Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Boston, MA

Boston

Boston may be one of the nation’s oldest cities, but it’s one of the best for digital and social entrepreneurship.

Boston, MA, one of the nation’s oldest cities, is Massachusetts’ capital and the largest city in the entire New England region. Additionally, the Greater Boston metropolitan area is the nation’s tenth-largest. In 2017, WalletHub ranked the city of Boston as the nation’s 27th-best to start a business in, including ranking number two in the “Access to Resources” category. In both 2016 and 2017, Boston finished first in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s list of the best cities for digital entrepreneurship. Additionally, according to a Forbes survey, the city is the nation’s best for social entrepreneurship. Finally, the Kauffman Index ranked the Boston metropolitan area eighth in terms of entrepreneurial growth and second in established small business activity.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Boston’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

A networking group aimed at entrepreneurs in the biotechnology industry.

Offers regular networking events and educational talks for business owners and entrepreneurs.

A group for entrepreneurs to meet with one another and discuss solutions to their most pressing issues.

Hosts regular networking events as well as educational programs and workshops for entrepreneurs in the Boston area.

The Boston Food Business Association is a private group for professionals and entrepreneurs in the food industry.

Aims to be a way for entrepreneurs interested in green technology and sustainability to network and make connections that will help them succeed.

A group dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and technology developers discover new opportunities, form partnerships, and learn the skills they need to succeed.

Boston Women Connect is a networking group for female entrepreneurs and business owners.

Hosts meetups with the goal of providing women in business and female entrepreneurs with the tools and skills needed to succeed.

Regular networking meetings as well as skill-building events for entrepreneurs, developers and investors.

Organizes and hosts programming and events for entrepreneurs, ranging from networking meetups to large panels and seminars.

Networking and educational events for entrepreneurs in and around Boston with already-established businesses.

 

Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

An annual weeklong event celebrating entrepreneurship and innovation and offering a number of seminars, workshops, and other educational opportunities.

Not strictly an entrepreneurial event, HUBweek is an annual conference celebrates those making an impact in art, science, and technology.

The LearnLaunch Across Boundaries conference is an annual event that brings together and celebrates members of the educational technology community.

An annual showcase for some of the latest research and technology at MIT as well as a series of fireside chats with leaders in the entrepreneurial community.

The MITX Awards are an annual ceremony celebrating New England’s best and most exciting innovations in marketing and technology.

Northeast University in Boston organizes an annual two-day conference dedicating to advancing social entrepreneurship around the world.

The Indus Entrepreneurs’ Boston branch hosts an annual conference to celebrate the New England startup community and educate entrepreneurs.

 

Startup Competitions:

A competition hosted by the LearnLaunch Institute in which early-stage educational technology companies compete in front of over 1,500 edtech stakeholders.

An annual competition held by MIT that actually includes three separate competitions, each one focusing on a specific aspect of entrepreneurship.

Hosted by MIT but open to students anyway, the Clean Energy Prize is a business plan competition in which teams with clean energy startups compete for large cash prizes.

A global competition hosted by the University of Massachusetts Lowell in which healthcare startups compete against one another.

Harvard Business School’s New Venture Competition is a competition open to Harvard MBA students and offers a business track as well as a social enterprise track.

 

Co-working Spaces:

With locations in both Boston and Cambridge as well as other cities across the country, CIC is a co-working space that offers private offices, traditional co-working, and event space for rent.

In addition to a number of membership plans, Coalition’s office also hosts regular networking events to help their clients make connections.

A co-working space specifically designed for and dedicated entrepreneurs in the food and food technology industries.

A boutique office space that aims to make a creative space specifically for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

The More Disruption Please co-working space is designed for innovative healthcare technology startups.

A co-working space in Cambridge that offers several membership plans and holds regular networking events for members.

With three locations across Boston, Oficio offers co-working, dedicated desk, and private office memberships as well as event spaces and meeting rooms available for rent.

WeWork Boston

WeWork Offices has a total of seven locations, each with different price points and availability.

With several locations around Massachusetts as a whole, Workbar offices offer a wide array of amenities to members.

The Yard’s location offers co-working space outfitted with the latest technology, 24/7 security and access, and even an on-site art gallery.

 

Maker spaces:

Located in nearby Somerville, MA, Artisan’s Asylum offers access to a wide variety of equipment and regular classes.

A community maker space aiming to create a collaborative workspace as well as playing host to regular workshops and events.

In addition to the typical membership deals, Cambridge Hackerspace’s tools and equipment are open to the public for free on Tuesday nights.

A digital fabrication lab organized by CIC that also acts as a way for makers to connect, learn, and collaborate.

In addition to a workshop with a wide array of equipment, G-Tek Labs also offers co-working options and event space as well as member-only events.

The Watertown Free Public Library runs a maker space with equipment available to both adults and supervised children.

MIT students, faculty, and staff can get access to the student-run MakerWorkshop to work on research, class, and personal projects.

 

Incubators:

Connects seed-stage financial technology startups with mentorship, workspace, and networking opportunities through their incubation program.

An incubation program that provides resources to “tough tech” companies: manufacturing, software, energy, internet of things, biotech, robotics, and space, among several others.

An incubation program for cleantech hardware startups that also provides office and lab space to its members.

Hosted by UMass Lowell, M2D2 provides business development services and incubation to small healthcare and medical device companies.

An innovation center that connects robotics and connected device companies with valuable resources to help them succeed.

Raizlabs’ incubation program that provides office space and assistance to early-stage mobile app startups.

The Venture Development Center works with technology and life science companies and provides them with all of the resources necessary for success.

Incubators & Accelerators: Which Best Fits Your Needs?

Accelerators:

A Cambridge-based accelerator program for web-based companies.

An annual summer accelerator program that works with security software startups.

Members of the EforAll accelerator program receive three months of mentorship, office space, and access to valuable resources including the opportunity to earn capital for their startup.

FIL Launchpad is a 12-week accelerator program for creative or social entrepreneurs.

The LearnLaunch Accelerator program provides promising startups in educational technology with capital and resources to help them get off the ground.

A program that connects healthcare and technology startups to the leadership, research, and other resources needed to find success.

A unique 90-day accelerator program designed to help healthcare technology companies grow and find success.

An accelerator program that focuses on promoting the growth of B2B and B2C businesses by providing capital.

A five-month accelerator program that supports technology startups founded by minority entrepreneurs in an attempt to diversify the startup community.

The Indus Entrepreneurs hosts the ScaleUp accelerator, a five-month program that connects entrepreneurs with the resources that can take them to the next level.

 

Colleges/Universities:

Babson College is a business school in Wellesley, MA with a specific focus on entrepreneurial education.

The Edmund H. Shea Jr. Center for Entrepreneurship at Boston College aims to educate students around the university about entrepreneurship.

Boston University offers several entrepreneurial degrees and concentrations to students as well as a maker space and other resources.

Harvard Business School’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship offers a number of courses and resources to student entrepreneurs.

In addition to providing a variety of resources to the entire New England community, MIT supports students by offering courses and an MBA track in entrepreneurship and innovation.

In addition to providing entrepreneurship education to students, Northeastern University also offers several resources to help students, faculty, and staff find entrepreneurial success.

UMass Boston’s College of Management includes the Entrepreneurship Center, which helps supports students both in and out of the classroom.

 

Angel Groups/VCs:

A seed-led venture capital firm with offices in San Francisco and Boston that invests in technology companies in the seed and Series A stages.

With several offices around the world, Battery Ventures is a global venture capital firm that invests in seed- to growth-stage technology companies across a variety of sectors.

A Boston-based angel group that invests in small, fast-growing companies located in New England.

A venture capital firm with offices in San Francisco, Boston, and New York that invests in pre-seed startups “at the intersection of hardware and software.”

An angel group that invests in early-stage companies in a wide variety of sectors, including information technology, life sciences, and aviation.

A venture capital firm that invests in internet-enabled startups in the consumer and B2B SaaS industry.

A venture firm that primarily invests in North American startups in the business services and information technology industries.

Powered by MIT, The Engine Fund is an early-stage investor in technology startups across several sectors.

Aims to invest in healthcare and IT companies located in Massachusetts and the Northeastern United States.

An angel group that aims to invest in early-stage, technology-driven startups located in the Boston area.

With offices in Boston and New York, NextView Ventures are hands-on lead investors in pre-seed- and seed-stage startups in industries relevant to every person in everyday life.

A Boston-based venture capital firm for expansion-stage companies that also provides non-financial help to its companies.

A venture capital firm that invests in consumer and enterprise technology startups in the seed and early stages.

Despite being based in Boston, Saturn Partners invests in disruptive technology startups regardless of location.

Volition Capital is a growth equity firm that primarily invests in technology companies across a variety of sectors.

Screening Meeting with the Angel Group: Are You Prepared?

 

Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

A group that connects entrepreneurs with the resources they need to succeed offers a newsletter.

The Globe offers a wide variety of newsletters focusing on varying topics, including business news around the area.

NEVCA is dedicated to supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Boston and New England as a whole, and offers a newsletter about events and goings-on.

 

Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Boston not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment, and we will add it to the article. 

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Article by Quinn Pilkey


Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at Funding$age where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.