Recently, FORGE held its annual Manufacturing and Innovation Showcase. This event saw funders, innovators, manufacturers, and suppliers from Massachusetts and beyond gather to network and pitch virtually. Held free and virtually on Hopin, the two-hour event featured opening remarks from Assistant Majority Leader of the Massachusetts House of Representatives Joseph Wagner. Afterwards, we dove straight into a startup pitch competition for FORGE’s Product Development Grant. They then set aside a block of time for visiting virtual booths and networking. Finally, they announced the winners.
What is FORGE?
FORGE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It connects startups with manufacturers and supply chains to help bring their products to market and create collaborative business relationships. Recognizing the need and opportunity to, well, forge these symbiotic relationships, Greentown Labs CEO Emily Reichert created FORGE in 2015. Greentown Labs is the largest cleantech incubator in North America. Now an independent entity, FORGE hosts this showcase yearly as an additional bridge between product and market. FORGE has helped over 275 startups to date and plans to help many more.
Results of the showcase
Fourteen startups had virtual booths during the event and two of them took home notable awards. The grand prize winner—or rather, “grant” prize—was AeroShield Materials, a window insert company out of Cambridge, MA. Floe, an automated ice dam prevention system startup founded by MIT students, picked up FORGE’s Audience Choice Award. Undoubtedly, though, all companies left with valuable connections and virtual lists of interested parties.
With COVID-19 shifting everything online, more and more showcases and expositions are finding virtual home at sites like Hopin. Fortunately for eventgoers, many such events are free and open to the public, requiring only an online reservation to enter. FORGE’s annual Manufacturing and Innovation Showcase was no exception, providing priceless value to suppliers, startups, and eventgoers alike.