401 Tech Bridge, Polaris MEP to launch new prototype to production program

PORTSMOUTH — Whether a company is a startup or an established business, a misunderstanding of manufacturing, engineering and commercialization processes can hamper the launch of a new product.

A new program offered by 401 Tech Bridge and Polaris MEP will aim to help businesses take their ideas from the prototype phase to scaled production through gaining a better understanding of these principals.

“We identified a gap that startups … don’t always have a good understand of what it takes to get from a set of drawings or prototypes up to being able to manufacture a product to put together a supply chain,” said Mary Johnson, manager of 401 Tech Bridge.

This issue can also apply to established businesses trying to launch a new product, which are also eligible for the program, Johnson said.

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All applicants will be able to access to several virtual workshops and networking opportunities, and 30 will be chosen for an 8-hour “boot camp” on assessment, planning, market research and manufacturing readiness, to be held over four days. 401 Tech Bridge will also feature the selected companies in media releases.

Out of those 30 businesses, 10 will receive one-on-one consultations with product developer Peter Russo, who will also lead the workshops, and up to $2,000 in credits toward services that will help in their business’ next steps, such as 3D printing or manufacturing parts.

These programs will provide businesses with “an opportunity to assess where they really are in the process of bringing a new product to market … and what that roadmap might look like,” Johnson said. 

Boot camp will be held in late March, while the first workshop will take place on April 18.

The free program draws its funding from a $724,674 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, which 401 Tech Bridge received in April 2021.

The program is open to “anyone who thinks they could benefit from learning more about getting a product or technology to market,” Johnson said, regardless of industry.

Applications will be open through March 4. Those interested can sign up for an application notification through the 401 Tech Bridge website.