Lamont Announces Non-Profit FORGE Will Operate in Connecticut, Offering Free Support To Local Startups

Governor Ned Lamont announced on Wednesday that FORGE – a nonprofit organization that connects startups creating physical products with the product development, manufacturing, and supply chain resources they need to grow and succeed – is establishing operations in Connecticut and will begin providing its services – free of charge – to local startups.

The staff at FORGE are experts in helping innovators navigate the journey from physical prototype to commercialization. They do this by connecting startups with experienced product experts, manufacturers, engineers, and the local supply chains to drive business relationships. Since its founding in 2015, the organization has operated in Massachusetts, where it has supported hundreds of creators of physical products, leading to the creation of more than 5,000 jobs and adding $34 million to the local economy.

In Connecticut, FORGE intends to replicate that success by identifying innovators and connecting them with manufacturers that have required resources and skill sets. FORGE will also leverage its expertise to help innovators ensure they are suitable for manufacturer consideration, ultimately accelerating the process of bringing product ideas to life.

“We know the critical role manufacturing plays in our economy, and connecting these resources to the startups that are driving innovation will help keep Connecticut a leader through these sectors,” Governor Lamont said. “FORGE’s presence in Connecticut will set the stage for long-term manufacturing and business innovation.”

“Connecticut’s ecosystem provides a rich assortment of suppliers and advanced manufacturing offerings,” Laura Teicher, executive director of FORGE, said. “This complete, end-to-end ecosystem helps ensure a successful economic future for Connecticut.”

The organization’s establishment in Connecticut is supported with joint funding from CTNext, a nonprofit organization that promotes entrepreneurship, and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development through its Manufacturing Innovation Fund.

“If we invent it in Connecticut, we want to manufacture it in Connecticut,” Paul Lavoie, Connecticut’s chief manufacturing officer, said. “This program actively fulfills Governor Lamont’s mission to enhance and strengthen the long-term competitiveness of Connecticut’s manufacturing sector.  We will support our entrepreneurial innovators with services to take them from prototype to commercialization.  We are a national leader in innovation and are creating an ecosystem to continue to support innovation.”

“Connecticut already possesses a robust manufacturing ecosystem composed of both innovative entrepreneurs and world-class manufacturers,” Onyeka Obiocha, executive director of CTNext, said. “Too often, our entrepreneurs and startups are unaware of the capabilities residing within the state and look elsewhere to advance their product and business ambitions. By establishing a presence in Connecticut, FORGE will facilitate new connections between entrepreneurs and manufacturers, ultimately deepening the depth and breadth of our manufacturing sector and generating new employment opportunities.”

FORGE will establish its Connecticut presence in Hartford. In the months to come, the organization will embark on a statewide roadshow and participate in multiple industry events to raise awareness of its services for innovators and manufacturers.

For more information on FORGE, visit Inquiries about the services FORGE offers can be directed to Adam Rodrigues at [email protected].