A partnership between the Worcester-based Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP) and Somerville startup incubator Greentown Labs made this win-win connection happen, according to reporter Laura Finaldi in her February 15, 2016 Worcester Business Journal article "Manufacturers helping to create statewide incubator." Called the Manufacturing Initiative, the program connects clean tech hardware startups housed at Greentown Labs with manufacturers across the state. The result: 33 startups connected with 86 Massachusetts manufacturers, resulting in 16 contracts for work. The ultimate program goal: products invented in Massachusetts get manufactured in Massachusetts.
The partnership came out of the need for startups to know what they need and know how to connect with manufacturers. Startups wouldn't know they go to different manufacturers for prototyping versus mass production.
When initiative's program manager Micaelah Morrill issued surveys for both manufacturers and startups, she found that the two industries don't understand each other. Morrill says that startups have people who graduate "from universities in Boston, but they may not be familiar with the rest of the state, I want them thinking about Worcester, Springfield, and North Adams before they think of China." But in many cases, manufacturing a product in Massachusetts hadn't even occurred to some startups.
"The real value here is we started a movement," said Peter Russo, program manager for growth and innovation at MassMEP. The program has received nationwide attention.