WORCESTER, Mass. — Massachusetts has always been on the cutting edge of innovation.
New companies are sprouting up in Kendall Square in Cambridge and Boston’s Seaport all the time. Now, Worcester is getting in on the action, trying to help startups – start up.
The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce has developed “Start Up Worcester,” a program that is tapping into the local college community and fostering innovation.
Tim Murray, the Chamber’s CEO and President, says “Start Up Worcester is about encouraging students who might have an idea... and giving them a framework in terms of physical location, mentorship, financial assistance, business plan development."
One of the program’s participants was Petricore, a young company that creates video games and interactive museum exhibits. It was founded by Ryan Canuel who graduated from Becker College in 2015.
“Start Up Worcester was a great boost early on," said Canuel. "We had whole community of people within the city of Worcester that really wanted to see a start up like ours grow and succeed and do well and hire employees."
The Worcester business community is trying to evolve a region that was once the 25th largest manufacturing center in the country into one known for emerging technologies.
“You never know where the next Gates or Bezos is going to come from, you never know where the next ah-ha moment is going to come from,” said Murray.
Another Start Up Worcester recipient was Stacy Chin. A chemistry major as an undergraduate at the College of the Holy Cross, Chin has started Hydroglyde Coatings, a company working to develop better condoms.
Chin received a grant from the Gates Foundation and says Start Up Worcester also helped her connect with top notch professionals in the scientific community.
“Boston, of course, is where a lot of people are as well, but things are getting so competitive and the prices for things regarding incubator spaces, or just development in the start up world is getting really expensive,” said Chin.
Although there are dreams of launching the next Amazon or Apple from Worcester, Murray says “if it’s a company that is growing and employing people here locally, and adding to the innovation economy, that’s a win as well.”
Petricore is currently testing a game in China which has been downloaded a quarter of a million times.
It will soon be available here.
They are also designing an interactive exhibit for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S Senate in Dorchester.
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