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October 15, 2015

Chamber's StartUP Worcester gearing up for 2016

StartUp Worcester — the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Higher Education-Business Partnership — said its first year was a success and it’s getting ready to encourage a new group of possibilities.

In January, it will begin accepting applications from local students and graduates for the 2016 program. StartUp Worcester aims to encourage people to develop their entrepreneurial ideas and locate their businesses in the city.

As it did in 2015, StartUp Worcester will select 12 winners with original business plans, according to a statement from the chamber Wednesday.

Applications are due by March 14. The new group of entrepreneurs will be announced in mid-May for the yearlong program beginning in June. The program is for current students, graduating seniors and recent alumni from participating area colleges and universities.

StartUp Worcester is a partnership between the chamber; The Venture Forum, a nonprofit that assists technology entrepreneurs; and Running Start, a co-working space on Prescott Street . The dozen StartUp Worcester businesses selected will be awarded full-year memberships to all three organizations, which includes space in which to work, support from professionals at The Venture Forum’s monthly events, full membership benefits from the chamber, and access to SCORE business counselors.

One of this year’s participants, Petricore, a digital gaming company founded by Becker graduate Ryan Canuel, created “Mind the Arrow,” a game featured on both the App Store and Google Play.

Other successes from this year’s StartUp, according to the statement, include Aaron Brit, co-founder of the app EventTree, whose idea was to connect Worcester students, residents and visitors by aggregating events in a way that responds to the user’s personal tastes.

Other inaugural participants included an agroponics venture whose goal is to more efficiently grow food in island nations, and a company integrating technology into exercise and physical therapy to provide real-time feedback for the user.

“These bright minds are working to implement their ideas here in Worcester, and that’s just what we want to see,” said Tim Murray, president and CEO of the chamber, in a statement.

StartUp Worcester receives financial support from chamber members, Commerce Bank, Grove Street Commercial Properties and law firm DarrowEverett.  

“Every company has to start somewhere, and we want them to start and stay in Worcester,” said Brian Thompson, president of Commerce Bank.

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