FALL RIVER- The UMASS Dartmouth Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday to open its new RapidLab prototyping operation.

Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts Karyn Polito joined Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia, as well State Senators Michael Rodrigues and Paul Schmidt for the ceremony, among other elected officials. The ceremony was followed by tours of the facility for all of those who attended the ribbon cutting.

A $250,000 donation from the Massachusetts Seaport Economic Council funded the new facility, which will house the university’s RapidLab. The RapidLab features 3-D printers and scanners amongst other equipment designed to help companies develop prototypes of their inventions and products. The goal is to rapidly develop these prototypes so that they can be sent to testing and be fine-tuned for the mass-production line, leading to the creation of manufacturing jobs.

“Today is a great day to highlight one of the grants we made to this innovation center,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito just before the ribbon was cut.

Polito spoke at the ceremony of the importance that the RapidLab program has in the marine science and tech industry in the region as well as the expected economic growth to come with it.

“This innovation center working with Woods Hole and Mass Maritime in that triangle and nucleus of innovation. You will continue to attract researchers and scientists and talent to this area,” Polito said. “When you have people that are rightly skilled the businesses will come here, the startups will grow. This south coast region owns the marine science tech industry.”

Chancellor of UMASS Dartmouth Dr. Robert Johnson says the RapidLab program will also provide UMASS students the opportunity to work alongside entrepreneurs in the industry to gain experience. The lab also gives students the opportunity to push their ideas and innovations into the marine science industry.

“It gives them hands on experience working with entrepreneurs to come up the next generation of innovations. We don’t want to educate young people to just get jobs; we want to educate them to create jobs, to become entrepreneurs, to spur economic development,” Johnson said.

The tour of the facility following the ribbon cutting featured start-up companies and students who showcased their products. Startup companies inside the CIE and throughout the region will have access to RapidLab and its services.