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Baker-Polito Administration Awards $343,000 for Collaborative Workspaces in Western Massachusetts

October 24, 2017


Samantha Kaufman (HED) – 
Meggie Quackenbush (MassDevelopment)

HOLYOKE, MA – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced $343,845 in grants to seven organizations in western 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.” 

“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.”  

Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash announced the funds at an event at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke, the first in a series of announcements for the Collaborative Workspace Program awards. 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 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, Western Massachusetts

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.