UMass Dartmouth Advanced Technology Center Positioning for Growth

Increasing internships, strengthening innovation focus as economy strengthens

UMass Dartmouth officials are positioning the Advanced Technology Manufacturing Center in Fall River to accelerate the development of start-up technology companies and build the innovation pipeline in the region as the economy strengthens. 

Among the keys to ATMC's future success will be the funding of business plan competitions that will identify promising business ideas and internships for UMass Dartmouth, Bristol Community College, Durfee High School and Diman Regional Vocational School students -- creating a new technology talent pipeline. In addition, formal linkages with the University's Charlton College of Business, College of Engineering and School of Law will be established. 

"As the economy strengthens, we want to make sure that UMass Dartmouth and the ATMC are well-positioned to support fledgling companies take off on the SouthCoast," said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman. "Our goal is to create an environment that nurtures emerging entrepreneurs and their ideas. We want companies, built on ideas born in the laboratories of UMass Dartmouth and in the garages of the SouthCoast, to take root at the ATMC and graduate into the community within three years. We look forward to working with partners in industry, education and government to make that happen." 

Since its opening in 2001, the 60,000 square foot ATMC has hosted 41 companies, including 12 presently in the facility. Seventeen have graduated with 160 jobs created. One example of a successful graduate is Aquabotix, an underwater vehicle manufacturer, which started at the ATMC in 2011, graduated in 2012 and now employs 12 people in Fall River. 

"The ATMC has served the region and the Commonwealth very well since it opened more than a decade ago, even during a very challenging economic downturn," said Dr. Louis Goodman, Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development. "With the economy strengthening, we believe the ATMC is well-positioned to play a powerful role in assuring that this region benefits from continued economic recovery. " 

Much of the ATMC's activity has occurred during a lengthy national economic slowdown. With the economy rebounding, the University sees an opportunity to grow the average number of companies on-site from 12 to 20 and speed up their graduation so they can become free-standing, job-creating, taxpaying entities sooner. Central to this strategy will be the business plan competition and aggressive marketing to identify promising companies. 

Dr. Goodman and other UMass officials recently visited the Sid Martin Biotechnology Center and Incubation Hub at the University of Florida, considered one of the top business incubators in the nation, to examine best practices. 

The internship program will be designed to identify young and promising talent being educated in the region and encourage those individuals to build businesses here. 

Among the amenities provided to the start-up companies will be access to UMass Dartmouth faculty and students. For instance, the Charlton College of Business faculty could assist with business plans and marketing; College of Engineering faculty and students could assist with testing and problem-solving; and School of Law students could assist with intellectual property and regulatory issues. In addition, the ATMC will work closely with the UMass Dartmouth-based SouthCoast Development Partnership.

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