audio-visual equipment.
Business Innovation Center, Fall River – $85,000
The Business Innovation Center is an incubator office, education center, makerspace, and coworking space in downtown Fall River. It currently houses coworking spaces; private and shared offices and meeting rooms; and a makerspace with 3D printing, multimedia production, and other technology for building prototypes and experimenting with new ideas. The grant will fund needed improvements, including making the building handicapped accessible, creating a large open workspace, adding a food service area, and improving access to the makerspace area.
Fitchburg Arts Community, Fitchburg – $25,000
NewVue Communities, sponsor of the Fitchburg Arts Community, will use this grant conduct a feasibility analysis that will help shape amenities and programming for a planned artist community and downtown arts campus. Artist community cohesion will be reinforced with public art, gallery and studio space, and a landscape plan that knits the entire site together by creating an arts campus that connects to the Fitchburg Art Museum with downtown Fitchburg.
Framingham Makerspace Inc., Framingham – $101,017
Framingham Makerspace explores the intersection of art, technology, and community by providing space, equipment, classes, and a supportive community that lowers the barriers to making. The makerspace will use the grant to expand its existing space by 3,000 square feet, featuring eight studio spaces for artists and entrepreneurs and an expanded shop area.
The Maker Innovation Lab Lawrence (The MILL), Lawrence – $18,500
The Maker Innovation Lab Lawrence (The MILL) is a maker lab that drives growth of small, independent manufacturing businesses by providing access to machinery, equipment, experience, and a collaborative community. This grant funding will allow The MILL to buy new equipment for its textile design lab, install a member key-card system, and build out its darkroom.
Movement Union Studio, Lawrence – $44,825
The Movement Union Studio is an arts studio space available to rent at a low and affordable cost by dancers, fitness professionals, cultural groups, and movers of all kinds to hold their dance classes and events. The space is run cooperatively, with shared equipment, schedules, marketing, and contacts. Movement Union Studio will use this grant for the fit-out of the space, including dance flooring, windows, and equipment for arts-related spaces.
The Revolution Factory, Maynard – $102,000
The Revolution Factory supports start-ups, small businesses, independent professionals, and corporate innovators. The Revolution Factory is building out a new space at Mill & Main in Maynard, and will use this grant to fit-out, equip, and transform this expanded space to grow its collaboration and innovation memberships, innovations labs and programming, and entrepreneurial and workforce training.
Martha’s Vineyard Co-Creative Space at Featherstone Center for the Arts, Oak Bluffs – $15,000
Featherstone Center for the Arts is a year-round arts center on Martha’s Vineyard that offers art classes for children and adults in a variety of art disciplines, and hosts art shows and cultural and artistic events that encompass the visual, literary, and musical and performing arts. Featherstone will use this grant to assess the island’s need for a collaborative workspace and maker space for the creative, nonprofit, and small business entrepreneurial communities; and to create a successful business model and design plan for sustainability of the Martha’s Vineyard Co-Creative Space.
The Artisan’s Asylum, Somerville – $57,242
The Artisan’s Asylum is a community workshop and one of the world’s largest and most prominent makerspaces. Beyond its shops, tools, classes and workspace is a community dedicated to inspiring and enabling individuals to create the things they imagine. The grant will be used to update aging tools within the workshop.
Greentown Labs Wet Lab, Global Center for Cleantech Innovation, Somerville – $100,000
Greentown Labs is the largest cleantech start-up incubator in the United States. Its Global Center for Cleantech Innovation is expected to open in October 2017 and will support more than 100 startups. The grant will help fund Greentown’s new wet lab, a project within Greentown Labs 2017 expansion project that will fill a key gap in Massachusetts’ cleantech ecosystem. The 24-bench wet lab will support cleantech companies working in water, advanced materials, and green chemistry.
Nibble Kitchen, 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 enables low-income immigrant residents of Somerville and surrounding communities to build viable food-related businesses, allowing them to sidestep many of the higher education and linguistic barriers that can limit their success. This grant will support fit-out for a full commercial Nibble Kitchen within Somerville’s Bow Market.
Inc.ubate Coworking LLC, Winthrop – $100,000
Inc.ubate Coworking provides a new and better way to work in a comfortable, convenient, professional setting. The space blends an old New England coastal tradition with modern technology and a forward-thinking, innovative mind set. Here, entrepreneurs, remote-workers, freelancers, start-ups and small businesses come together under one roof, to work, network, educate, collaborate and become a community. This grant will fund construction costs associated with the space.
MassDiGI New Ventures Center at Becker College, Worcester – $35,000
The MassDiGI New Ventures Center at Becker College is a community-facing business assistance center and incubation laboratory for students and novice entrepreneurs. The Center also functions as a virtual incubation host for interactive media, game development, and technology-centric undergraduate and graduate students and novice entrepreneurs from across the state with a focus on Gateway Cities. This grant will be used to create the first-ever augmented and virtual reality lab of its kind in central Massachusetts.
Technocopia, Worcester – $85,808
Technocopia is nonprofit, membership-based, 10,000-square-foot maker and work space, with rental bays and a variety of tools with which artisans can create and work. Technocopia offers training classes and workshops in its wood shop, classroom, and computer lab, digital fabrication shop, glass shop, design studio, and metal shop. This grant will help fund new workspaces, complete spaces that are in progress, expand community outreach, and increase class offerings.
Worcester Idea Lab, Worcester – $104,275
The Worcester Idea Lab is a collaboration space located in downtown Worcester’s Theatre District and Transformative Development Initiative District. This grant will enhance the Worcester Idea Lab’s space offerings and improve member access with additional classroom space that will elevate activity in the space.
Previously Announced 2017 Collaborative Workspace Program Awards
Easthampton Co.Lab, Easthampton – $5,700
Easthampton Co.Lab is a member-run coworking space in Easthampton’s Eastworks Building that provides physical space and support structures for individuals to co-work, cross-pollinate, teach, learn, and collaborate within the context of community. This grant will allow Co.Lab to assess two unoccupied buildings on the Eastworks property for possible development into an innovation center and creative hub.
Gateway City Arts, Holyoke – $165,000
Gateway City Arts provides cowork facilities and networking opportunities for artists, artisans, and small-business entrepreneurs through memberships and flexible use of facilities such as cubicles, retail space, small business offices, commercial kitchen, a woodworking shop, and a ceramics studio. The grant will be used to increase accessibility and flexibility by replacing the current freight elevator with an ADA-compliant passenger elevator.
SPARK Coworkspace, Holyoke – $64,545
The SPARK Coworkspace is an affordable and flexible space for new startups, aspiring entrepreneurs, and business professionals to grow their businesses and meet new people in an exciting environment that encourages innovation and collaboration. This grant will allow SPARK to improve the space’s accessibility, make minor cosmetic enhancements, and update technology.
City Pop, North Adams – $3,000
City Pop is a food-oriented business incubator that will support food entrepreneurs with a commercial kitchen space, mentorship, investment capital, and direct-to-consumer sales. This grant will fund a study to explore the feasibility of incorporating a food entrepreneurship center within Lever’s operations.
Cloud85 Co-Working Space, North Adams – $5,600
Cloud85 is a hybrid coffee shop and office space that promotes productivity and community. This grant will fund the installation of two sound-proof phone booths and add soundproofing to two reservable office spaces.
Make-It Springfield, Springfield – $25,000
Make-It Springfield is a community-run workshop space for local makers, artisans, crafters, entrepreneurs, programmers, students, doers and enthusiasts to share their skill-sets. Located in the city’s Transformative Development Initiative District, Make-It Springfield is a place for community members of all backgrounds to learn new skills and build relationships. This grant will fund a feasibility study into securing new space for the workshop that would allow the workshop to provide additional activities, such as woodworking, metal fabrication, coding, and printmaking.
Quaboag Community Kiln and Art Works, Ware – $75,000
Quaboag Community Kiln and Art Works is a maker space, gallery, network, and training space for local potters, artists, and craftspersons. This grant will help the space expand with a facility that will include an artisan gallery with a storefront for artists and craftspersons to sell their work, shared professional space with broadband service, and a workshop for the production of sculpture and wheel-thrown and hand-built pottery.