Manufacturing Emergency Response Team (MERT) 2.0 Announces Second Round of Awards in Prototyping Grant Program

Five Massachusetts Startups Receive Funds; New Applications Being Accepted

(Boston – August 17, 2022) Today the Massachusetts Manufacturing Emergency Response Team 2.0 (MERT 2.0) announced the second round of awardees for the Prototyping Grant Program. This is the second group of Massachusetts companies to receive these grants. The first round was chosen in June. This new group of recipients will also receive non-dilutive funding through the MERT 2.0 program, supporting prototyping and development specifically for Massachusetts-based manufacturing companies. 

Startups applied for up to $15,000 to use with a supplier on a specific prototyping or testing task. The second round of grants from the initiative went to the following companies:

Atacama –  Paloma Gonsalez ($15,000) Atacama Biomaterials aims to replace fossil-based plastic films with innovative home-compostable film, creating sustainable packaging as the base for a circular economy.

Camelot Tools –  Lauren Cacela ($15,000) Camelot is responding to the need of wildland firefighters for a modern hand tool. SiteMaster is a super tough yet lightweight, versatile hand tool.

 C2Sense – Jason Cox ($3,000) C2Sense has developed a lateral flow reader technology that is low-cost and exhibits sensitivity on par with PCR and clinical instrumentation that is widely deployable and highly accurate.

rStream –  Ian Goodine ($14,584) rStream is designing the SingleSort system to automate materials management during waste collection. AI-guided waste-handling hardware collects, separates and tracks commodity items throughout recovery, pushing the limits of high-tech sustainability. 

SequesChar –  Ethan Gorman ($15,000) SequesChar is working to offset carbon emissions from breweries through an alternative treatment of spent grain. They turn low-value brewing byproducts into environmentally-friendly and economically beneficial resources. 

“Entrepreneurs exist in every corner of Massachusetts with innovations based on their experiences, needs, and imagination,” noted Barbara Finer, FORGE Northeast MA Director. “Their prototyping needs are very diverse and we hope to serve them!” 

Arlene Paquette, Associate Vice Chancellor of Industry Partnerships and Economic Development at UMass Lowell shared, “We are very excited by the quality of responses we have received from companies working on an impressive range of solutions for compelling problems. Under this grant funded by the EDA, we are thrilled to be able to support these innovative companies in their efforts to develop functioning prototypes.”

The United States Economic Development Agency funded MERT 2.0 with $3.3M

In 2021, United States Economic Development Agency (EDA) provided $3.3 million in funding for the program. MERT 2.0 builds on the original EDA program, creating a sustainable network to support the regional manufacturing ecosystem and to ensure the Commonwealth is prepared to face ongoing manufacturing challenges, future pandemics, and other crises. The participating partners include:

Applications for the next round of MERT 2.0 EDA funding are being accepted now until September 15th. Funding will go towards supporting Massachusetts innovators seeking the development, prototyping and production of physical products while contributing to the MA economy.

The deadline for the next round is September 15, 2022. Click here for more information or to apply.

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