BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH) — Gov. Ned Lamont wants more collaboration in Connecticut when it comes to helping startup companies scale to success. 

“We’ve got to do a better job of helping our entrepreneurs go from concept to design to build,” Lamont said. 

That help is on the way. Lamont announced Wednesday that Connecticut is partnering with FORGE, a nonprofit that connects startups with free resources. 

The organization said it’s helped nearly 600 companies and supported more than 5,000 jobs in innovation and manufacturing since 2015. The majority of those are in New England. 

“Want to know why we have a competitive advantage compared to the rest of the world? It’s the quality of our workforce, and a lot of these folks have extraordinary ideas of how to take the next generation of manufacturing,” Lamont said.  

Clovia McIntosh, founder of IRL Innovations, is one of those folks. She said thousands of young children are injured each year from slipping and falling in bathtubs, including her own nephew.  

“I realized [my nephew] had already outgrown his infant-sized tub, yet he was still too small for a full-size bathtub,” McIntosh said. “So, we decided to come up with a collapsible, height-adjustable bathtub to help reduce slips and falls in young children.”

She expects to launch the product later this year.  

“FORGE presented me with a list of manufacturers that I can use,” McIntosh said. “Not only did they follow up, but ultimately, I was led to a manufacturing company.”

FORGE is establishing its Connecticut presence in Hartford and is expected to travel across the state to raise awareness about its free services.