Non-profit Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) has partnered on a new programme to help set up innovative advanced fabric businesses in the US.

Working in partnership with the MIT-Venture Mentoring Service (MIT-VMS), AFFOA has launched the Advanced Fabric Entrepreneurship Program (AFEP) in a bid to help transform the textile sector in the US into a value-added, high-tech industry.

The first 24 venture teams have been selected to join the year-long programme which aims to support entrepreneurs and provide them with the foundation necessary for commercial launch of an innovative fabric-based venture.

AFFOA is hoping the programme will lower the barrier to innovation and commercialisation in the advanced functional fabric space. The training and support offered to the fabric entrepreneurs builds on 17 years of experience that MIT-VMS has had supporting hundreds of ventures and start-ups.

In addition, the programme seeks to develop fabric entrepreneurs by combining IP, knowledge and entrepreneurship from universities, rapid prototyping through AFFOA's Fabric Innovation Network (FIN), consumer insights, and funding from industry and resources from public and private sectors in order to accelerate product and business model innovation in MA and across the country.

Last month, the AFFOA announced plans to pilot an educational platform for students in a bid to equip youngsters with the new skill sets required to manufacture advanced functional fabrics.

AFFOA launch advanced fabric education pilot