Alana Melanson | July 6,2021 | 4:57 a.m.
LOWELL —A nonprofit organization that helps innovators connect with regional manufacturers will open a new office in the city, expanding its reach across the state.
Since its inception in 2015 at Greentown Labs, FORGE has made over 1,700 connections between startups and the regional supply chain, resulting in contracts and purchase orders valued at more than $30 million and supporting over 3,500 innovation and indirect manufacturing jobs.
“The innovation and manufacturing sectors are key drivers of economic growth and activity. Massachusetts has both a first-class innovation ecosystem and more than 7,000 manufacturing companies in-state, and 270,000 in the greater New England region,” FORGE Executive Director Laura Teicher said in a statement. “The important work to respond to the pandemic, including that of the Massachusetts Emergency Response Team (MERT), has underscored how crucial thriving and collaborative advanced manufacturing and innovation are. Armed with FORGE support and connections, Merrimack Valley will strengthen its position as a hub for manufacturers, suppliers and startups.”
The expansion is supported by funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration as part of the MERT 2.0 effort, which focuses on production of personal protective equipment and other medical supplies and the development of related training and curriculum to help create new jobs and economic opportunities following the pandemic.