FORGE Factory Tours Connect Innovative Startups and Lowell Manufacturers

In-Person Events Help Make Connections to Critical Assets

April 11, 2022, (Lowell, MA) – FORGE, a nonprofit that helps bridge the gap between startups and manufacturing resources, last week gathered startup entrepreneurs to tour two local facilities owned and operated by Somerset Industries and Plenus Group Inc. The host manufacturers were able to provide considerable insight into how they operate and share special requirements of working within their respective industries.

“Lowell has a growing number of startup clusters in sectors like medical devices, clean tech, and food and beverage,” said Barbara Finer, FORGE’s northeast Massachusetts director. “With help from our ecosystem partners, we hosted a sizable group of food-related startups to tour two very relevant and successful manufacturers.”  

The Plenus Group’s Allison Jolly worked closely with the FORGE team to arrange the tour. “Hosting the entrepreneurs of FORGE injected some start-up energy into our team midweek,” said Jolly. “We have spent the last 20 years learning valuable lessons about scaling a business and feel that we have a duty to share the wisdom in service of our local economy. We look forward to seeing the products and services of the entrepreneurs hit the market and watch as they grow into employers in the region.” 

FORGE and approximately 20 startup attendees were joined by Representatives Thomas Golden and Vanna Howard as well as other leaders from the City of Lowell, the Lowell Development Corporation, FORGE’s executive director Laura Teicher, and management from both host companies.

 New Merrimack Valley Office Accelerates Lowell Innovation and Economic Development

FORGE recently opened its Merrimack Valley Office in Lowell. The new office’s goal is to expand FORGE’s reach and ensure increased impact in the Merrimack Valley.  “FORGE’s investment in Lowell and their work connecting startups with local manufacturers will be an economic driver for the city. I look forward to continuing to support their growth,” said Representative Golden.

“Lowell continues to attract and expand our thriving startup scene, making our community the ideal destination to locate and grow businesses of all kinds. FORGE is the latest in a long line of important partners who have decided to make it happen right here, and we welcome them with open arms,” said Representative Vanna Howard.


FORGE is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that helps startups go from physical prototype to commercialization and impact at scale. FORGE identifies gaps and accelerates the path to market for startups with manufacturable products by making right-fit introductions to industry expertise, combined with the training and support needed to ensure readiness to manufacture. FORGE programming and resources prepare startups and manufacturers to work effectively together, driving local manufacturing contracts from initial prototyping through to full-scale production.

FORGE’s mission to identify, support and build resources for startup companies has yielded considerable success. More than 90 percent of the 480+ startup companies that have engaged with FORGE have matured and thrived. FORGE has helped to add more than $33 million to the local economy and more than 4,000 innovation and manufacturing jobs.