FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Mass. Grant Program Aims to Boost Entrepreneur Mentoring Statewide
Program will fund both established and pilot mentoring programs that will help grow startups & small businesses
WESTBOROUGH – The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative has launched a new grant program designed to fund and grow entrepreneur mentoring across the Commonwealth. The program will grow regional start-up ecosystems and communities of innovation by connecting startup entrepreneurs and aspiring small business owners to mentoring and networking opportunities.
While the entrepreneurship and mentoring ecosystem has matured over the past decade, this new effort seeks to identify and provide funds to organizations and programs addressing unmet needs of local entrepreneurs, and are encouraging community building and networking at the local, regional, or state-wide level.
“Building a strong community of mentors for the next generation of entrepreneurs will support the Commonwealth’s innovation economy for years to come,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This new program builds on our administration’s efforts to support organizations that are helping entrepreneurs – both aspiring and experienced – to connect across the Commonwealth.”
“Increasing the availability and quality of mentoring resources available to budding entrepreneurs and current small business owners will enhance the business climates of our communities,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “These grants will strengthen ties between new ventures and successful businesses, spurring entrepreneurship and economic development across the Commonwealth.”
MassTech is seeking to make awards that can be deployed in two tiers:
- Tier 1 – Awards up to $100,000 to develop and/or expand mentorship support capabilities into existing programs or meet unmet needs within the ecosystem. This tier seeks applications for long-term projects that endeavor to enhance core competencies in established and/or well-positioned mentoring initiatives, which represent best-in-class models suitable for replication and adoption in other regions of the Commonwealth.
- Tier 2 – Awards up to $25,000 for efforts to demonstrate demand and feasibility for startup efforts and pilot projects. Applicants to this tier will propose projects that will validate and support efforts to organize entrepreneurs and to demonstrate feasibility of a mentorship program in a region or underserved community. Applications to this tier are expected to propose startup, pilot, or feasibility projects that will result in a robust and comprehensive strategy for improving conditions for entrepreneurs and innovators within a specific region or statewide.
Full details on the new grant program, including application details, are available on MassTech’s Procurement Website. Formal applications are due to MassTech by April 12th and grant decisions are targeted to be made by mid-May.
“This grant program will play a critical role in both supporting organizations that are successfully creating communities of entrepreneurs and innovators, as well as sparking activity in regions where significant resource gaps exist and support for startups is needed,” said Secretary Jay Ash of the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development. “In each instance, the biggest thing we look for in these proposals is impact; determining which grantee can bring widespread, positive change to small businesses in their region.”
This new funding round follows previous awards made by MassTech to support the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to the Massachusetts innovation ecosystem. In 2016, Governor Baker signed a $1 billion economic development bill, “An Act Relative to Job Creation and Workforce Development,” into law, which included substantial funding to strengthen the Commonwealth’s innovation economy through investments in research and development, community innovation infrastructure and the future of advanced manufacturing. Earlier this month, Governor Baker submitted new economic development legislation to continue to spur long-term, broad-based economic growth across the state.
“We’ve seen how our previous investments have helped grantees expand their programming and unlock the potential of the entrepreneurs they support by providing direct mentorship, but also by building a supportive community around the startups,” stated Pat Larkin, Director of the Innovation Institute at MassTech. “Having a supportive ecosystem of mentors will enable us to unlock the great promise contained within citizens located in all regions, helping boost the Commonwealth’s entrepreneurial and knowledge-based economy.”
In addition, to the previous entrepreneur mentoring awards, MassTech is also managing the Commonwealth’s investments through the Massachusetts Digital Health Initiative, awarding $250,000 to two organizations, PULSE@MassChallenge and TechSpring, that are boosting startups in the digital healthcare space. MassTech was also one of the earliest public investors in MassChallenge, which has grown from a single Boston location into a global startup incubator which has accelerated 1,211 startups that have raised $1.8 billion in funding, generated $700 million in revenue, and created 60,000 jobs across the non-profit’s five markets.
The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative is an innovative public agency working to enhance economic growth, accelerate technology use and adoption, and harness the value of research by engaging in meaningful collaborations across academia, industry, and government. From improving our health care systems and expanding high-speed internet across the state to fostering emerging industry clusters, MassTech is driving innovation and supporting a vibrant economy across the Commonwealth. To learn more visit www.masstech.org.
Massachusetts Technology Collaborative
(508) 870-0312 x:293 C: (206) 755-1509, noyes (at) masstech.org