Baker-Polito Administration Announces $1.9 Million for Collaborative Workspaces
Program funds physical infrastructure that will benefit entrepreneurial ventures at thirty-one local organizations
WORCESTER, January 9, 2020 — Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced $1,892,910 in grants to 31 organizations to strengthen community-based innovation and entrepreneurship in 22 communities throughout the Commonwealth. 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.
“Massachusetts’ economy thrives when local entrepreneurs, creators, and small business owners have the space and resources they need to be successful,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Collaborative Workspace Program represents an important tool for our Administration to foster innovation and drive job growth in the Commonwealth.”
“I’ve been proud to tour several coworking spaces around the Commonwealth to see firsthand how the Collaborative Workspace Program is supporting job creation and community building,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “I was pleased to announce grants today to 31 organizations, which will use funding to improve or expand their coworking spaces, buy needed equipment, or explore opportunities for a coworking space in their city or town.”
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 today at WorcLab in Worcester.
“This funding builds on the Baker-Polito Administration’s first economic development bill and three grant rounds we have supported since 2016,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “Coworking spaces are at the epicenter of Massachusetts’ innovation ecosystem, and we are pleased to further invest in these unique facilities in every region of the state.”
“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,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “MassDevelopment is proud to administer this forward-thinking program on behalf of the Commonwealth, and we thank the Baker-Polito Administration, the legislature, and the Barr Foundation for their continued support.”
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.
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.
“It is our privilege to partner with the Commonwealth and MassDevelopment on this investment in artists and creative entrepreneurs to bolster Massachusetts’ innovation economy,” said San San Wong, Arts & Creativity Program Director at the Barr Foundation. “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.”
In June 2019, the Baker-Polito Administration and MassDevelopment announced the opening of the fourth 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 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.
“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,” said Representative Mary S. Keefe. “This Fit-Out grant helps to spread the wealth of our Commonwealth and allow for more folks to have opportunity for making and creating.”
“Congratulations to WorcLab on today’s announcement and I look forward to great things to come out of this space. We’re seeing coworking and manufacturing organizations like this creating dynamic spaces for everything from entrepreneurs to afterschool programs,” said Mayor Joseph M. Petty. “I want to thank the Baker-Polito administration and the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development for their continued support of Worcester and for subsidizing so generously the cost of discovery in our growing innovation economy.”
“WorcLab is grateful for the continued support of MassDevelopment,” said WorcLab Executive Director and Board Chairman Larry Genovesi. “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.”
MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth. During FY2019, MassDevelopment financed or managed 316 projects generating investment of more than $2 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 9,743 jobs and build or preserve 1,992 housing units.
Old Stone Mill, Adams – $75,000
The Old Stone Mill aims to be a community-accessible space for creative expression, collaboration, innovation, and zero-waste practice and education. The center will use this grant to bring the rehabilitated mill building up to code and allow the center to open to the public by improving the electrical system and completing water sealant projects and accessibility improvements.