Acting Administrator Pilkerton Announces Makerspace Training, Collaboration and Hiring (MaTCH) Pilot Competition Winners


the U.S. Small Business Administration Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton announced the winners of the Makerspace Training, Collaboration and Hiring (MaTCH) Pilot Competition. The SBA awarded $1 million in prize money to competition winners.

“It is my privilege to announce the twelve winners of the SBA’ s MaTCH Pilot Competition. The MaTCH competition is a testament to the SBA’s commitment to identifying employment opportunities and supporting small business’ workforce recruitment and retention,” said Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton. “Makerspaces are uniquely positioned to help innovate training for the workforces of today and tomorrow, and spur economic development across the country. Through the MaTCH competition, the winners will be able to directly support vocational education, develop apprenticeships, and cultivate access to entrepreneurship. In addition, I am pleased to note that multiple winners are located in Opportunity Zones where job creation and investments are moving forward to revitalize communities.”

The SBA’s MaTCH Pilot Competition awarded grants according to the following tiers:

  • Seed: up to $25,000 will be awarded to seed small workforce development programs.
  • Proof of Principle: up to $100,000 will be awarded to grow programs with a proven history of training and/or workforce development.
  • Scale: up to $200,000 will be awarded for capacity building of successful existing programs with a strong history of training and/or workforce development. This winner would also have graduated participants in at least two training cycles.

Seed Winners:

Forge Greensboro Community Makerspace (Greensboro, NC) – Awarded $25,000
Forge Greensboro (the Forge) is located in Greensboro, NC in a designated Opportunity Zone. The Forge will use its winnings to support and enhance its Talent Pipeline to fill gaps in the workforce development ecosystem and work together with partners to connect individuals who have been left out of more conventional pipelines to employment opportunities. The Forge will primarily use their award from SBA’s MaTCH competition to support their Pre-Apprenticeship and Accreditations program, where participants will assist mentors and instructors at the facility and during classes.

The Fab Lab Puerto Rico (Gurabo, PR) – Awarded $25,000
The Fab Lab Puerto Rico located in Escuela Internacional de Diseño y Arquitectura of Universidad Ana G. Méndez, Recinto de Gurabo (Gurabo Campus), and in a designated Opportunity Zone. The Fab Lab Puerto Rico will use their award from SBA’s MaTCH competition to support a Digital Production Technician Certification through the Continuing Education Program to address the job skills and placement gap in Puerto Rico’s local businesses. The Fab Lab Puerto Rico will also offer services to the private and public sectors such as non-profits, entrepreneurs, and the local community, including among other, the vocational and STEAM educational sector, non-profits, local artists, entrepreneurs, and inventors.

Rightfully Sewn (Kansas, City, MO) – Awarded $25,000
Rightfully Sewn is an organization focused on economic development via the fashion industry and will use their award from SBA’s MaTCH competition to support a specific focus on providing employment for at-risk women and other traditionally underserved persons. Rightfully Sewn will prepare participants for entry level sewist positions with training, provide a curriculum and opportunities for local sewers to increase their skill levels in alteration and tailoring, as well as provide production management training to increase their earning potential.

Proof of Principle Winners:

Monadnock Art X Tech (MAxT) (Peterborough, NH) – Awarded $100,000
Monadnock Art x Tech (MAxT) Makerspace developed a partnership with a local steel contractor, Guillou Construction in Milford, NH, with the objective of helping to address the growing need for qualified welders in construction and industry. MAxT will use the award from SBA’s MaTCH competition to invest in capacity building improvements and to graduate more certified participants who will be trained to immediately enter into employment opportunities.

Net Positive, The Foundry (Buffalo, NY) – Awarded $100,000
Located in an Opportunity Zone on Buffalo’s East Side, The Foundry operates four distinct Makerspaces: a MetalShop, TechLab, TextileLab and WoodShop. The Mission of The Foundry is to increase neighborhood prosperity by empowering individuals through education and entrepreneurship. Net Positive will use the award from SBA’s MaTCH competition to augment their program to create more options and opportunities for immediate employment participants, branching from the trades to higher paying options in industry by developing comfort with and expertise in making and crafting using computers and hands; minds and machines.

RUCKUS Makerspace (Indianapolis, IN) – Awarded $100,000
The RUCKUS Makerspace operates in the North Mass Ave Industrial Corridor in a designated Opportunity Zone, and serves as a place for artists, small manufacturers, and makers to utilize shared working space, individual working space, and shared tools and equipment. RUCKUS will use its award from SBA’s MaTCH competition to provide dedicated training such as one-on-one professional coaching, interpersonal coaching, and job placement services to complement day-to-day job skills training.

Scale Winners:

Workshops for Warriors (San Diego, CA) – Awarded $150,000
Workshops for Warriors is headquartered in San Diego in a designated Opportunity Zone. Workshops for Warriors’ provides veterans and transitioning service members with industry-leading manufacturing education, experience, and job placement. As a winner of SBA’s MaTCH competition, Workshop for Warriors will make its Advanced Manufacturing Training for Young Veterans available to more participants. The program will provide accredited training, experience and job placement assistance to more transitioning military members and veterans.

New Jersey Institute of Technology Makerspace (Newark, NJ) – Awarded $125,000
New Jersey Institute of Technology Makerspace (NJIT) Makerspace is located in Newark, NJ. The NJIT Makerspace is a rapid prototyping and collaboration facility where engineers, technologists, architects, designers, and scientists can create and test ideas, put theory into practice, and turn ideas into reality. As a winner of SBA’s MaTCH Pilot Competition NJIT will provide a program designed to offer the needed foundation for individuals to secure an entry level advanced manufacturing job, and the option to pursue further training in an Apprenticeship Program or a college education in Advanced Manufacturing

The Clubhouse Network (Roxbury, MA) – Awarded $100,000
The Clubhouse is a makerspace that promotes community, peer-to-peer support, and inclusion. It was once an artist studio, inventor’s workshop, design house, film sound stage and backlot, hackerspace, music studio, and video game development lab. With the award from the SBA MaTCH pilot competition, The Clubhouse Network will expand and extend its Clubhouse-to-Career (C2C) Pathways to Success program. Participants will each be awarded a stipend upon completion of the program, as an incentive, to recognize the work accomplished, and as compensation for time spent in addition the goal of immediate placement into a meaningful paid job.

NextFab (Philadelphia, PA) – Awarded $100,000
NextFab will utilize the award provided by SBA’s MaTCH pilot competition to support their Furnishing a Future program. Soon to be relocating to their new home in a designated Opportunity Zone in North Philadelphia, this program will provide skills and job placement to targeted populations who are returning to the workforce, including veterans, chronically unemployed, and citizens returning from incarceration. NextFab will expand to serve more participants and will launch Furnishing a Future with its focus on woodworking, carpentry and general shop skills a permanent part of the fabric of NextFab.

Vocademy (Riverside, CA) – Awarded $100,000
Vocademy is located in Riverside County, CA in a designated Opportunity Zone. Vocademy’s mission is to provide a solution to solving the Skills Gap, be an effective college alternative, and to help people find meaningful careers in the world of making things. Vocademy combines attributes of makerspaces and traditional trade schools by giving participants access to makerspace evenings, seven-days-a-week, where they can practice what they are learning and gain critical experience. As an SBA MaTCH award recipient, Vocademy will use its prize money to scale current successful programs that serve the needs of more manufacturing companies looking for employees and more underserved participants who seek training and a high paying job.

Fab Lab Tulsa (Tulsa, OK) – Awarded $50,000
Fab Lab Tulsa is located in a designated Opportunity Zone, and serves the region which is also home to three major Native American tribal nations: the Osage, Cherokee and Creek. Fab Lab Tulsa provides education, community, workforce and business programming that teaches innovation, design-thinking, problem-solving and change-making, together with open and equitable access to 21st Century digital fabrication tools, equipment and technology. New manufacturing technologies demand different skills and Fab Lab Tulsa will utilize its SBA MaTCH Competition award to jump start the careers of participants by preparing them with the high-value skills to be operators and technicians. As a long-time member of the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Manufacturing Council, Fab Lab Tulsa has strong relationships with the manufacturing sector and a unique understanding of their skilled labor needs that will support Fab Lab Tulsa’s goal of placing participants in high paying jobs immediately.


About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit


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