McGovern Announces $583K for MassDiGI at Becker College
Today Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02) announced a five year, $583,000 University Center program grant for MassDiGI at Becker College has been awarded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), a bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce. The new federal funding will support MassDiGI’s ongoing efforts to promote entrepreneurship, academic cooperation and economic development across the state’s video and digital games ecosystem. This is the second such grant for MassDiGI from the competitive University Center program. The first was awarded in September 2011.
“The work MassDiGI does in leveraging our state’s strengths in higher education, technology, innovation and creativity continues to stand out,” Congressman McGovern said. “This EDA grant will give MassDiGI the chance to level up their ability to have an even greater impact. I've seen their work firsthand and I’m excited for what the next five years will bring.”
Established in April 2011, MassDiGI is the result of creative collaboration among academia, industry, and government, aimed at nurturing the growth of the game industry cluster in the region.
“As chair of the MassDiGI Advisory Board, I am extremely pleased that we have been selected again by the EDA for funding,” said Becker College President Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D. “MassDiGI is one-of-a-kind and delivers tremendous value to the many students, faculty, startups and industry professionals it reaches each year, be they on campus, here in Worcester or throughout the Commonwealth – and increasingly, across the country and around the world.”
“Worcester is proud to be the home of MassDiGI at Becker College,” said Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. “Our city’s future is brighter because of the work they do in helping to foster the growth of our local game development community.”
MassDiGI offers a number of programs and activities which nurture collaboration among students, faculty and the public, private, and non-profit sectors.
Best known among its offerings is the Summer Innovation Program (SIP). During this Worcester-based internship program students take a game from concept to market in 12 weeks.
More than 700 students from dozens of institutions around the world have applied since SIP began in 2012. Of those applicants over 100 students have participated from schools such as MIT, Tufts, Carnegie Mellon, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, University of Southern California, Rhode Island School of Design, Northeastern University, Letterkenny Institute of Technology in Ireland, Smith College, Berklee School of Music, New York University, and Becker College.
SIP alumni have gone on to work at a range of companies including Harmonix, Microsoft, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Amazon, Warner Bros., 2K, Disruptor Beam, Uber, Nickelodeon, Sony, Facebook, and Hasbro or startup their own studios such as Zephyr Workshop, Starcap Games, and Petricore Games.
Among MassDiGI’s other programs are its Game Challenge pitch competition for aspiring game developers held every year in Cambridge, Mass., Live Studio cross-registration courses at Becker and Mentoring on Demand advisory services for entrepreneurs and non-profits.
“The EDA University Center program has been a key to many of the successes of our first five years,” said MassDiGI Executive Director Timothy Loew. “And, this grant will allow us, over the next five, to build on those successes, deepen our capacity, and scale up our efforts over all our programs and activities.”
“In my work with game industry communities across the globe, MassDiGI shines as a leader for its support of game companies,” said California-based M2 Advisory Group CEO Wanda Meloni. “This funding is a testament to MassDiGI’s outstanding work and the acknowledgement of what can happen when you have the right combination of leadership, collaboration from academia, and support from the local community and businesses.”
Meloni is also the editor in chief of Gaming Business Review and executive director of the Open Gaming Alliance.
With its experienced staff and a cadre of veteran game development mentors, MassDiGI works to help strengthen the area’s games sector, advising on everything from strategy and marketing, to financing and hiring.
“Starting up a game studio as a novice entrepreneur right out of college is a risky proposition. There’s no question we wouldn’t be where we are today without the continuing advice and guidance we get from MassDiGI,” said Petricore Games Co-founder and CEO Ryan Canuel.
Canuel is also the 2016 Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year and a Becker College ’15 and MassDiGI SIP ’14 alumnus.
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