The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, The Venture Forum, and WorcLab are thrilled to announce the 12 companies which have been selected to participate in the 2021-2022 cohort of StartUp Worcester.

A joint initiative of these three organizations, StartUp Worcester is designed to help launch new businesses as well as to provide support and physical workspace for the region’s entrepreneurs. The initiative helps to incubate new businesses and retain graduates of the area’s colleges and universities. StartUp Worcester encourages these budding entrepreneurs to grow their business here — where they have access to everything they need to succeed.

This year’s StartUp Worcester winners are:

A Sneakerhead’s Paradise – a concierge dashboard that allows customers to search and purchase sneakers during and following sold-out retail releases all on one website

Barn Owl Technologies – chemical-free agriculture; provides alternative pest control solutions for farmers

Cat in the Box LLC – designer and manufacturer of whimsical cardboard box playhouses for cats

Munq LLC – a creative agency helping clients shape their brand identity

Penny Wise PPE Protection – sterile mask storage; provides health care workers with a sanitary and safe paper bag alternative to store their face masks

Reach – a social media company aiming to change the social media landscape by encouraging the users of the platform to engage with their environment

Routi – an all-in-one, cloud-based communication software that provides government agencies with a single place to communicate with partner agencies and the public in the same process

Spicy Water Distillery – a micro-distillery focused on crafting spirits for adult consumption

Sympal, Inc. – the “new braces;” an orthodontic clear aligner system

TaqHawk, Inc.  a community-based resale marketplace for buying & selling used items in communities

Urban Spice World LLC – curator of ready-to-cook meal kits for busy families; making cooking easy and bringing families together

X Therapeutics, Inc. – a biotech company developing novel antivirals

“The Chamber and our program partners are so excited to see such innovative and creative start-up business concepts in this next cohort” said the Worcester Chamber’s Economic Development & Business Recruitment Associate David Sullivan, who supervises the StartUp Worcester program. “The start-up ecosystem in Central Massachusetts is a strong one, and the StartUp Worcester program will continue to help grow, develop, and cultivate that successful climate.”

The 12 companies selected receive a full-year memberships to all three organizations (Worcester Chamber, Venture Forum, and WorcLab) effective September 1, 2021, through August 31, 2022. Participants also have access to mentors from SCORE, a service of the Small Business Administration (SBA), through which they can receive entrepreneurial support, guidance, and mentorship. Each StartUp Worcester membership awarded is valued at more than $14,000. This year-long program is generously sponsored by Berkshire Bank, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Central Mass., and Pineapple Girl Productions.

Orientation for the new cohort begins September 1 at WorcLab, located at 44 Portland St. on the 4th floor. At this time, the winning companies will be introduced to the equipment and software available to them in the co-working incubator space. An introductory reception will be held on September 21 from 4 – 6 pm also at WorcLab. Additional information about each winning company will be available at this free event which members of the media are welcome to attend.