A business development opportunity for Rhode Island manufacturers

Manufacturing Innovation Challenge Phases


Rhode Island Manufacturers: Do you provide products for the defense industry and wish to diversify your offerings? Are you ready to push your company forward? Do you have what it takes to innovate?
Click here to Take the Challenge!

The Manufacturing Innovation Challenge is a competitive opportunity for RI defense manufacturers to access funding, expertise and hands-on design and product development talent. Tap these resources today by showing your company’s potential to grow.

The Manufacturing Innovation Challenge consists of three phases that take a company through the process of assess, implement and catalyze. Companies can be eligible for each phase so long as they show progress along the Challenge trajectory. Additionally, companies can access the Manufacturing Innovation Challenge educate resources.



Strategic Assessment

Awarded manufacturers will get access to a top team of experts for a strategic assessment of the manufacturers’ current innovation landscape. This deep dive into the company involves over 75 hours of expert consulting led through strategic design facilitation. The deliverable is innovative ideas and actionable recommendations for business growth.

Number of Available Awards: 30
Award Value: $15,000

Click Here to Apply Now



Growth Implementation

With ideas and recommendations in hand, companies can access funding to implement plans for business development and innovation. Awarded manufacturers in this phase will have made the case on how these funds will be utilized to take their company to the next level. These cash awards can be utilized to engage in expert consulting to help with implementation.

Number of Available Awards: 20
Award Value: Up to $35,000



Design Catalyst

The final phase of the Challenge takes select manufacturers on the road to full product innovation and catalyzes a significant shift in their businesses. A team of design experts will work with awarded manufacturers to develop new products based on the company’s assets, strategy and growth plans.

Number of Available Awards: 3
Award Value: $100,000


As part of the Manufacturing Innovation Challenge, program applicants have access to Design for Manufacturing Innovation educational opportunities. These programs are FREE to qualifying manufacturers in Rhode Island.


Design for Manufacturing Innovation Certificate Program

Developed by Rhode Island School of Design Executive Education in consultation with national manufacturers and designers, this certificate program integrates entrepreneurial thinking, innovation leadership, design thinking tools and methodologies, and deep manufacturing knowledge and experience in Rhode Island.

This new, customized, business development program focuses on helping companies use design to lead manufacturing innovation and to translate future trends into stronger manufacturing growth.

For more information or to apply go to:


The Manufacturing Innovation Challenge, a program of Polaris MEP, in partnership with Commerce RI, is made possible by a grant to Commerce RI from the Office of Economic Adjustment, U.S. Department of Defense.