MassDevelopment Releases First Look at Makerspaces in Massachusetts

April 30, 2013

Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077 (cell)

MassDevelopment has commissioned and released a report titled “Innovation in Manufacturing: Makerspaces,” a first-ever inventory of makerspaces in the Commonwealth that defines what they are and what can be done to help them grow. The report, posted here, defines makerspaces as "evolving hotbeds of innovation" where woodworkers, sculptors, robotics engineers, machinists, and printmakers can participate as members or rent incubator space. Seven Massachusetts makerspaces are in the early stages of growth, while two have rapidly advanced to the growth stage and one – Fab Labs, developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – is in the mature stage. Andrea Foertsch of Melrose Real Estate Strategies prepared the report.

“Makerspaces represent advanced manufacturing on the ground floor, where artisans and engineers can customize workshops according to their skills, products, and scale,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “We’re pleased to see this unique movement growing in the Commonwealth and look forward to advancing this innovative approach to manufacturing.”

Makerspaces included in the report are:

  • South Coast Innovator Labs, Taunton
  • The Collaborative, various Massachusetts sites
  • BOLT Accelerator, Boston
  • Geek Group at Indian Orchard Mills, Springfield
  • Xylem, Somerville
  • T.E.S.L.A./WAG, Worcester
  • Haverhill Hardware Competition Accelerator, Haverhill
  • Artisan’s Asylum, Somerville
  • Industry Lab, Cambridge
  • Fab Labs, Boston

“We’re in a new age of interdisciplinary collaboration that is devising new work environments to support innovation,” said Andrea Foertsch of Melrose Real Estate Strategies, “Makerspaces are an exciting example of this, where engineers and artists share space, tools, ideas and/or skills as they design hardware and hardgoods.”

The report also details the characteristics of a makerspace, how maker communities form, and the types of facilities makerspaces choose.

In addition to sponsoring this report, MassDevelopment supports advanced manufacturing through its work in the Patrick-Murray Administration's Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative, which includes the AMP it up! campaign and the first Massachusetts Advanced Manufacturing Summit that will take place in Foxboro June 25.

The AMP it up! website now has a page devoted to makerspaces. If you are part of a makerspace and your community is interested in being listed in a database of these collaboratives, please contact MassDevelopment here.

MassDevelopment, the state's finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2012, MassDevelopment financed or managed 280 projects generating investment of more than $2.3 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create more than 12,000 jobs and build or rehabilitate 900 residential units.