Congressman James P. McGovern today joined representatives from New Garden Park (NGP), the 501(c)3 entity of the Worcester Business Development Corporation (WBDC), Worcester State University (WSU), and state and local officials to officially open the Innovation Center of Worcester at 20 Franklin Street in downtown Worcester.
“It is clear that Worcester is on the cutting edge of innovative business technology. The central location of this innovation center will draw entrepreneurs into the heart of our City, fueling economic development and a thriving downtown,” said U.S. Representative Jim McGovern. “I am thrilled that the federal government could help leverage local dollars to support this partnership.”
The ribbon-cutting today signifies the completion of a $2 million fit-out of space within the former Worcester Telegram & Gazette property within Downtown Worcester. As part of the funding for this fit- out, NGP received a $1 million matching grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA). These funds were utilized to fit-out approximately 15,000 square feet of space on the first and fourth floors of the 20 Franklin Street facility for the purposes of establishing a new urban entrepreneurial center, known as the Innovation Center. The Innovation Center will focus on addressing the needs of small and emerging businesses within the Worcester area, fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship within the community.
“The goal of the Innovation Center is to build upon the successes of the various incubator programs located within the City and on our college campuses and accelerate entrepreneurial development that has resulted from these programs,” said Craig L. Blais, President and CEO of the WBDC. “As a result of the tremendous support of Congressman McGovern and the EDA, the Innovation Center will enhance the City of Worcester’s efforts to attract new businesses, retain Worcester’s young entrepreneurs, diversify its economic base, and provide economic stability to the City and the greater Worcester region.”
As the first phase of the creation of an Innovation Center at the 20 Franklin Street facility, NGP welcomed its first tenant, Ten24 Digital Solutions, to its fourth floor incubator/accelerator space in November, 2014. With today’s Innovation Center ribbon-cutting, NGP is pleased to announce its newest partnership with WSU, which has signed a five-year participation agreement as the first institutional user of the Innovation Center.
“We viewed this opportunity to partner with WBDC and bring ten24 into downtown Worcester as critical to the success of our business. In addition to recruiting from local colleges and networking with the vibrant entrepreneurial community in the city, we look forward to working closely with WBDC to mentor businesses coming to the Innovation Center.”
“We have seen growing interest among ours students in starting new small businesses – some even before they graduate,” said WSU President Barry M. Maloney. “This partnership with the New Garden Park will provide them with a real-world laboratory to develop their ideas into business plans. We fully expect it will also provide the city of Worcester with start-up companies led by students from the region, who will stay and grow their companies right here.”
The Innovation Center includes flexible space that could be subdivided to accommodate the needs of tenants entering into the incubator program. Additionally, tenants within the space will have access to small business services, including workforce training, business-related seminars, and other programs. To learn more information about Innovation Center, please visit www.innovationworcester.org.
Julie A. Holstrom, Senior Project Manager
Worcester Business Development Corporation
89 Shrewsbury Street, Suite 300
Worcester, MA 01604
Ph: (508) 755-5734
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