Massachusetts Supports Community-Based Innovation Programs

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(Photo: Greentown Labs in Somerville) 

The Baker-Polito Administration recently 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 physical workspaces that launch new businesses at the local level, as well as new funding for human capital development in entrepreneur mentorship programming.

Governor Charlie Baker said the Administration “is connecting every region in Massachusetts to the innovation economy, creating a platform for sustainable statewide job growth. 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.”

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

MassDevelopment is making $1 million in grant funding available to support the development of collaborative workspaces. It includes $500,000 to facilitate the workspaces in Gateway Cities, and $500,000 to workspaces in non-Gateway municipalities.

The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative is committing $175,000 to create a new statewide entrepreneurship support network through its Innovation Institute. It plans to help launch a statewide Knowledge Sharing Network, a two-year pilot program that will provide a statewide platform for solving common problems and sharing best practices.

Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash “Every community in Massachusetts possesses a deep spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, which is a powerful driver of regional growth. 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.”

Marty Jones, President and CEO of MassDevelopment, thanked the Baker-Polito Administration and the Legislature “for supporting this initiative and creating more opportunities to develop innovation related spaces across the entire Commonwealth.”

Pat Larkin, Interim Executive Director of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, said the entrepreneur mentoring program “will help enhance both existing and thriving, entrepreneurship programs across Massachusetts, while kick starting new mentoring efforts in the state.

The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development has made a comprehensive effort to map the state’s innovation ecosystem. It found that 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.

Here is more information on the Massachusetts Community-Based Innovation Program.