Sen Spilka: Supporting Massachusetts' Innovation Economy
As I write this the sun is shining and the snow is melting away; I bet you are looking forward to spring as much as I am. Like the weather, the economic news for Massachusetts is getting brighter all the time.
Last week, the state jobs report showed that Massachusetts added 16,100 jobs and our unemployment rate held steady at 6.7 percent, far below the national average of 7.7 percent. It is wonderful to report that so many residents are finding work - but many are still looking so in the Legislature we need to keep working on promoting economic growth and job creation.
One important focus must be on the technology industries that help drive our state's economy. If Massachusetts can maintain its competitive edge, those industries will continue to create jobs. In our state, this sector includes over 10,300 businesses, and directly and indirectly supports the employment of nearly half a million residents! It is important that government officials be aware of the goals, capabilities, and reach of the tech economy. To help make that happen, last month I started the Tech Hub Caucus in the legislature.
This newsletter highlights some of the many activities related to this industry, which has companies and entrepreneurs working in every region of the Commonwealth. For more on this vibrant industry, check out this short video, Tech Everywhere, which provides some insight into the tech sector's richness and diversity in Massachusetts.
Tech Hub Caucus Launched in Massachusetts Legislature:
Promoting Public-Private Partnerships to Grow and Support Critical Economic Engine
Senator Spilka addresses the audience at launch of Tech Hub Caucus
On February 28th, through active collaboration with technology industry leaders and my colleagues in the legislature and administration, I officially launched the Tech Hub Caucus. This collaboration will connect legislators with industry officials and shine a spotlight on technology's far-reaching economic importance and its significance to the Commonwealth's employees, firms, and residents.
The Caucus will give legislators the chance to work with leaders of technology companies and find out what the industry needs to thrive in Massachusetts. Our goal is to do whatever we can to be sure that next-generation tech innovation starts here, stays here, and grows here.
The launch of the Caucus was recognized at a ceremony at the State House, which included hands-on demonstrations of the amazing work of some of our top tech firms and a roundtable discussion with Massachusetts industry leaders. William Teuber, Vice Chairman of EMC Corporation, delivered the keynote address.
Click here to read more on the launch of the Caucus. Click here to read The Boston Globe's coverage or here to read the piece by the Boston Business Journal.
MassChallenge is the largest-ever startup accelerator, helping early-stage entrepreneurs in Massachusetts and beyond by connecting them with the resources they need to successfully launch their companies.
On February 13th, MassChallenge kicked off its 2013 season. The 4 month start up accelerator program provides participants with world-class mentoring and training, free office space, access to funding, legal advice, co-founders, media exposure, and more. All early-stage startups can apply - from anywhere and from any industry. This year's program will include over $1 million in grant funding and over $10 million of in-kind deals - all with no strings attached.
Since 2010, the 361 startups participating in the MassChallenge accelerator classes have generated nearly $100 million in revenue, raised over $362 million in outside funding, and created nearly 3,000 new jobs!
Applications are now open until April 3rd. Visit www.masschallenge.org for application details, full accelerator benefits, and other information.
Middle and high school students, their parents, teachers, and guidance counselors are invited to attend the MetroWest Tinkershop at MassBay Community College's Wellesley Hills Campus.
At the Tinkershop, kids use the latest tools to design and create - getting a real feel for how technology is built. Professionals will be on hand to discuss their own jobs and the skills necessary for these 21st century careers. This innovative event should spark an interest in advanced manufacturing and will feature a number of fun building projects for these students, parents, and educators.
Senator Spilka speaks at today's kick-off of the MassTech Intern Partnership at hack/reduce, a Big Data community workspace in Cambridge
Today was the official launch of the MassTech Intern Partnership, a new public-private effort that will provide grants for college student internships at tech companies in Massachusetts, particularly startups and smaller firms.
The program gives students and recent college graduates a direct pathway to internship opportunities with businesses and startups in the innovative technology sector. This will not only provide students with unique work opportunities, it will also help us strengthen our pipeline of talented and skilled workers in this cutting-edge industry.
Last July, the legislature established this dynamic internship program in the 2012 Economic Development and Jobs Creation Act. It is one of the first recommendations of the Jobs Creation Commission to be implemented. The project is led by the Innovation Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, which is working with leading public and private universities, technology councils, and venture capitalists to connect Massachusetts students to exciting employers.
Students interested in the program can access the intern application form here. And tech sector companies interested in participating can fill out a company application form here.
TechSandBox - a new innovation center and incubator - will open this month in MetroWest. The goal is to provide one-stop access to the funding, office space, resources, and mentoring that local startups need to be successful.
Started by tech sector entrepreneur Barbara Finer, TechSandBox will accelerate the success of science and technology startups and entrepreneurs based in the more than 30 towns located near the I-495, I-90, and Rt.9 corridors of Massachusetts - from Natick to Worcester and from Westford to Bellingham.