May 25, 2016 – SMITHFIELD, RI – Polaris MEP (Manufacturing Extension Partnership), a division of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation, launches today at World Trade Day the Manufacturing Innovation Challenge, a competitive opportunity for RI manufacturers to access over $1 million of available funding, expertise and hands-on design and product development talent. The Manufacturing Innovation Challenge is free and available to qualifying manufacturers in Rhode Island.
All manufacturers are encouraged to Take the Challenge by visiting www.manufacturinginnovationchallenge.com. Deadline is June 22, 2016 at 12:00 pm.
The Manufacturing Innovation Challenge is the state’s most significant investment in Rhode Island’s manufacturing sector currently. It is supported by federal funds through Commerce RI. “This Manufacturing Innovation Challenge brings together some of the top talent and expertise in the state, from Polaris MEP, the Commerce Corporation, RISD, the Chafee Center and others,” says Rhode Island Governor, Gina Raimondo. “I hope that all manufacturers will learn more about this program and apply for the available opportunities.”
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.
The first phase focuses on strategic assessment, where 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.
Phase two is focused on growth implementation. With ideas and recommendations in hand from the prior phase, 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.
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 innovate and develop new products based on the company’s assets, strategy and growth plans.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity for Rhode Island manufacturers,” said Christian Cowan, Center Director for Polaris MEP. “We are providing access to world-class experts from multiple disciplines to grow our manufacturing capabilities through industrial design, innovation and education.”
The Manufacturing Innovation Challenge is a program of Polaris MEP, in partnership with Commerce RI, and made possible by a grant to Commerce RI from the Office of Economic Adjustment and U.S. Department of Defense.
About Polaris MEP
Polaris MEP is a statewide non-profit organization that provides competitive manufacturing business improvement programs to grow Rhode Island’s manufacturing industry. Polaris is an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Program (NIST MEP) and a business unit of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation. Since 1996 Polaris has delivered improvement solutions to more than 750 Rhode Island manufacturers to help them achieve sustainable and profitable growth.