Burlington Business Spotlight – Mass Innovation Network 

June 5, 2024

Ground-breaking technology, security, health, and pharmacological innovations don’t just happen in a vacuum. They take not only inspiration and imagination, but support and guidance to make a lasting impact on the community, both locally and globally. Support and guidance are the cornerstone of the mission of the Mass Innovation Network, located on Northeastern’s Innovation Campus in Burlington, Massachusetts (ICBM). 

In our Burlington Business Spotlight today, we will examine the Massachusetts Innovation Network’s role in boosting and supporting innovation to improve the lives of people in our region and across the globe. 

Mass Innovations

What Is The Mass Innovation Network? 

According to their website and a recent discussion with Executive Director Sophia Kambanis, “The Massachusetts Innovation Network is a for-purpose, non-profit organization, nurturing, fueling and boosting innovators and problem solvers to do what they do best: improve lives.”

Some of the services offered to early start-ups and spin-ups include individualized coaching; networking with like-minded businesses in varying industries and fields; valuable partnerships with experts in industry, government, and academia, as well as other non-profits; and mentoring opportunities with veteran innovators or business owners.

Signature Programs 

Two of the signature programs that Kambanis discussed with us include the Eddies and the Global Eddies. Each provides the resources and support needed for start-ups based in the United States and globally to continue innovation toward the goal of commercialization. 

The Eddies 

The Eddies, named after the prolific works of inventor Thomas Edison and his over 1,000 innovations, runs from March to November of each year. The Eddies are known for being the longest-running innovation program that invites Massachusetts-based startups (not exceeding 150 employees) to take part in this 7-month, no-cost, no-equity innovation-support program. 

The Eddies include individualized mentoring, strategic guidance, leadership education, and connections to resources for early-stage startups. Companies that you may recognize by name that once took part in this program include Genzyme, Staples, ZipCar, iRobot, Hubspot and many more. 

Part of the uniqueness of this program involves the gathering of great minds in an ecosystem designed to help with all aspects of innovation including business resources, mentoring, scientific support, co-working opportunities and connections to an entire environment of innovators who have been through this and are looking ahead to the next up-and-coming innovation. 

The Global Eddies 

The Global Eddies is a 3-month program from December to early March. It is designed to familiarize international start-ups with the innovation landscape of the New England region and offer tailor-made guidance to help them launch their operations here. The goal of this integrator program is to teach global innovators what it takes to set up in Massachusetts including information regarding accounting, legal, immigration and human talent issues and preparations on how to meet the demands of a vast but complicated market. 

Since its inception in 1986, Mass Innovation Network, formally known as New England Innovations, has made a major impact on the economy. The winners of the Eddies and Global Eddies over more than 38 years have contributed 630 billion dollars to the economy. During that time more than 3,000 start-ups have been supported through Mass Innovations’ individualized coaching, networking opportunities and economic development through numerous partnerships.

Mass Innovations

Innovation Partnerships 

In order to extend additional resources, support and event opportunities to the local and global community of innovators, the Mass Innovation Network partners with key organizations such as Corporate Entrepreneurship Network, Middlesex 3 Coalition and Forge

The Corporate Entrepreneur Network provides networking connection opportunities within this community as well as to the external ecosystem. Middlesex 3 Coalition is a regional economic development organization that brings the public and the private sector together to help address the business development challenges/concerns that are difficult for one community or one company to address on their own. They focus on mentorship opportunities for start-ups in the innovation sector. Forge’s mission focuses on helping innovators with physical products navigate the journey from prototype to commercialization and impact at scale.

Resources Available at Mass Innovation Network 

The Mass Innovation Network provides not only valuable programs and guidance for innovators but also an assortment of resources to help fledgling start-ups successfully scale up and commercialize if they have a product. Some of the resources on their website include videos on a variety of topics such as bookkeeping, cyber security for small businesses, refining your sales pitch, content creation, social media, creating a business plan, investor insights and many more. 

One of the most valuable resources Mass Innovations offers is a free downloadable resource guide, called the Founder’s Resource Guide, which allows access to a comprehensive round-up of key resources, incubators, and accelerators to jumpstart a business. 

The site also maintains an events calendar that can be valuable to new companies, including program deadlines, networking opportunities, and insightful podcasts. For more information or to apply for the Eddies or Global Eddies, visit the Mass Innovation Network online.