ADAMS, Mass. — Four organizations in the Berkshires are getting a boost from MassDevelopment to help their entrepreneurial endeavors.
The Old Stone Mill, the Stationery Factory in Dalton, Lever Inc. in North Adams and Frameworks in Pittsfield received a total of $206,000 through MassDevelopment's Collaborative Workspace Program. The awards were announced on Thursday at the Worcester CleanTech Incubator as some $1,892,910 in grants were made to 31 organizations throughout the state.
"Massachusetts' economy thrives when local entrepreneurs, creators, and small business owners have the space and resources they need to be successful," said Gov. Charlie Baker in a statement. "The Collaborative Workspace Program represents an important tool for our Administration to foster innovation and drive job growth in the commonwealth."
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito was joined at the event by MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss, Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus, and WorcLab Executive Director and Board Chairman Larry Genovesi.
"I've been proud to tour several co-working spaces around the commonwealth to see firsthand how the Collaborative Workspace Program is supporting job creation and community building," she said. "I was pleased to announce grants today to 31 organizations, which will use funding to improve or expand their co-working spaces, buy needed equipment, or explore opportunities for a co-working space in their city or town."
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 work spaces.
MassDevelopment's continued partnership with the Barr Foundation, a private charity that invests in education, sustainability, creativity and leadership, broadens the reach of the Collaborative Workspace Program to include the creative sector, a critical source of innovation and positive community change.
"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 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 the first three rounds of the program, collaborative work spaces 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.
Framework Pittsfield Coworking on North Street is a co-working space for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small businesses. Framework will use this grant to buy and install a free-standing private phone booth.
• Lever Inc., North Adams: $24,000
Lever Inc. on Main Street is a co-working space and startup incubator. The organization will use grant funds to create two additional offices and improve efficiency throughout the space.
• Old Stone Mill, Adams: $75,000
The Old Stone Mill on Grove Street 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 textile 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.
• The Stationery Factory, Dalton: $100,000
The Stationery Factory on Flansburg Avenue is a 100,000-square-foot former manufacturing facility that was redeveloped for event and commercial office space. The building is home to a multifaceted co-working space that includes artist studios, incubator space, a commercial kitchen, and a community emergency resource center. The grant will fund infrastructure investments for code compliance, kitchen renovations, and the expansion of usable space.
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