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Grant funding supports four Franklin County makerspaces

January 13, 2020 : Greenfield Recorder, by Melina Bourdeau

GREENFIELD — Upgrades and expansions are now possible for three existing makerspaces, while another is receiving help to get started, thanks to grant funding the Baker-Polito Administration announced last week.

The workspaces were awarded the following: $3,500 for Another Castle LLC in Greenfield, $25,000 for Greenspace CoWork, $25,000 for The Hive makerspace in Greenfield and $100,000 for LaunchSpace in Orange.

The grants are part of a total of $1,892,910 in funding presented to 31 organizations to strengthen community-based innovation and entrepreneurship in 22 communities throughout the state. 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, according to a MassDevelopment press release.

As Greenspace CoWork within the Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center is reaching capacity, co-founder Jeff Sauser said the organization will use its $25,000 to expand into a nearby building.

“We’re using the funding to complete our expansion into a second space in the second floor of 278 Main St.,” Sauser said. “The new space complements our original space, offering unique open seating areas (including a sunny, grassy lawn overlooking Main Street), additional meeting spaces and offices.”

All Greenspace CoWork members will have access to both spaces, which are directly across the street from each other, Sauser said.

“Each offers a distinct aesthetic to provide a greater variety of environments and amenities to support a broad range of professionals, entrepreneurs, students and other creatives,” he said.

Meanwhile, LaunchSpace, located within the Orange Innovation Center, will use its $100,000 to replace the building’s roof and heating system. President and founder of Launchspace, Brianna Drohen, said although it’s “not pretty,” the installation of the heating system is necessary.

“It will help free up capital for bigger energy projects in the future,” Drohen said. “We wrote the grant in collaboration with the Orange Innovation Center. ... As of now, we have 38 businesses in the center and we’re at capacity.” 

She said Launchspace will open for classes later this month.

Another Castle, a coworking space on Olive Street in Greenfield that caters to video game developers, designers and professionals, will use its $3,500 to further outfit its space with private meeting booths and additional computer equipment, according to the MassDevelopment press release.

The Hive, which is expected to open at 156 Main St. in Greenfield sometime this spring, would enable entrepreneurs and artists to develop new products, projects and art with on-site digital fabrication equipment and electronics, and metalworking and woodworking tools. According to the release, the $25,000 grant will be used to hire a consultant to provide all aspects of feasibility work.

“Massachusetts’ economy thrives when local entrepreneurs, creators and small business owners have the space and resources they need to be successful,” Gov. Charlie Baker said in the release. “The Collaborative Workspace Program represents an important tool for our administration to foster innovation and drive job growth in the commonwealth.”