Massachusetts’ Unique Advantage for Recovery: Innovation & Manufacturing




Massachusetts is uniquely positioned for recovery from the pandemic, and growth – with both a first class innovation ecosystem and more than 7,000 manufacturers right here in the state.

The innovation and manufacturing sectors here are key drivers of economic growth and activity. The value of the two sectors working together has been demonstrated by the necessity of, and response to, the PPE shortage. COVID-19 has highlighted not only the need for collaboration between local innovation and manufacturing, but also the risks of long global supply lines which have been disrupted. Now, there is an increased awareness for local companies of the value of manufacturing here in the region. With the right support in place to ensure our economic engines of innovation and manufacturing work together, Massachusetts can lead the way on the path to resiliency and recovery.


Massachusetts Leads the Country in Innovation

Massachusetts consistently ranks as the top state for innovation in the country according to the Milken Institute. (Source: Milken Institute) With roughly 38% of employees in the state working in the innovation economy in some way, Massachusetts has the largest concentration of people employed in the innovation ecosystem in the country. (Source:  With over one million workers employed in the innovation ecosystem, the state has demonstrated the economic value of, and a commitment to, investing in innovation and emerging technology and ideas. (Source: MassTech) Further, we know that small businesses generate 44% of all US economic activity, showing the power of small businesses and supporting new and local startups. (Source: SBA

COVID-19 Disruptions Have Companies Rethinking Supply Chain Sources

Given the global supply chain disruptions stemming from the recent COVID crisis, many companies that have historically sourced supply chains overseas are looking to re-shore their manufacturing to domestic producers to reduce risk. One emerging lesson from the COVID-19 crisis is the competitive advantages of a resilient supply chain, which according to a Bain study on lessons from COVID-19 includes localized strategies.  (Source: Bain and Co.)

Resilient Supply Chains Build Competitive Advantage




FORGE  has  already helped over 250 startups source their manufacturing and supply chain locally, both before, and at an accelerated rate, during the pandemic. The startups we help often tell us that they initially assumed they had to go overseas, and were surprised and pleased to learn that many aspects of their manufacturing needs can be addressed right here in the region. Once a startup has worked with us, over 75% return for more local manufacturing connections. This demonstrates that once the opportunity is known and supported, there is a willingness to source innovative manufacturing here. As companies plan around building resiliency, including re-shoring supply chain, Massachusetts is again in a unique position to take advantage and actively boost recovery efforts in the state.

Manufacturing in the State

There are roughly 250,000 employees working in the Massachusetts manufacturing sector for over 7,000 manufacturers in the state, accounting for roughly 10% of all private sector jobs. (Source: NAM)  

For companies based here, taking advantage of this wealth of close by manufacturing and localizing supply chain can have  a myriad of benefits, including:

  • Streamlining and creating efficient communication

  • Building strong relationships with partners due to regional connection

  • Quick response time and turnaround

  • Reduced shipping and transportations costs

  • Smaller carbon footprint and be more environmentally friendly and sustainable for the world

As demand for manufacturing changes, there is the opportunity for forward looking manufacturers to embrace a diversified portfolio of innovative products, from robotics to solar panels.

Driving the Engine: Combining Innovation and Manufacturing

A powerful way for Massachusetts to take the lead in recovery is to ensure that the innovation and manufacturing sectors work together to multiply the effects of their strengths, boosting economic activity, jobs, and the ability to respond swiftly to future challenges across the state. Small businesses like startups and manufacturers are the greatest job creators and connecting the two is a powerful economic engine that should be a priority moving forward. (Source: Forbes

How Can FORGE Help?

FORGE is committed to helping manufacturers and startups stimulate the economy and solve tough problems. Our goal here is to connect startups to right-fit local supply chain resources and increase the probability of success. FORGE’s support and connections are a dual multiplier, ensuring high rate of innovation survival and new contracts to manufacture in the state.



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