Manufacturing Innovation Challenge cohort applications due Nov. 20

PROVIDENCE – Applications are due Nov. 20 for the next cohort for Polaris MEP’s Manufacturing Innovation Challenge, which gets underway soon.

The submission period began Oct. 21, with applications reviewed on a rolling basis. The Manufacturing Innovation Challenge is open to Rhode Island manufacturers in any sector of the industry.

The program matches companies with a team that includes experts in disciplines such as production and delivery, finance, and marketing, conducting a deep review of the business. The experts meet with company leadership for a total of six hours to conduct an evaluation and suggest next steps for company growth.

“Taking stock of what you’re doing brings greater visibility to a company’s strengths and challenges,” said Christian Cowan, center director, Polaris MEP. “The Manufacturing Innovation Challenge team has worked with more than 50 companies and can rapidly illuminate the hidden barriers to success.”

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According to a statement, the program demonstrated a 14-1 return on investment across 30 Rhode Island companies in the U.S. Department of Defense supply chain. At that time, it was operated by Polaris with funding through the Office of Economic Adjustment through the R.I. Commerce Corp.

The Manufacturing Innovation Challenge team is led by Mary Johnson of Polaris MEP; with Megan Boyaval, Bowstring Group (marketing); Alan Schinazi, Solution Nexus (industrial design, manufacturing and strategy); Tom Stocker, Owner’s Edge (finance and operations); and Brian Trahan (leadership communications and employee engagement).

“It’s an opportunity for companies that are interested in fresh perspective and setting a course toward the future,” said Johnson of the program.

Polaris MEP, a nonprofit, is a business unit of URI Ventures at the University of Rhode Island. It’s an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Program.

Susan Shalhoub is a PBN contributing writer.

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