413 Innovation Tour


Who knew that the Pioneer Valley was so full of resources and co-working vibrancy? Until I had the opportunity to get out of the office and hop on the Economic Development Council of Western MA’s (EDC) Innovation Tour bus, I didn't. With four stops planned for the day, TechSpring was more than excited to be one of them. The others included, UMass Amherst, Brick CoWorkShop, and Valley Venture Mentors. Here’s all the information I collected along the way to share. You can also view more pictures on Twitter: #413InnovationTour or @TechSpringMA.  

We left early Friday morning from Tower Square, and our first stop was the Integrative Learning Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. From 9am-12pm, twenty speakers amazed us with their new products they’re hoping to bring to market, their available expertise, and what the future holds for innovation and entrepreneurship at UMass itself. Each presentation with PowerPoint slides are available to view on UMass’s website and are a very valuable resource. For example, did you know UMass has 3D printers and fee-based laboratory services, such as electron microscopy and DNA sequencing, available to the public? Their library is also a Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC).

On our second stop, we visited a co-working space in Holyoke, BRICK CoWorkShop, which did not have your typical office feeling. In just a few minutes we walked through the creative spaces of artists skilled in welding, glass blowing, woodworking, and silk screening. A great reminder to the group from Katie Stebbins, Assistant Secretary of Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, was to keep BRICK in mind when small business owners are looking to have signs created. Kamil Peters, seen here in this MassLive article, has quite a bit of his work displayed throughout Northampton, and can match his work historically to provide the feeling that is unique to each town and city.     

The third stop of the day was quite familiar, TechSpring! I am one of four Baystate Health employees who have worked for TechSpring since it’s launch in November 2014. We are a co-working community that is focused on building a vibrant innovation community with resident members who are working to use technology to advance healthcare. Read more about co-working in an office where all members are focused on a similar mission in my blog.

Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) was our final stop of the day. They are also TechSpring’s neighbors, located right back at where we started the tour, in Tower Square on Main Street. They are working to not only empower start-ups, but also to help provide them with the resources they need to be successful. A great upcoming opportunity to see the success of VVM’s first cohort from their accelerator program is April 30. The Accelerator Awards will be presented at the Mass Mutual Center, and it’s a night you won’t want to miss. Join us as TechSpring’s guest at the TechSpring table and get your ticket for free, while they last!