Worcester Area Resources for Entrepreneurs
Exploring what organization can help you grow your startup business.
The WorcLab’s space at 44 Portland St., overlooking downtown Worcester.
Worcester has always been a city of innovation. From the launch of the first liquid fuel rocket to the first birth control pill and even the creation of the smiley face icon, Worcester has been home to pioneers in the arts, sciences, and business for generations. The city is proud of that heritage and continues to build on it to this day, with Worcester-area entrepreneurs having access to a wide-ranging ecosystem of support systems that we call incubators and accelerators.
Incubators help startup businesses get the tools they need to start operating self-sufficiently, including access to office space, networks, makerspaces, collaborative workspaces, and more. Accelerators help expand the resources of an already existing business by doing much of the same but focusing more on advising. Both incubators and accelerators serve the entrepreneurial community and help make the process easier for people to follow their passions and fulfill important needs in the market.
There’s a reason that the Chamber’s slogan is “Recruit, retain, incubate”. Incubation of entrepreneurial ventures is an integral piece of supporting economic development by ushering in new growth to the community. The Chamber directly assists in incubation efforts through its StartUp Worcester program, a competitive program which rewards winning proposals with office and maker space at the WorcLab downtown as well as a free Chamber membership.
The Chamber plays a part in other incubators besides StartUp Worcester and the WorcLab, including being a partner of Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives, or MBI. MBI specifically helps as a laboratory accelerator for biomedical startups, building a bridge for scientific startups using business support and affordable lab space so they can enter a booming life sciences sector with significant promise in the Greater Boston and Worcester area.
Uniting the many incubators and accelerators in the Worcester area under a single framework, while retaining the autonomy of these organizations, is crucial to helping new business owners navigate the network of coworking facilities, makerspaces, industrial accelerators, business assistance organizations, and incubators. In that spirit, the Chamber is always willing to help entrepreneurs find the resources they need for their particular startup.
Below is a list of the organizations comprising the community of incubators and accelerators in the Worcester area:
Photography coworking studio offering classes as well as a large indoor studio in downtown Worcester.
44 Portland St., Worcester
Worcester Idea Lab
Shared workspace, event space, private office leases, and programming. A project of the Worcester Business Development Corporation (WBDC).
20 Franklin St., Worcester
Shared workspaces, private offices, and meeting spaces.
95 Prescott St., Worcester
Manufacturing Accelerators and Makerspaces
Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP)
Services for scaling manufacturing companies, offering business mentoring and professional resources.
27A Midstate Dr., Auburn
A makerspace offering professional training for wood and metalwork and 3D printing, plus rental bays for makers and artisans.
44 Portland St., Worcester
A 52,000sq ft makerspace with a vast array of advanced industrial equipment such as 3D printers, design software, and welders dedicated to manufacturing and industrial arts.
11 Hankey St., Rochdale
WPI Center for Innovative Manufacturing Solutions
Provides business advice and technical assistance for small- to medium-sized manufacturers with less than 100 employees.
100 Institute Rd., Worcester
Worcester Center for Crafts
A craftsmanship nonprofit with over 150 years of experience and a partnership with Worcester State University, offering classes in ceramics, metalwork, glasswork, and photography.
25 Sagamore Rd., Worcester
Business Assistance Resources
Better Business Bureau of Central New England
Federal bureau responsible for helping small businesses get accredited and legitimized.
400 Grove St., Worcester
City of Worcester Business & Community Development Division
Division under the city’s Office of Economic Development specifically geared towards connecting businesses with communities, funding opportunities, and assistance.
455 Main St., Room 402, Worcester
E Forever (Entrepreneurs Forever)
Peer-to-peer group program that meets monthly to form a support community for entrepreneurs and share resources.
State agency providing grant opportunities and nonprofit/business assistance.
89 Shrewsbury St., Suite 300, Worcester
Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC)
State agency providing grant opportunities and small business assistance, including financial consulting.
529 Main St., Room 201, Charlestown
Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD)
Assists existing businesses in relocating to Massachusetts, or in expanding current operations, through grants and technical assistance.
136 Blackstone St., Floor 5, Boston
A national nonprofit dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and assisting small businesses through free mentoring services.
The Venture Forum
A former project of WPI, the Venture Forum is now an independent nonprofit building on two decades of success in training and incubating new businesses.
306 Main St., Suite 400, Worcester
Worcester Business Resource Alliance (WBRA)
A monthly meeting of all the stakeholders in the entrepreneurship community, facilitated by the City of Worcester. It is used as a forum to disseminate new information about training opportunities, new incubators, events, resources, and funding opportunities.
Incubators and Accelerators
Center for Women and Enterprise (CWE)
Provides educational programs, classes, consulting, and networking for entrepreneurs.
69 Milk St., Suite 217, Westborough
E for All (Entrepreneurs for All)
Incubator specifically designed for assisting startups in Gateway Cities. Programming includes pitch contests, virtual workshops, entrepreneur stories, and a co-working space as well as a free but competitive one-year business assistance program.
Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives (MBI)
This incubator housed at the WPI Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center offers affordable laboratory space for startup businesses specializing in life sciences.
60 Prescott St., Worcester
The Digital Games Institute, based at WPI and supported by the Commonwealth and US Department of Commerce, provides business assistance and an incubation lab space for startup video game companies.
WPI Innovation Center, 100 Institute Rd., Worcester
QuEST Center at Quinsigamond Community College
A STEM incubator focused on providing training and courses in engineering, technology, and life sciences.
670 W Boylston St., Worcester
Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Clark University
An incubator and accelerator supported by the SBA providing a wide array of free and confidential services to small businesses such as plan development, feasibility studies, financial modeling, marketing and sales, technology, international trade, and government consulting.
125 Woodland St., Worcester
South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC)
An incubation space with affordable prices, free use of a business resources library, and microloan financing.
7 Bishop St., Framingham
A partnership between the Chamber, the Venture Forum, and the WorcLab which provides mentorship, business assistance, free memberships, and a sense of community to new businesses looking for a place to start.
Tech Advisor Network (TAN) at WPI
An incubator providing advising and networking support specifically for WPI alumni entrepreneurs.
100 Institute Rd., Worcester
UMass Medical School’s Office of Business Development & Innovation (BD&I) and the Office of Technology Management (OTM)
Facilitates intellectual property protection, business opportunity development, technology licensing, new enterprise creation, and commercialization activities.
55 Lake Ave. North, Worcester
Worcester Regional Food Hub
Offers an incubating and accelerating space for startup or existing food businesses through a shared commercial kitchen.
25 Francis St., Worcester
An incubator for startups looking to establish a cooperative business model through training and mentorship.
4 King St., Worcester
The region’s premier incubator and coworking space for innovative entrepreneurs, offering rental office space and a shared workspace in the heart of downtown Worcester.
44 Portland St., Floor 4, Worcester