September 3rd Information &
Resources Update
Innovation Institute at Mass. Technology Collaborative Launches COVID-19 Innovation Challenge

The Innovation Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the organization managing the Massachusetts Manufacturing Emergency Response Team (MERT), is currently accepting applications for the Massachusetts COVID-19 Innovation Challenge. The Challenge is the third in a series of innovation pitch competitions to identify and grow innovative solutions to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Companies selected for the Challenge will attend a series of innovation workshops over five weeks, receiving critical mentorship, as well as access to a statewide network of manufacturers and advisors. The program will culminate on October 30th with a virtual pitch event and a $25,000 prize awarded to the winner, funding which will help kick start the commercial development of their products or services.

Applications are due by Friday, September 18th; interested firms can apply online at this link.

To participate, companies must:
  • Be headquartered in Massachusetts
  • Develop innovations that will preserve or create Massachusetts jobs
  • Have been operating for at least two years
  • Have 2019 annual revenue greater than $250,000

Goals of the program are to:
  • Foster innovations that will help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts
  • Help Massachusetts manufacturers accelerate their operations to produce goods and services that can be sold to public and private buyers in Massachusetts and beyond
  • Build off of the success of the MERT, which has assisted manufacturers to create critical PPE and other needed supplies
  • Preserve and create jobs across Massachusetts

The Health & Safety Challenge will identify and select established Massachusetts companies to participate in a five-week accelerator that will help them grow next-level innovations that support the health and safety of businesses, communities, and people across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Finalists will be selected by September 25th, with priority given to companies that have the potential to deliver solutions at scale in a short period of time. The five-week program will culminate on October 30th with a virtual pitch event and a $25,000 prize awarded to the winner, funding which will help kick start the commercial development of their products or services. 

Types of Innovations include, but are not limited to:
  • UV disinfecting technology
  • Air purification & ventilation technology
  • Sanitization tunnels/booths
  • Touchless payment technology
  • Touchless door openers, elevator panels, etc.
  • Social distancing monitors
  • Any innovation that can help slow the spread of COVID-19
City of Framingham to Host Free, Drive-Thru COVID Testing

Through the support of the Staples Corporation, the City of Framingham will resume free, drive-through COVID-19 testing today, Thursday, September 3rd, at Staples Corporate Headquarters in Framingham:

  • Location: 500 Staples Drive, Framingham
  • Dates: September 3rd - September 11th (excluding Labor Day, September 7th)
  • Days/Time: Monday to Friday – 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Eligibility: Open to everyone; symptomatic and asymptomatic
  • Appointment: No appointment required
  • Format: Drive-through only
  • Cost: FREE; no health insurance required
  • Test Results: People will receive results in approximately 72 hours from Fallon Ambulance, which is conducting the tests.

Foundation for MetroWest Seeks Applicants for
Arts & Culture Grant Program

Through its Fund for the Arts & Culture, the Foundation for MetroWest has historically awarded discretionary grants that align with its vision for a vibrant community where artistic and cultural projects improve the quality of life for residents and contribute to the economic vitality of the region. The last 6 months have put immense pressure on cultural sector in MetroWest as organizations suspended programming, cancel events, and continue to grapple with what the future holds for this fall and beyond.

The Foundation’s 2020 Art & Culture Grant Program will focus on supporting arts and culture organizations in MetroWest that contribute to the region’s vibrancy and economic strength by providing one-year grants of up to $25,000. In particular, funding will be provided to nonprofits who can demonstrate financial sustainability and have adjusted their offerings in creative ways to continue engaging the community in arts and cultural experiences. The Foundation will consider grants for:
  • General operating needs
  • Program or project specific initiatives
  • Capacity building efforts 

Applications are due October 2nd at 5:00 PM.  

Eligible applicants must:
  • Have 501(c)(3) tax status as a registered nonprofit organization OR have an eligible fiscal sponsor
  • Not discriminate in the hiring of staff or the provision of services on the basis of race, religion, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or disability
  • Serve the MetroWest region

Westborough-Based Online Retailer Aims to Connect Customers to Locally Sourced Products, a Westborough-based multi-vendor marketplace, is dedicated to enabling online shoppers to better identify products produced locally. This new platform is a multi-vendor eCommerce marketplace designed to serve local stores, and customers who seek to support them, as the trend towards online shopping accelerates. 

The company is offering area retailers access to a series of webinars this month, focused on generating business opportunities during the pandemic. Click here for more information

The company is offering charter members in the Metrowest region an opportunity to sign up for free accounts without setup fees, listing fees, monthly subscription fees, or percentage of sales charges.
You're Invited: A Conversation with Senate President Karen E. Spilka
You are invited to join the 495/MetroWest Partnership for a conversation with Senate President Karen E. Spilka, focused on issues relating to municipalities and the business sector in the 495/MetroWest region as they respond to COVID-19.

This event will take place on Friday, September 18th, 2020 at 11:30 AM. Click here to register.

Senate President Karen E. Spilka represents the MetroWest communities of Ashland, Framingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopkinton, Medway and Natick, which comprise the Second Middlesex & Norfolk district. Before ascending to the presidency, she served as the Chair of the Massachusetts Senate Committee on Ways & Means beginning in January 2015. Prior to that, she served as the Senate Majority Whip, Assistant Majority Whip, Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, and Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities. She began her legislative career as a State Representative for the Seventh Middlesex district in 2001. Prior to becoming a legislator, Senate President Spilka was in private practice as an arbitrator and mediator, specializing in labor and employment law and community and court mediation.

Advance registration is required for this event, as capacity is limited. Questions for the Senate President may be submitted in advance via email to [email protected]; questions on similar topics will be consolidated due to time limitations.  
Biweekly MetroWest Employer Town Hall Series

Area employers are invited to join the 495/MetroWest Partnership and the MassHire Metro South/West Workforce Board for our continuing discussions, occurring every other week, surrounding critical issues business are facing. We will answer questions about the various resources that are available to companies and their workers during these difficult times.

These discussions are open to any interested party, and are held every other Wednesday at 1:00 PM via Zoom. The next session will be held on Wednesday, September 16th; click here to sign up!

  • Jason Palitsch, Executive Director, the 495/Metro West Partnership
  • Greg Bunn, Executive Director, MassHire Metro South/West Workforce Board
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if the Partnership can be of any assistance to you. You may reach me directly via email at [email protected].

Jason Palitsch
Executive Director
The 495/MetroWest Partnership