THE INSTITUTE FOR ENERGY AND SUSTAINABILITY
THE WORCESTER CLEANTECH INCUBATOR
Updated: February 2019
Read this disclaimer carefully. It provides important information about the nature of your membership with the Institute for Energy and Sustainability dba the Worcester CleanTech Incubator (“WCTI”) and of this member handbook (“Handbook”). Please contact the Executive Director if you have any questions.
This Handbook has been prepared to provide you with a general overview of WCTI policies. The Handbook is presented as a matter of information only and does not cover every aspect of your membership. Review of and familiarization with the Handbook is your responsibility.
This Handbook and the policies in it are not intended to create a contract of any kind, and are not to be understood or construed as creating contractual obligations on the part of WCTI or as a contract or promise of any kind between WCTI and its members.
This Handbook supersedes and replaces any and all prior handbooks, policies, procedures and/or practices of WCTI. WCTI reserves the right to modify, change, disregard, suspend, add to, or cancel at any time, without written or verbal notice, all or any part of the Handbook’s contents as it deems appropriate.
Welcome to the Worcester CleanTech Incubator (WCTI). We are glad you have elected to join our community. Starting a new business can be a lonely and challenging process: we are here to mitigate that. Here at WCTI we will help you envision growth, access resources and grow your network, all within a congenial and cooperative environment. Once you are settled in your new space you can participate in our programs and take advantage of services, including business planning, opportunities for networking, and involvement with the local business community.
WCTI is a place for entrepreneurs and start-ups, as such, we hope that you will make this space your own. We encourage all member companies to participate in incubator programs and events. If you are interested in programs or resources that are not currently offered speak to WCTI Staff and we will endeavor to meet your needs. WCTI Staff is here to help and support you. If you are having difficulty with any aspect of your business we encourage you to speak with one of us.
Please review the member handbook. The policies set forth in this handbook provide general guidance for incubator members. WCTI reserves the right to modify or change these policies and procedures in order to serve the best interests of WCTI and our members.
Once you have thoroughly reviewed this document please sign the attached acknowledgement of receipt form and return it to the WCTI Staff.
Background on Organization
IES was founded in 2010 with an aim to support the cleantech economy in Central Massachusetts. In recent years we have expanded our business support network and physical resources. In 2016 IES opened the Worcester CleanTech Incubator (WCTI), Worcester’s first downtown business incubator equipped with physical resources and business development support.
We have created an environment that supports and nurtures businesses and individuals seeking to create and expand their business.
Mateo Carvajal is the Community Manager of WCTI.
Larry Genovesi is the Executive Director.
BUILDING AND FACILITY INFORMATION
WCTI is appropriately housed in the Printer’s Building - a building that served as Worcester’s first incubator when printing companies banded together to create a conducive and affordable environment. Our space is equipped with high speed internet, offices, desk space, and prototyping space. Members have access to conference rooms, event space, a freight elevator, and warehouse tools. Conference rooms and event space are equipped with projectors and teleconferencing tools. WCTI space is equipped with stocked kitchenette, restroom facilities, fitness equipment and a recreational/lounge area. Members are welcome to use these WCTI resources for job-related purposes.
WCTI is located on the 4th floor of the Printer’s Building at:
44 Portland Street
Worcester, MA, 01608
Members receive key card access to the building and can access the space 24/7. WCTI Staff is on hand during regular business hours, Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm.
WCTI observes several holidays each year. A calendar of these dates is published annually (see appendix). You will still have access to the space on holidays but WCTI Staff will not be on hand.
Weekend / After Hours Emergency Situations
In case of an emergency in the facility outside of regular business hours please contact 911 as well as the Community Manager (Mateo Carvajal – 774-479-2499) or the Building Manager (Chuck Martin – 508-269-1422).
Inclement Weather Policy
Your safety is of utmost priority. We recognize the importance of maintaining business operations, however New England weather can at times be a hindrance. WCTI members will have access to the space during inclement weather; however, if inclement weather hinders the ability of staff to travel to WCTI they may work from afar and programs may be cancelled. Should this happen WCTI Staff will contact you via email.
Access to Premises and Security
Entrance doors to the Printer’s Building remain locked at all times. The building is equipped with RFID card access, and call boxes. All doors to office space on the 4th floor are to be kept locked during evenings, weekends, and holidays, or when the facility is closed. If you enter the building after normal business hours, make sure to relock the doors, locking yourself into the building. At all the above noted times, when you leave the facility, make sure that you lock all doors to the office space behind you. This policy is to protect employees, members, and your property.
If you have visitors who need to get into the building after normal business hours, instruct them to advise you of their anticipated arrival time so that you can meet them at the entrance door, escort them into the building, and relock the WCTI door after they are in the building.
WCTI is equipped with a fire alarm system. If an alarm sounds please evacuate the building immediately.
Visitors and Guests
All visitors, clients, or customers coming to WCTI must check in at the front desk. When visitors arrive they may wait in the reception area. When they leave they must sign out.
Trash, Recycling, and Janitorial Services
Janitorial services will maintain bathrooms and will remove bulk trash. You are responsible for cleaning and maintaining your own office or lab area. Each member is asked to do their part in helping to maintain the cleanliness and order of WCTI facilities, and is responsible for the proper storage and disposal of any hazardous materials or waste. We ask that you recycle, using designated bins, when applicable.
Your incoming mail should be addressed as follows:
Your Business Name
44 Portland Street, 4th Floor
Worcester, MA 01608
When incoming mail arrives it will be sorted and placed in your mailbox. At no time should a WCTI member or visitor handle/sort through the mail. If you receive an over-sized package the package will be signed for and placed by the mailboxes or in your office. If no one is available to sign for your package when it is delivered, it will be returned and the parcel service will attempt to deliver it the next day.
Upon leaving WCTI we will accept your mail for up to one year. After the initial 12-month period, all mail will be returned to sender.
New Year’s Day
Martin Luther King Day
On these days the Worcester CleanTech Incubator Staff will not be in the building and are not expected to be working. WCTI members can access their offices, as usual, but some services will be unavailable.
Member Relations and Open Door Policy
Our policy is to attract and retain members who have the knowledge, commitment, talent and skills necessary for entrepreneurial success. Our member relations policy seeks to communicate to all members some fundamental expectations of conduct in our organization. When we consider the amount of time all of us spend working together, it is easy to understand why we should all practice some very basic manners and polite behavior. Each of us has different roles and responsibilities. WCTI asks that each member make a commitment to practice the following within their own business endeavors and within the WCTI community:
Respect: Respect people as individuals. Focus on their good points, be appreciative of their positive efforts, encourage each other and be considerate of one another.
Truth and Honesty: Honesty is a fundamental value which is important in our personal lives and our relationships in a workplace. Providing people with clear information helps them make better judgments and perform at their highest level. It also helps to prevent mistakes. All of us must try to provide each other with information that is clear, accurate and complete. It is also important that we listen carefully to information that is being communicated. This also helps to prevent mistakes and can improve our efficiency.
Positive Attitude: A positive attitude is contagious. Look for ways that problems can be corrected or prevented from occurring in the future. Consider solutions and improvements, rather than focusing on problems and blame. Do whatever is possible to improve the situation, stay calm and bring problems to the attention of others who can help.
Effort: For your business to be successful and for WCTI to provide quality service to you, we must all give our best efforts to all that we do.
Members have the right and responsibility to bring to management’s attention both suggestions and items of dissatisfaction regarding matters that arise in the workplace. It is our goal to consider all member ideas and concerns. Member issues need not be made in writing, but there are certain avenues of communication that should be followed. Members who have a question or a problem should, in most cases, discuss the matter first with his/her supervisor. If the member feels that speaking with his/her supervisor is inappropriate (such as when the problem involves difficulties with the supervisor), the employee shall notify the next level of supervision. While WCTI cannot guarantee that we can assist in handling all matters (notably those that are internal to a member company) or that every matter will be handled to a member’s satisfaction, we do promise to consider all reasonable recommendations and suggestions.
Accommodation of Individuals with Disabilities
WCTI is committed to compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). It is the policy of WCTI to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified members with disabilities to allow them to participate in the WCTI community in compliance with applicable law. Members who believe that they require accommodation for a disability should contact the Executive Director.
Sexual and Other Harassment
WCTI promotes a workplace which is professional and which treats all who work here with dignity and respect. WCTI expressly prohibits any form of harassment based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information or any other characteristic protected by law. The following policy applies to all members, employees, consultants, volunteers and applicants of WCTI, but it is not intended to, and does not, create greater protections other than those provided by law. Also, while this policy advances WCTI’s goal of creating a workplace that is free from sexual and other unlawful harassment, this policy is not designed to or intended to limit our authority to discipline or take remedial action for workplace conduct that WCTI deems unacceptable, regardless of whether the conduct satisfies the definition of sexual or other unlawful harassment.
B. Definition of sexual harassment
In Massachusetts, the legal definition for sexual harassment is:
“Sexual Harassment” means sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
i. submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or is used as a basis for employment decisions; or
ii. such advances, requests, or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive work environment.
These definitions are broad and include any sexually-oriented conduct, whether it is intended or not, that is unwelcome and has the effect of creating a work place environment that is hostile, offensive, intimidating, or humiliating to male or female workers. While it is not possible for us to list all those circumstances which we would consider to be sexual harassment, the following are some examples:
Unwelcome sexual advances – whether they involve physical touching or not;
Requests for sexual favors in exchange for actual or promised job benefits such as favorable reviews, salary increases, promotions, increased benefits, or continued employment;
Assault or coerced sexual acts.
C. No retaliation
It is unlawful and against WCTI policy to retaliate against any person who, in good faith, files a complaint of sexual or other unlawful harassment or cooperates in an investigation of such a complaint.
D. Complaint procedure
Anyone who believes he or she has been subjected to harassment from a co-worker, a supervisor, a member, a client, a vendor or a visitor should make it clear to the offender that such behavior is offensive. If the behavior continues, if you are uncomfortable dealing with the offender directly, or if you would like assistance in dealing with the matter, immediately bring the matter to the attention of your supervisor or the Executive Director. If you become aware of a situation involving sexual or other harassment you should immediately report it. As stated above, retaliation against anyone for making such a report will not be tolerated.
If any of our members believes that he or she has been subjected to sexual or other harassment, the member has the right to file a complaint with WCTI. This may be done in writing or orally. If you would like to file a complaint you may do so by contacting the Executive Director.
When we receive the complaint we will promptly investigate the allegation in a fair and expeditious manner. The investigation will be conducted in such a way as to maintain confidentiality to the extent practicable under the circumstances. Our investigation will include a private interview with the person filing the complaint and with witnesses. We will also interview the person alleged to have committed the harassment. When we have completed our investigation, we will, to the extent appropriate, inform the person filing the complaint and the person alleged to have committed the conduct of the results of that investigation.
E. Disciplinary action
If it is determined that inappropriate conduct has occurred, we will act promptly to eliminate the offending conduct, and where appropriate we will also impose disciplinary action. Such action may include: counseling, informal or formal reprimands, written or verbal warnings, suspension, and other formal sanctions including termination from membership.
F. State and federal remedies
In addition to the above, if you believe you have been subjected to sexual harassment, you may file a formal complaint with either or both of the following government agencies:
1. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”)
John F. Kennedy Federal Building
Fourth Floor, Room 475
Boston, MA 02203
2. The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (“MCAD”)
One Ashburton Place, Room 601
Boston, MA 02108
436 Dwight Street, Room 220
Springfield, MA 01103
The Denholm Building
484 Main Street – Room 320
Worcester, MA 01608
Conflicts of Interest
In general, a “Conflict of Interest” is any activity or association by a member with any of WCTI’s competitors, or others, which might adversely affect WCTI, the member, or the member’s company. Members are not to engage in conduct that constitutes a conflict of interest.
All business equipment, electronic and telephone communications systems, and all communications and stored information transmitted, received, or contained in WCTI information systems are WCTI property. To ensure proper use of communications systems and business equipment, WCTI may monitor the use of these systems and equipment from time to time. By using WCTI communications systems and business equipment, members are consenting to such monitoring.
Subject to the limited exceptions contained in this policy, WCTI prohibits non-job-related uses of its software and business equipment, including but not limited to facsimiles, telecopiers, computers, internet access, voice mail and copy machines. Members also are prohibited from using codes, accessing files, or retrieving any stored communication of others without prior clearance from an authorized WCTI representative. Members may not load or use unauthorized software or programs on WCTI communications systems.
Members who violate this policy are subject to discipline, up to and including termination from membership.
The use of the communications systems is reserved primarily for the conduct of company business. Members may use the communications systems for a reasonable amount of appropriate personal communications, so long as such use does not interfere with the conduct of WCTI business or the business of other members.
The communications systems may not be used to solicit or proselytize for religious or political causes, outside organizations, or other non-job-related solicitations.
The communications systems are not to be used to create any offensive or disruptive messages. Among those which are considered offensive are any messages which contain sexual implications, racial slurs, gender-specific comments, or any other comment that offensively addresses someone’s age, sexual orientation, religious or political beliefs, national origin, or disability.
The Internet shall not be used to send or receive (to or from points outside the company) copyrighted materials or similar materials without prior authorization.
Members shall not use a code, access a file, or retrieve any stored information, from a WCTI employee or member, unless authorized to do so. Members should not attempt to gain access to another member’s messages without the latter’s permission.
Any member who discovers a violation of this policy shall notify the Executive Director of WCTI at the earliest possible time.
With the growth of high tech media and web-based communication tools, our methods for communication and social interaction have continued to evolve. These new opportunities create new responsibilities for employees and members of WCTI and we have established this social networking policy to outline these responsibilities.
Social media is a term for networking tools, primarily Internet and mobile-based, that allows for sharing and discussing of information to enhance communication, collaboration and secure information sharing. Social networking sites include, but are not limited to, blogs (“personal websites”), video/photo posting sites, podcasts, wikis, chat rooms, social communication sites (i.e., Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, MySpace, or YouTube) and business networking sites (i.e., LinkedIn).
WCTI respects the right of members to use blogs and social networking sites, during non-working hours, as a medium of self-expression and public conversation and does not discriminate against members who use these media for personal interests and affiliations or other lawful purposes. Members are not authorized and therefore are restricted to speak on behalf of WCTI. Members may not publicly discuss members, services, employees or any other WCTI-related matters, whether confidential or not, outside WCTI-authorized communications. Members are expected to protect the privacy of WCTI and its employees, members and are prohibited from disclosing personal member, employee, and non-employee information or any other proprietary and nonpublic information to which members have access. Such information includes but is not limited to member information, trade secrets, financial information and case documents.
Members may not use any WCTI logo, graphics, trademarks or trade names, or corporate slogans in blogs or any other social networking activities unless approved. If a member chooses to identify themselves as a WCTI member, please understand that some readers may view the member as a spokesperson for WCTI. Because of this possibility, you should state that your views expressed in your blog or social networking area are your own and not those of WCTI, nor of any person or organization affiliated or doing business with WCTI.
Violations of WCTI’s Social Networking Policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including, termination of membership. WCTI reserves the right to take legal action where necessary against any members who engage in prohibited or unlawful Social Media conduct.
The amount of time we all spend working together obligates us to practice basic manners and polite behavior in our workplace. Each member represents WCTI in his or her dealings with co-workers, members, clients, and business contacts. Accordingly, members are expected to exercise common sense as to appropriate words, work attire, and good hygiene. Members should dress in a neat and clean manner appropriate to his/her particular job and work environment. Clothing which is in disrepair is not appropriate for our workplace.
Confidentiality and Business Ethics
During an individual’s membership with WCTI, the member may be exposed to certain information of a secret or confidential nature about WCTI and our members. It is critical that confidentiality be maintained by all members, that no disclosure of non-public information be made to anyone except as required in the performance of our work, and that no use be made of non-public information for personal gain or advantage.
Every member must adhere to this Confidentiality and Business Ethics policy. Any member who discovers a violation of this policy should notify the Executive Director. Violations of this policy may result in immediate termination of membership.
Standards of Conduct
Each member has a personal responsibility to observe and follow WCTI policies and to maintain proper standards of behavior at all times in the workplace. If a member’s behavior interferes with the orderly and efficient operation of our business, corrective action will be taken at the discretion of WCTI management. This means that appropriate disciplinary action will be determined by management based on the individual circumstances requiring the action.
Any member who has concerns about our standards of conduct should request a meeting with the Executive Director so that the issue can be discussed and resolved. WCTI is committed to good member relations and we have an “open door” policy in an effort to resolve issues before they become a major problem.
Examples of unacceptable behavior, which are subject to disciplinary action, are listed below. At the discretion of WCTI, disciplinary action may include oral warnings, written warnings, suspensions, or other actions, up to and including immediate termination of membership. This list of examples is not extensive and does not in any way restrict WCTI discretion to terminate the membership relationship.
Breach of security
carrying or concealing weapons
causing general dissension and unrest among members, including malicious gossip or false accusation
conflict of interest
damaging WCTI or member property or the property of employees
defamation of character of another member or employee
discrimination against other members or employees
disloyalty to WCTI
errors – repeated or deliberate
failure to immediately report in-house accident or injury
fighting and/or assault
inappropriate behavior when dealing with colleagues, members, the general public, customers, vendors, or other third parties
interference with production
intoxication – of drugs or alcohol while present during business hours
misappropriation of funds
misrepresentation of facts
profanity or abusive language
release of confidential information
safety rule violation
solicitation or distribution (unauthorized)
violation of WCTI policies as set forth in this handbook or elsewhere.
Conference Rooms and Event Space
WCTI’s conference rooms and event space are available 24 hours a day. In order to use the conference rooms or event space you must request a reservation. Your reservation request should be submitted to the WCTI Staff to check availability. The space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please leave the reserved room as you found it. Return all furniture to its original location.
Kitchenette facilities are for your use. Every member is responsible for cleaning up after using any of the facilities. Please put your dirty dishes to the dishwasher. Also, please do not leave food residues in the sink drain. All food in the refrigerator must be labeled providing name and date. Due to hygienic reasons refrigerator is checked periodically and unlabeled food may be thrown away. If you have a question on the operation of any of the kitchen appliances, please ask the WCTI Staff. If there is a problem with any of the kitchen equipment let the WCTI Staff know.
After 5:00 p.m. or on weekends, if a member is locked out of his or her office or a conference room that has been reserved, the member will be charged a fee of $25.00 for access to their office, plus mileage at the standard Internal Revenue Service Rate of the person who has to come in to unlock the door(s) of the rooms needed.
For WCTI members’ convenience, the lockers are provided. Due to unforeseen circumstances, users should leave spare key or key combination to WCTI Staff. Also, please write your name on the back of the lock. WCTI is not responsible for the items left in the lockers.
Printing and Copying
Printing and copying services are available for your use. We ask that you endeavor to conserve, when possible, by printing double sided and/or minimizing unnecessary printing. The larger printer (HP LaserJet 700 M712) is to be used exclusively for bulk black and white printing while the smaller one (HP Color LaserJet MFP M277 dw) is to be used for color printing. Try to be courteous when printing – if you know you will be printing an extended job please try to print at a low-demand time. If a printer is out of paper or toner please refill the machine, if you know how to, or ask the Operations Assistant. If there is a problem with a machine please tell the WCTI Staff.
Computer Usage and Internet
High speed Internet is available to all members. You must refrain from any illegal Internet activity including but not limited to refraining from illegal downloading and file sharing. Do not share Internet passwords with anyone who is not a WCTI employee or member. Guest Internet access is available for visitors.
Office Rules and Prohibited Conduct / Activity
By becoming a part of WCTI, your conduct reflects on WCTI itself, as well as on other members, and other affiliated organizations. Thus, it is your responsibility as a member to maintain a standard of behavior that does not disrupt WCTI or other member’s operations, or somehow cause damage to the reputation of WCTI, your fellow members, or other organizations that are affiliated with WCTI. In short, you are expected to maintain appropriate behavior and standards at all times. Inappropriate conduct or actions, or behavior deemed – at the sole discretion of the WCTI Executive Director or Board – to be damaging to the image or reputation of WCTI will be cause for immediate termination of all member rights and privileges. Inappropriate conduct includes, but is not limited to, filing bankruptcy, or making accommodations for the benefit of creditors, breach of leases or other agreements, crimes involving moral turpitude, or any other behavior deemed inappropriate by the WCTI Executive Director or Board. To help WCTI run efficiently, certain rules are required for members and visitors using WCTI facilities. Office rules include, but are not limited to the following:
The temperature of the building is controlled centrally and is 72 degrees in the summer and 70 degrees in the winter. Please plan accordingly.
Coffee pots are permitted in the kitchenette area only.
Hot plates are not permitted in office or industrial areas for safety reasons.
Space heaters are not permitted in office or industrial areas for safety reasons.
Plants are permitted in your office area only if a water tray is used under the plant. Please do not hang plants from the ceiling or ductwork.
For the sake of your fellow members, please pick up your own trash and clean counter areas in the kitchenette, conference rooms, and event space after using.
Please clean dishes, mugs, and utensils after use.
Be conscious of electrical consumption and try to conserve when possible. If you are the last to leave the building after normal business hours, please make sure that your office/workspace lights, hallway lights, and lights in the common areas are turned off.
Please make sure the office entry doors are securely locked behind you.
Pictures and wall hangings are permitted in your office area. Excessive damage to walls may cause a reduction in the amount of your security deposit returned to you at the end of your lease. Please purchase and use standard picture hangers available in hardware and/or department stores.
Nothing is to be taped on any glass, wood, metal, or wall surfaces without the Executive Director’s permission.
Vinyl cling signs or lettering can be added to your office suite window. Please contact the WCTI Staff if you wish to place any signage in your space.
WCTI is a smoke-free facility and smoking anywhere inside the facility is not tolerated.
No firearms, explosives, fireworks, flammable, radioactive or potentially contagious / hazardous materials will be permitted in or around WCTI without disclosure to and specific permission from the WCTI Executive Director. Any chemicals or other hazardous materials or substances being brought in must be approved in writing in advance by the WCTI Executive Director and MSDS files must be submitted. The member is responsible for the safe transportation, storage and disposal of all chemicals or hazardous materials or substances.
The sidewalks, entrances, and passages or hallways in WCTI common areas must not be obstructed by any member or used for any purpose other than ingress or egress and for temporary moving routes at times approved by the WCTI Executive Director.
Toilets, washbasins, and other plumbing fixtures will be used responsibly and for their intended purposes. No coffee grounds, lunch or snack remains, sweepings, rubbish, rags, paper towels, or other non-intended substances shall be flushed or washed down drains. All damages resulting from any misuse of plumbing fixtures shall be borne by the responsible member. If a member is having problems with, or sees a broken plumbing fixture, please notify WCTI Staff promptly so it may be remedied.
No cooking will be done in any portion of WCTI, except for the use of the microwave and coffee / tea service in the kitchenette.
No canvassing, general solicitations, or distribution of political, religious, or cause literature will be permitted.
Members can hang pictures on walls with standard picture hangers in their offices; however, no offensive displays will be permitted.
In general, members may not cause or permit unusual or loud noises and / or odors to be produced in their spaces if such noises / odors could offend or disturb other occupants.
Members will not cause or permit duplicate keys to be made for their access doors. If a duplicate key is needed, please see WCTI Staff. Be aware, however, that a $25 fee is charged for each duplicate key.
Members will provide reasonable cooperation with WCTI Staff.
Members will be responsible for providing supervision of any moving operations that may involve common areas or the WCTI facility, and members will be liable for any losses and / or damages that result from such activities and /or from their failure to provide such supervision. Moves will be coordinated in advance with WCTI Staff to minimize interference with other WCTI activities.
The WCTI facility shall not be used for lodging or over-night occupancy.
All requests for building services or accommodations will be made through WCTI Staff.
Parking is not allowed in the area of the loading dock; violators will be towed.
No additional security systems will be added without prior written approval of the WCTI Executive Director, and any approved security systems will be installed and maintained at the member’s expense and removed at the member’s expense upon request of the WCTI Executive Director.
Theft of property (material or intellectual) will not be tolerated. Any member caught stealing from others may face termination of membership. WCTI is not liable for the actions of other members, including theft.
WCTI members are welcome to use on-site fitness equipment at their own risk. WCTI is not liable for injury resulting from the use of on-site fitness equipment.
WCTI Electronics Lab Policy
The Lab is open to use by members only. Individuals are responsible for their own personal safety and the safety of those around them. Rules established in lab regarding protection apply to all individuals working in the lab area.
Be careful around equipment; they can continue to hold voltage long after they are disconnected from power.
Keep your work area dry.
Always wear safety glasses.
Always work in a well-ventilated space.
If you smell anything burning, immediately disconnect the power and find out what went wrong before continuing working.
Turn off all equipment after use.
Return equipment, tools, and test leads to their proper storage area.
Brush off any debris from your laboratory station.
If applicable, lock your storage area.
No food or drink is permitted in the lab.
Have safety equipment such as a fire extinguisher, a first-aid kit, and a phone nearby.
WCTI is not liable for any injuries sustained within the lab.
Users should not attempt to repair equipment on their own.
Non-functional equipment should be reported to WCTI Staff.
Members who damage equipment may be liable or subject to fees.
The Computational Cluster (super computer) services available at WCTI. Services are provided for WCTI members as well external WCTI clients. Service price is based on capacity needed and other factors, thus more detailed information could be provided by WCTI Executive Director.
You will be billed monthly for as long as you maintain a membership at WCTI. Your monthly invoice will include membership dues as well as other fees applicable including lab space or other added service fees.
Payment of invoices (membership dues and additional service charges) is due by the 10th of each month. (This is not the tenth business day, but by the 10th day of the month. Should the 10th of the month fall on a Saturday or a Sunday, plans should be made to take care of your payment before that date, not after that date.) All late payments are subject to a 5% late fee. All payments are to be made by check, electronic transfer, or PayPal. If you choose to pay via PayPal you must pay a 3% service fee. Checks should be made payable to the Institute for Energy and Sustainability. Please include your company name in the memo section of your check. Submit your payment to the WCTI Staff.
Program Entrance Policy
All WCTI members are accepted following an application process. Once a place at WCTI has been offered to a member, the member must review and sign a License Agreement, submit a security deposit, and acknowledge, by signature, receipt of a key. Members must review this handbook and acknowledge receipt, understanding, and agreement by signature.
Business Plan and Director Meeting
All members are required to meet with WCTI Staff on a periodic basis to review a member’s progress, or lack thereof, and to assure that appropriate services are being provided by WCTI that will allow members to progress at a rate consistent with its industry, product / service, etc.
WCTI Staff will meet with each member on a regular basis to discuss specific milestones and action items that are deemed necessary for the member’s progress. Such meetings will include discussion of:
Financial reports, particularly a cash flow report
Member staff and personnel needs / issues
Member staff training needs
Product / service development / deployment status
Member marketing and sales goals
On a quarterly basis, the WCTI Executive Director and mentors (if applicable) will meet with each member to discuss the member’s strategic needs and overall progress. Members will complete Quarterly Report Surveys. These routine member reviews will serve to assess the reasonableness of the expectations and to act as a vehicle for ensuring member goals are being met. Topics to be addressed at the Quarterly Member Reviews include:
Overall financial status of the company
Status of member’s key strategic relationships
Marketing and sales plans
Major staff recruiting needs
All Incubator members are able and encouraged to access the help of mentors in specific areas as needs are expressed or deemed desirable by the Executive Director. We appreciate that the needs of various members will not all be the same and that the use of mentor counseling will be less for some and greater for others.
Mentors are individuals who, by reason of their past or present business experience, desire to support WCTI and our members. Through their commitment to business development within our community, they wish to freely give of their time and expertise to assist entrepreneurs and startup companies. WCTI mentors are established experts in their fields. They have experience with product development, engineering, sales, marketing, distribution, networking, and more.
Mentors may help members seek special services as appropriate, and will generally support the new business so that their chance for long-term success is improved. Mentors will counsel the new company using their best efforts to answer business and management questions, concerns over financial matters, and technical questions specific to the member’s interests. This advice is on a voluntary basis and the mentor is not liable in any way for the actions of the member.
When a member requests the help of a mentor, they should be prepared to share confidential and proprietary information with the mentor(s) as needed to meet the best interest of the member. There is no charge to the member for this service. Finally, the mentor may join with the member principals, at their request, in periodic progress reviews. The mentor should be seen as an advocate and advisor. Mentors will not be able to solve all problems; however, their time and expertise will hopefully result in great success.
It takes creative ideas, leadership, and hard work to get a new business on its feet. WCTI’s mission is to influence these aspects of success in every way that we possibly can. Mentors, when used, are charged with assisting new and expanding businesses and leading them down the path to success. A mentor may provide a helping hand to the member in some of the following areas:
Sources of funding
On-going critique, support, and suggestions for incremental improvement
Marketing / Public Relations Services
WCTI has established relationships with marketing experts as well as local newspapers, magazines, and other media that can be used to highlight member activities. Members are able to receive advice on working with the media and on preparing press releases. Members must allow WCTI Staff to review and approve any information that references WCTI, or affiliated organizations, prior to its release to the media. WCTI will issue press releases at certain times to publicize a member’s activities. Among these are:
When a member signs a License Agreement with WCTI
When significant milestones are achieved
A major sale of products
A major contract secured
When a member hosts or offers public workshops/seminars
New products introduced
When a member graduates
Finally, members are encouraged to promote their association with WCTI; however, the use of the WCTI name and/or logo in any article, advertisement, brochure, or other public release requires prior written approval of the WCTI Executive Director.
Staff and Business Development
WCTI aims to work with affiliated organizations to help members get access to education and training in business subjects tailored to the needs of entrepreneurs. Topics of such training programs might include Business Planning and Management, Business Finances, Taxation, Proposal Development, Marketing, and other similar business skill subjects.
In addition, WCTI will occasionally sponsor relevant workshops that might include guest lecturers, live televised presentations from distance learning sources, videotape presentations, and exercises led by WCTI Staff. Instructional materials will also be provided to attendees in order for them to apply the training received in specific areas of application to their particular business situation.
A. Consultation. WCTI Staff will be available for general business development consultation and, to the extent possible, will provide information and insight on business issues, including business planning and marketing.
B. Grant proposals. WCTI Staff will, to the extent possible, provide assistance in grant proposal writing for Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) and other grant programs.
C. Market Plan Development. WCTI Staff will, to the extent possible, assist members in the development of their marketing plans using market information collected through research or compiled from member records.
D. Management Business Plan Review. Experienced counsel is available for development of new business plans, as well as analysis and revision of completed plans. WCTI Staff and associated advisors will provide recommendations in the following areas:
Purpose of the business plan
Components of the business plan
Sources of information
Formal financial projections
Review of drafts of component parts
Critique of completed plans
E. General Business Counsel. WCTI Staff will, to the extent possible, provide support to the principals of early-stage businesses on a variety of topics:
Professional advisors / mentors
Termination of Relationship
Member progress through the WCTI Program will be tracked and reported according to evaluation metrics. WCTI retains the absolute right, within the WCTI Executive Director’s discretion, to terminate any agreement, or otherwise end a member’s relationship with WCTI for any reason, including, but not limited to:
Unsatisfactory business review that has not been corrected within a reasonable time (not to exceed 30 days) after written notice by WCTI;
Member’s failure to pay, when due, any fees or other amounts owing to WCTI;
Member’s failure to fulfill any requirement or meet any deadline(s) set forth by the Executive Director that has not been corrected within a reasonable time (not to exceed 30 days) after written notice by WCTI;
Actions or behavior by members that are deemed by the WCTI Executive Director or Board to be damaging to the image and / or reputation of WCTI; and
Material or repeated violation by member of WCTI rules and policies.
WHAT YOU CAN AND CANNOT EXPECT FROM WCTI
WCTI can provide some very valuable services to your company; but, when all is said and done, if you succeed, it will be because you have the drive, talent, and insight to do so.
What we can do:
Help you question your assumptions and refine your business model: Every new business endeavor needs help thinking through, and hopefully justifying, the fundamental assumptions that underlie its business model. Every entrepreneur needs someone to challenge him or her to find answers to difficult questions.
Help you get ready to seek capital: No new endeavor is prepared to seek outside capital until they have their story properly articulated. You will need the proper written and oral presentation tools in place before you begin your search.
Help you plan where to look for capital: Most new endeavors use the same approach to capital, i.e. write a business plan and send it to everyone they have ever known in hopes that someone is “crazy” enough to send them a check. You need to develop a more focused approach, and we can help.
Help you figure out your market: Some entrepreneurs know their market from top to bottom. Most just think they do. We can help you get access to resources that will let you discover how much you really know, and then where to learn the rest.
Help you plan your business future: A business is more than just a business plan. It is management, staffing, marketing, sales, product rollout, strategic alliances, contingency planning, and a few hundred other things. We cannot do it for you, but we can help you make sure you have carefully considered the key issues.
Network, network, network: You need advisors, staff, investors, service providers, advocates, customers, and friends. You will not find any of them sitting in your garage. Instead, you need to get out and meet people, talk to Chambers of Commerce, attend educational opportunities, and make yourself visible in the community. This is where we can help.
Help you set milestones and measure your progress: WCTI establishes a series of milestones for each member company. Incubator staff helps the member establish action plans to reach these milestones and measures the member’s progress and makes suggestions for further advancement.
Help you get training to succeed: WCTI provides members with opportunities to learn the subtleties of entrepreneurship. Individual advice, group training sessions, and a library are all part of the Incubator program.
What we cannot or will not do:
Fund your start-up: WCTI is not a venture capital fund, Angel network, slush fund, or a philanthropist. We do not have any money to lend or give you.
Find you funding: WCTI is designed to help you get ready to seek funding; but, you will have to do the searching yourself. We will help you design a funding plan and we will introduce you to local and regional funding sources; but, it will always be your responsibility to decide how and where to seek the funding that makes sense for your business.
Write your Business Plan: A company’s business plan is the founding document that reflects the management’s vision of the future. We will provide guidance and review; but, you have to write your own plan.
Do your books, write your agreements, recruit your staff, and run your business: If you expect to become a real company, you will eventually have to put in place the basic business processes that keep companies running smoothly. You need to do it eventually, so you might as well start now.
GRADUATION POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
WCTI members will be expected to graduate from WCTI when either of the following two criteria is met:
the business has grown to 10 or more on-site full-time employees,
sufficient sales, profitability, and/or overall financial progress have been achieved that will permit the member to be successful outside of WCTI;
the business has developed a plan for successful operation outside of WCTI.
The Executive Director of WCTI will be responsible for making the determination that these criteria have been met. Complete financial statements (tax returns preferred) will be provided to the Executive Director for review to determine the financial progress of the business. This determination will rely on the Executive Director’s judgment; however, if the records show three years of profitable operation, such performance will be considered – on its face – to constitute achievement of the second graduation criteria above.
A member’s progress toward achieving the graduation objectives will be evaluated within 6 months of its admission to WCTI, and annually thereafter, until either:
the business has met the aforementioned graduation criteria; or,
the business has been a member in WCTI for at least five years. If a business has not met graduation criteria within five years, it may be asked to leave to create room for other members. (This may be negotiable in certain cases.) If the Executive Director determines that sufficient financial progress is not being achieved, a business plan specifically addressing the deficiencies will be developed and implemented within three months of the original meeting date.
Once it has been determined that
a member should graduate because he / she has met the necessary graduation criteria, or
a member should leave because he / she has been a member for five years or more, the Executive Director will set a date for when the member will graduate / leave.
This date should be within six months of the determination. If there are existing license agreements whose terms extend beyond the six-month guideline, the Executive Director will negotiate an early termination of such an agreement.
Members may be permitted to remain at WCTI past the graduation / termination date determined above, on a month-to-month basis, depending on the availability of space. The fees charged to such transitional members will be reflective of all the WCTI benefits in addition to market value charges for the use of space.
Failure by the member to provide sufficient information for the Executive Director to determine whether or not graduation criteria have been met shall be deemed grounds for termination of a license agreement.
WCTI Member Rates 2016:
Full-time with desk - $275/month
TERMS: All member organizations must license at least one full-time desk. Every employee working at WCTI more than 1-2 days per week must be accounted for with a desk.
Full-time with 3 desks in private space - $950/month
Prototyping Lab Space
Prototyping space with free access to WCTI electronics lab - $1.50/sq. ft./month
1. Maker Space Membership (Technocopia)
8-hr/day - $75/month
WCTI members may apply for a sponsored 2-month membership to Technocopia. WCTI will cover all basic membership and space use fees, except additional classes for machine use and working materials. WCTI members should apply for sponsored Technocopia membership by providing a proposal to WCTI Executive Director. Proposals will be considered based on their relation to member company outcomes. During the Technocopia membership period, WCTI sponsored members are expected to abide by all the rules and regulations set forth by Technocopia.
2. Parking - $45/month
Szeto Landmark Realty
Anna Ng, Office Manager
90 Madison Street, Suite 610, Worcester, MA 01608
The following is included in the base member rate:
24/7 access to the WCTI facility
Complimentary use of desk furniture, printer, 3 conference rooms, broadband internet (Wi Fi) service, basic IT services, access to kitchen with refrigerator, coffee service, secure indoor bike storage, mail and freight delivery address, cleaning, trash and recycling services
Access to a growing community of WCTI entrepreneurs and associated partners (including seed investors), internal mailing list
Access to free/reduced price software from Autodesk and other software programs as needed
Eligibility for pro-bono legal and accounting services
Full-time (business hours) WCTI management staff on duty to: facilitate new company on-boarding, tend to existing company needs as they arise, set up internal programming and seminars for companies, develop and maintain sponsor relationships that provide reduced cost/free services, and organize WCTI events/tours to showcase companies to potential partners and investors.
We will notify members of additional available services and perks as they become available.
Members can lock in rates by signing agreements of 3, 6, or 12 months. Rates are subject to change periodically upon notice and after license agreement end. The first month’s fees and a one-month security deposit are required upon signing a license agreement. Invoices are sent monthly; electronic payments are available.
Facility access is available 24/7. Any new part-time employee, full-time employee or affiliated visitor who works out of WCTI at least one day a week must have a license agreement and a key fob for access.