August 9, 2023 – Holyoke’s innovation ecosystem took the spotlight this past Wednesday! Cofab Design, Clean Crop Technologies, the City of Holyoke, and FORGE hosted Hardtech Holyoke. The event celebrated the startups, technologists, engineers, researchers, manufacturers, and ecosystem service providers building new physical products in and around the city. More than 85 people from across New England showed up to Fame Lounge + Eatery for a fun night of networking, hardtech discussions, and more.
Startup teams, innovation ecosystem members, venture capitalists, local building owners, manufacturers and suppliers mingled in the industrial-chic space and checked out the exhibit. The exhibit told the joint success story of agtech startup Clean Crop and product development studio Cofab Design. The two companies met through FORGE, began working together, and chose to share a building in Holyoke.
Mike Stone, co-founder of Cofab Design and Scott Longley, FORGE’s Western Mass. Manufacturing Expert in Residence gave opening remarks and introduced the rest of the speakers, including:
- Dan White, CEO, Clean Crop
- Farhad Vazehgoo, Director, Advanced Technology Programs & Workforce Development Center for Advanced Manufacturing
- Peter Reinhart, Ph.D., Founding Director, Institute for Applied Life Sciences, UMass Amherst
- Aaron Vega, Director of Planning & Economic Development, City of Holyoke
- Mass. State Representative Patricia A. Duffy
- Mass. State Senator John Velis
- Clean Crop and Cofab Design’s joint success story
- Resources for startups interested in moving to Holyoke
- An overview of how Holyoke fits into the Western MA and New England innovation ecosystem
- How regional collaborations are driving technology development in the city
Fame was bustling with hardtech fans, from the booth to the bar to the courtyard. FORGE Event Marketing Associate Sofia Erdman said one attendee mentioned being thrilled with the event and was so busy networking and finding job opportunities that they didn’t have time to get an appetizer.
Longley said, “It was an amazing mixture of startups, investors, politicians and academics. Everyone had an awesome time.”
After enjoying the free appetizers and drinks, everyone left the event with microfiber towels from FORGE, Cofab, and Clean Crop. The FORGE team had a blast celebrating the Holyoke area’s innovation ecosystem. We’re so glad we got to share the latest installment of the city’s long history of hardware excellence with everyone who came.
Thank you to our partners for supporting this and other FORGE events.
If you’re a startup, manufacturer, innovation ecosystem organization, or potential sponsor interested in learning more about or getting involved with FORGE, contact us today.