The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $1,892,910 in grants to 31 organizations to strengthen community-based innovation and entrepreneurship in 22 Massachusetts communities through the Collaborative Workspace Program.
Lt. Governor Karyn Polito joined MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss, Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus, and WorcLab Executive Director and Board Chairman Larry Genovesi to announce the awards at WorcLab in Worcester.
Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement that the Massachusetts economy thrives “when local entrepreneurs, creators, and small business owners have the space and resources they need to be successful. The Collaborative Workspace Program represents an important tool for our Administration to foster innovation and drive job growth in the Commonwealth.”
Lt. Governor Polito said the Collaborative Workspace Program support job creation and community building, adding that the 31 organizations will “improve or expand their coworking spaces, buy needed equipment, or explore opportunities for a coworking space in their city or town.”
This is the fourth round of the Collaborative Workspace Program, administered by MassDevelopment, will build physical infrastructure to support new entrepreneurial ventures while spurring innovation and job creation at the local level. Through its first three rounds of grants, the Collaborative Workspace Program provided over $5 million in 81 awards for the planning, development, and build-out of different types of collaborative workspaces.
Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy called coworking spaces “the epicenter of Massachusetts’ innovation ecosystem, and we are pleased to further invest in these unique facilities in every region of the state.”
Liss said the Collaborative Workspaces Program “provides the infrastructure for Massachusetts residents to grow their businesses, advance ideas, and connect to one another with an energy that drives our communities forward.”
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.
Barr Foundation Arts & Creativity Program Director San San Wong said the program is an “investment in artists and creative entrepreneurs to bolster Massachusetts’ innovation economy. In the supportive environment of these collaborative workspaces, they will develop new ideas, find new partners, launch new enterprises, and grow small businesses that will infuse vibrancy and economic activity in their communities.”
Through the first three rounds of the program, collaborative workspaces have added 3,771 users since implementing their grant-funded projects, and occupy approximately 575,000 square feet in cities and towns across Massachusetts. Many awards have benefited innovation spaces in the state’s Gateway Cities.
Representative Mary S. Keefe said, “We are really proud of the grassroots innovation that has taken hold here in Worcester, and now has a home right downtown in the Printers Building. This Fit-Out grant helps to spread the wealth of our Commonwealth and allow for more folks to have opportunity for making and creating.”
Mayor Joseph M. Petty said, “We’re seeing coworking and manufacturing organizations like this creating dynamic spaces for everything from entrepreneurs to afterschool programs.”
Genovesi said, “WorcLab is grateful for the continued support of MassDevelopment. Our goal is to create entrepreneurial opportunities for Worcester’s diverse community. These grants allow us to continue to improve the WorcLab facility and offer new and innovative programs to our members.”