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Massachusetts Manufacturing Rocks

At first people thought we were going to be like Web Innovators group, then they came to our first event and saw the Practical Solar heliostats and the Wiblocks.  Our roster of “NOT just Web, software and high tech” products came to include such “real products” as Popkin ice pop drip catchers, gourmet dog food (and people food), books, a back stretcher, lampshade levelers, mouse cushions and even post vasectomy testing kits.  (Cue the giggles.) Yes, we showcase an abundance of technology innovation but we’re the only Innovation Showcase in the area that regularly mixes industries and welcomes innovation from all industries.
Manufacturing is an important part of any region’s economy. But creating a new product, a new physical product, can be challenging.  Unlike a web-based startup, you need a lot of capital just to get started.  Once you have a product design, you need to actually create it.  A single new physical product may require dozens of prototypes before you get one that works right, even with the simplest of devices. Figure you’ll be doing everything from stress testing to safety testing and more.   Is it going to be machined or molded?  You’ll need equipment, and experienced operators.  Once you have a functioning product, you need storage and warehouse space, and shipping and handling. 
And, oh yeah, you’ll need a website and a marketing plan too, just like that web-based startup.  Perhaps for this reason, we see fewer startups that manufacture physical products at our showcases.  But we’re always keeping our eyes out for new ones.  Know someone with a new physical product?  Let us know about it. 
And let us know what you think here, too.  Do we need more local design and manufacturing?  Can manufacturing become a force to be reckoned with here?  Or, is it just the quiet sector?  We've seen major manufacturing go elsewhere; how do we keep it here?  And should we try?