Monday, August 26, 2013

STATE REQUESTS PROPOSALS FOR NEW MENTORSHIP INITIATIVE AIMED AT BOOSTING TECH ENTREPRENEURS

Innovative Program Designed to Strengthen Startups in Regions across the Commonwealth

WESTBOROUGH - The Innovation Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (Mass Tech) today released a request for proposals (RFP) as part of a new initiative to strengthen entrepreneur and startup mentoring activities across underserved populations, regions, and industries in the Commonwealth. The RFP allows interested nonprofit, academic, or economic development organizations in the Commonwealth to apply for modest grants, totaling up to $800,000 in the aggregate, to develop or support mentorship activities. 

Created as part of the Jobs Bill passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Patrick in 2012, this new initiative is designed to engage and boost a broader base of participants in Massachusetts’ innovation and entrepreneurship communities.

The program is intended to build on two of the state’s long-recognized competitive advantages – a dynamic base of innovative, homegrown tech companies and a large contingent of talented, young entrepreneurs – in order to increase opportunities for new business formation and growth.

“The Greater Boston region has built an exceptional network of startup initiatives focused on mentoring, including MassChallenge, TechStars, and the MIT Enterprise Forum, each having earned a global stature,” said Pamela Goldberg, CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. “This new initiative is designed to build upon that successful foundation, providing much-needed resources to regional organizations and networks around the Commonwealth, encouraging our residents to participate more fully in our innovation economy.”

Earlier this summer, MassTech convened a roundtable of practitioners to gain an understanding of the state’s mentoring landscape and issued a Request for Information to inform and develop the initiative. 

“We’re grateful for the feedback and insight garnered from submissions to our earlier Request for Information,” noted Patrick Larkin, Director of the Innovation Institute at MassTech. “It is clear there is widespread understanding of the importance that mentoring has in building entrepreneurial networks throughout the Commonwealth. We look forward to reviewing the responses to the RFP and are eager to learn more about creative approaches that will drive entrepreneurship and strengthen our innovation economy.”

Successful applicants will be awarded funds in two tiers, the $25,000 - $50,000 range and $50,000 - $150,000 range, based on their proposal’s scope and impact. In partnership with the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, MassTech will also host a workshop focused on mentoring best practices in Spring 2014.  For more information, please visit the MassTech website at www.masstech.org.

###

The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative is an innovative public agency working to enhance economic growth, accelerate technology use and adoption, and harness the value of research by engaging in meaningful collaborations across academia, industry, and government.  From improving our health care systems and expanding high-speed internet across the state to fostering emerging industry clusters, MassTech is driving innovation and supporting a vibrant economy across the Commonwealth. 

The Innovation Institute at MassTech was created in 2003 to improve conditions for growth in the innovation economy by enhancing industry competitiveness, promoting conditions which enable growth; and providing data and analysis to stakeholders in the Massachusetts innovation economy that promotes understanding and informs policy development.