StartUp Worcester announces next cohort of companies to receive resources, space, and support to help incubate new business ideas, products and services.
Worcester, Massachusetts—StartUp Worcester held a reception today for the 12 new companies that will be a part of the next cohort of this initiative started last year aimed at helping entrepreneurial college graduates kick-start their business concepts, with the intent of retaining them in the region.
StartUp Worcester is a partnership between the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, Running Start Coworking – shared workspace on Prescott Street in Worcester, and The Venture Forum – a not-for-profit community for technology entrepreneurs at any stage. The 12 StartUp Worcester entrepreneurs receive full-year memberships to all three organizations providing them space in which to work, access to a community of peers, and business resources and connections to help their idea grow.
This year, StartUp Worcester had 24 applications from students and alumni of 6 area colleges and universities. That pool was narrowed down by two rounds of judging to 12 individuals with innovative business plans who will be given the resources, space, and support to develop their ideas and take them from concept to marketplace. Winners are: Dormboard, Fit, I’mPossible Workshop, Maximum Crash, Rookie, ShopRagHouse, Slydde, Solar for Our Superheroes (S4OS), The Learning Hub, Vimesys, Worcester Soccer House, and Zephyr Workshop who is a returning company from 2015.
Breeze Grigas, founder of Zephyr Workshop stated, “Start-Up Worcester means a lot to [Zephyr Workshop] because as a company with a lot of remote team members around Central Mass., the office space awarded offers us a centralized place to meet and collaborate. We’ve been able to make real progress on many projects, grow our professional presence and be more active in the local game development community through this program’s continued support.”
“The goal is to retain these bright, young entrepreneurs and encourage them to grow their business here – in Worcester – where they will soon learn that they have access to everything they need to succeed, including a well-educated and trained workforce,” said Timothy Murray, president and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. A great example of this is a company from the inaugural StartUp Worcester class, Petricore, a game, website and app development company who has grown the company over the past year and now has an office at 20 Franklin Street in downtown Worcester.
“Being a member of StartUp Worcester will consolidate our commitment to local manufacturing in Worcester, MA. It would mean building relationships with local resources that could not only help us reach our target market, but also help us navigate the best course of action to keep expanding.” Said StartUp Worcester winner, Julia Carrasquel, a Clark University 2016 graduate, who is the cofounder of Dormboard, a start-up that designs, manufactures and sells an attachable bedside desk for college dorm rooms.
StartUp Worcester is financially supported by Chamber members Commerce Bank, Grove Street Commercial Properties, and DarrowEverett LLP. Brian Thompson, president of Commerce Bank stated, “Sponsoring StartUp Worcester which provides critical resources to new and emerging local businesses so they can thrive, pay taxes and create good paying local jobs is not only part of Commerce Bank’s commitment to community giving, it is good business!”
The value of membership in the three organizations is between $2,900 and $5,300, depending on the number of employees in the startup. But according to Karen Pelletier, director of the Chamber’s Higher Education – Business Partnership, “The true value of StartUp Worcester lies in the connections, opportunities, and support inherent in being involved with these three business organizations. Another partner, SCORE (funded by the U.S. Small Business Association) will provide one on one counseling and mentorship to participants. All of the partners are excited to see StartUp Worcester entering its second year and to see companies from this year and last year continue to grow.”
This second cohort of StartUp Worcester entrepreneurs begins in June 2016 and continues through May 2017.