(Caption: The Great Wolf Lodge of New England, located…
Pax East 2014 – Future of Gaming is Now
Digital gaming is big business. If you need reassurance on this point, then consider PAX East 2014, which took place at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center over the weekend of April 11-13, 2014. Over 70,000 people attended the three-day show, not just from Massachusetts and New England, but from across North America and indeed, from around the world. Forbes Magazine notes that the coveted three-day passes sold out in less than three minutes! The convention center occasionally looked like a movie set as thousands of participants arrived in elaborate costumes from their favorite video games. Superheroes and fantasy characters blended in with thousands of students, young professionals, gaming designers and industry executives, all there to watch, learn, share, compete, and partake in this massive celebration of games. Massachusetts has a stake in the $67 billion gaming industry, says Helena Fruscio, director of Creative Industries, a state-wide initiative to tap into the growing sector of creative arts blossoming across the Commonwealth. As part of the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development, Fruscio’s job is to identify, unify and strengthen all of the creative industries in Massachusetts, from performing arts and filmmaking to publishing and digital games. This year, 38 Massachusetts companies exhibited at the show, said Tim Loew, executive director of Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDigi). The state-designated organization stimulates collaborative efforts among academia, entrepreneurs, state government and the gaming industry while promoting Massachusetts as a place well-positioned for growth in this burgeoning field. Loew said the MassDigi booth bustled all weekend. “We had drop-in mentoring for aspiring game developers of all ages, game demos from local companies Little Worlds Interactive, gameblyr, Moonshot Games and Catlateral Damage, area college and university students, special international friends in the Swiss Gaming Corner from swissnex Boston and more,” he said. PAX East 2014 wasn’t just about game-playing; there were nearly 200 panel discussions, ranging from “Land My Job! Inside Advice in Getting into the Game Industry,” to “The Sports Video Game Crisis.” And a number of universities – including Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Becker College, Fitchburg State University and other schools – were on hand to discuss their digital gaming courses and programs. One educational program that attracted attention was MassDiGI’s Summer Innovation Program (SIP), a twelve-week long paid internship of interest to college and university students from around the country who are studying game development. “Students work on teams, under the guidance of professional game industry producers and mentors with the objective of publishing a game,” Loew says about the highly competitive internships. “This year SIP received applications from 31 different academic institutions.” Massachusetts ranks in the top five most creative and innovative clusters of game developers in the country, Loew reckons. “With over 125 studios across the Commonwealth, Massachusetts game developers are building games for smartphones and tablets, personal computers and consoles, and for entertainment as well as education and other markets. And, with more people across the world playing more games on more devices than ever before, Massachusetts game developers are well-positioned for growth.”
Massachusetts Hosts Economic Development Summit on April 10
Greg Bialecki, secretary of the state’s Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development, has invited leaders from business, government and academia to convene this Thursday, April 10, 2014, for Massachusetts’ annual economic development summit. Over 200 participants are attending the all-day event at the Newton Marriott Hotel, including a cross-section of business leaders, state and municipal officials and global thinkers who have helped strengthen Massachusetts’ reputation as a world leader in innovation and entrepreneurship. The summit is an outgrowth of Choosing to Compete in the 21st Century, the state’s central organizing framework for measuring its economic development activities. This comprehensive plan, initiated by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2010, builds upon Governor Deval Patrick ’s core strategy of long-term investments in education, innovation and infrastructure, and focuses on five broad categories for action, along with 55 specific action steps. These five categories include Building Talent, Innovation Economy, Empowering Regions, Ease of Doing Business and Cost Competitiveness. Bialecki stresses “collaboration and strategic planning” as key ingredients for sustainable economic growth in the future, so much of the discussion will focus on state initiatives that meet these criteria. Examples include developing advanced manufacturing partnerships and middle-skills training in community colleges; creating innovation ecosystems to spawn startups; strengthening housing, job and educational opportunities across the entire state; and enacting ways to improve cost competitiveness while making it easy to do business in Massachusetts. Here is an online version of the brochure, and of the program and panelist biographies. For more information on the economic development summit, contact ChooseToCompete@state.ma.us. For an ongoing look at the state’s progress, visit Mass.gov/compete.
Worcester Technical High School – the School that Works
Worcester Technical High School has been getting a lot of accolades recently and for good reason. A recent story in The Boston Globe, titled, “Worcester a model for Boston’s only vocational school,” noted that Worcester Tech, “among the country’s best schools, with about 98 percent of its 1,400 students graduating in four years, and about 60 percent going on to college,” is a model that other vocational schools, like Madison Park High School in Boston, can replicate. A reason for Worcester’s success, says the Globe, is because “the community at large, including businesses, higher education and non-profits, made the school a shared cause.” Another reason for its success is Dr. Sheila Harrity, who became principal in 2006 and is credited, along with community leaders, with helping to turn the school around. Dr. Harrity’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. In 2013, she was named Massachusetts Principal of the Year, and the U.S. Department of Education named Worcester Tech the National Blue Ribbon School for Outstanding Student Achievement. Then last fall, Harrity was named the 2014 National High School Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. She became the first Massachusetts principal to win the award. There’s more good news for Worchester Tech. On June 11, 2014, President Barack Obama is attending the school’s graduation to deliver the main speech, which is being held at the DCU Center. The school is honored by the president’s visit, said Dr. Harrity in a prepared statement, “As a pre-eminent leader and advocate for Career and Technical Education (CTE), the president’s work and commitment to promoting equality of opportunity for all, will inspire the class of 2014.” Building middle skills educational programs for Massachusetts students who aren’t necessarily going on to a four-year college is one of the priorities of the Patrick Administration. The Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development has been creating collaborative regional partnerships with employers, educators, workforce development specialists and schools to develop middle skills jobs in advanced manufacturing and other areas. Dr. Harrity is one of the speakers at the state’s economic development summit, Choosing to Compete in the 21st Century, on April 10, 2014. The all-day summit brings together leaders from throughout Massachusetts to discuss the Commonwealth’s economic development strategy for long-term investments in education, innovation and infrastructure.
Massachusetts – A Seafood Paradise
(Caption: Port of New Bedford) Earlier this month 35 of the world’s leading seafood buyers journeyed to New Bedford, to spend a day at one of the world’s great fishing ports. They attended the Whaling City Seafood Auction, toured three local seafood processing companies and met with seafood industries leaders as well as New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell. The buyers came from Belgium, China, France, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The visit was organized by the Food Export USA, a non-profit export promotion group, and Massachusetts Export Center, which has been organizing this yearly visit for a decade now, in the wake of the international seafood exposition that takes place at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center in Boston’s Seaport District each March. The Mass Export Center is part of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network “It is really exciting to mark the tenth anniversary of this effort,” says Nancy Lowd of the Export Center. “Seafood is one of the most important exports from Massachusetts and New Bedford is once again our nation’s largest fishing port by catch value.” “The tour of New Bedford seafood operations is the highlight of the trip for buyers, and is instrumental in clinching business deals,” said Coleen Coyne, Seafood Program Coordinator for Food Export USA. “Last year’s mission resulted in more than $22 million in exports of seafood.” Afterwards the international visitors took a boat tour around New Bedford’s working harbor, where they got to appreciate the rich heritage of the city’s maritime traditions. New Bedford is surely the world’s most famous whaling era seaport – thanks to the writings of Herman Melville and others – and now New Bedford Port has become the number one commercial fishing port in America, especially for scallops. “Scallops make up an estimated 80 percent of the $411 million in landings in 2012, and the fishing industry as a whole generates some $1 billion a year in economic activity,” notes The Boston Globe. The fishing industry has long been an important part of the Massachusetts economy; witness the five foot ‘sacred cod’ that has been hanging in the Massachusetts House of Representative Chambers since 1784. Massachusetts and seafood continue to be intertwined. Seafood Expo North America, held each year at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, is the largest seafood trade event in North America, drawing 1,090 exhibitors from 47 countries to showcase their products. “The Seafood Show has continued to grow over the years in Boston to become the largest seafood expo in North America,” said James E. Rooney, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority. “We are proud to see the positive economic impact that the show has on Boston, and the reputation it has around the world as being a go-to marketplace for seafood and seafood processing.” At the same time, state leaders are setting up a Massachusetts Seafood Marketing Program to help promote the state’s seafood industry, and to encourage residents to buy local products. To find out more about New Bedford and business opportunities there, visit the Massachusetts Office of Business Development or the New Bedford Economic Development Council.
Exports Are Up in Massachusetts
(Caption: Conley Terminal, Photo Courtesy of Massport) What do medical devices, semi-conductors, turbojets and fish oil have in common? They are all “made in Massachusetts” products that are exported and sold in 234 countries around the world. Exports are an important component of the Massachusetts economy; in 2013 we shipped $26.8 billion worth of merchandise outside of our borders. That’s an increase of 4.6% from 2012, according to statistics compiled by the US Census Bureau and recently released by the International Trade Administration. That’s good news for the 9,000 Bay State companies that export, says Paula Murphy, Director of the Massachusetts Export Center, adding that more than 90% of those companies are small and medium businesses. The Center is the state’s one-stop resource for export assistance, providing one-on-one technical assistance to Massachusetts businesses, and offering them customized solutions to grow their export capacity. It offers a range of services, such as regular webinars, workshops, and certification programs for getting into the export business. The Center is part of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network, which has offices around the state. The increase in exports is another sign that the state’s economic development strategy, Choosing to Compete in the 21st Century, continues to pay dividends. Having worked its way through the recession of 2008 quicker than most other states, Massachusetts is poised for significant growth, as long term investment in education, innovation and infrastructure continue to strengthen our economy. The international market is a big part of that growth potential. According to the 2013 statistics, Canada is our biggest buyer, purchasing $3.7 billion of our goods, followed by China ($2 billion), Mexico ($1.86 billion), Germany ($1.85 billion), and Japan ($1.8 billion). Massachusetts enjoys a strong brand across the world, thanks to our longstanding traditions of commerce and trade, the reputation of our colleges and universities, medical and research institutions, our cultural richness, and our attractiveness as a vacation destination. In recent years, our innovation economy has also emerged as one of the defining characteristics of what makes Massachusetts so special. For more information about the Massachusetts Export Center and how it can help your business, contact Paula Murphy at Paula.Murphy@state.ma.us
MassChallenge Becoming a Global Brand
(Caption: Akhil Nigam, MassChallenge Co-founder & President) MassChallenge is the quintessential startup. When co-founders Akhil Nigam and John Harthorne launched it in 2010, they challenged entrepreneurs from around the world to submit their ideas, offering to help develop the best ones into viable products; and ultimately, to help get the products to market. A startup to help startups – what a winning idea. Now in its fifth year, MassChallenge has become the world’s largest startup accelerator, giving entrepreneurs the resources they need to launch and to succeed immediately. It awards prize money with no strings attached, and offers winners world-class mentorship and training, free office space, access to funding, legal advice, media outreach and over $15 million of in-kind support. And now, MassChallenge is becoming a global brand. At the recent kickoff of the 2014 startup accelerator competition on February 12, Nigam, Governor Deval Patrick, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, and leaders from the innovation community gathered at the Innovation and Design Building in Boston’s Seaport District, where the new MassChallenge offices will open on May 1, 2014. At the same time, Chief Executive Officer Harthorne was in Tel Aviv, Israel, connected by video conference, simultaneously kicking off the MassChallenge Israel 2014 program. And finally, the cofounders announced that the group is launching a third location in London this December, called MassChallenge UK. The success of MassChallenge has been hailed by Governor Deval Patrick, who recognizes the value of global engagement as the key to growth and success. “The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is well positioned to continue its leadership among the global innovation economy because of our strategic investments in innovation, education and infrastructure,” Governor Patrick said at the event. “MassChallenge’s new program in the UK and its programs in Boston and Israel do important work to connect these hubs of entrepreneurship.” Harthorne called MassChallenge’s success “a testament to the unwavering support of the Boston community and partners from around the world, including our family of entrepreneurs who work tirelessly to build companies that produce powerful results.” Last year along, MassChallenge applications came from over 40 countries, and the new programs in Israel and the UK will surely expand that reach in years to come. To date, MassChallenge has supported 489 new startups, creating more than 3,900 jobs, and raising $472 in outside funding. But there’s an intrinsic value too: MassChallenge has demonstrated that innovation thrives when people share ideas with one another. That spirit of collaboration, creativity and ingenuity, in an incubator setting where the best ideas prevail, is what makes Massachusetts such a hub of innovation. The deadline for submissions to MassChallenge 2014 is April 2, and early bird applications are accepted on March 5, 2014.
MassEcon Seeks Massachusetts’ Best New Companies in 2013
(Caption: 2013 Honorees at MassEcon Corporate Welcome Reception) MassEcon, the state’s private sector partner in promoting Massachusetts as the premier choice for business growth, is seeking nominations for the best new companies to set up shop in Massachusetts since January 1, 2013. These companies will be invited to attend the sixth annual MassEcon Corporate Welcome Reception, taking place on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at Genzyme headquarters in Kendall Square, Cambridge. The gathering includes 100 private sector leaders and senior state officials, including Gregory Bialecki, Secretary of the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development. Last year’s event welcomed seventeen companies new to Massachusetts, including both start-up companies and established businesses, originating from across the United States and around the world. Here is a list of the 2013 companies with profiles. Susan Houston, Executive Director of MassEcon, says the corporate welcome reception is a great way for new companies to meet their colleagues, competitors and potential collaborators in a relaxed, informal setting. “MassEcon and its Ambassadors want to say ‘thank you’ to these companies for locating in Massachusetts,” says Houston. “Connecting their executives with contacts from the state, academia, and other industries tells these companies that there is a community ready to support their growth.” Here is the MassEcon Nomination Form. The eligible companies must have established a new physical presence in Massachusetts since January 1, 2013. Deadline for submission is Tuesday, March 4, 2014. For questions about the nomination process, please contact Samantha Lordi at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-924-4600 x13.
Advancing Manufacturing in Massachusetts
Massachusetts, renowned as America’s manufacturing epicenter in the mid-19th century, is rapidly regaining its spot as a leading manufacturing center, but with a 21st century twist. The state’s robust innovation economy has stimulated a new era of advanced manufacturing that relies on high-tech, precision machinery to produce a range of products including medical devices, robots, military equipment, green-energy technology and video games. Governor Deval Patrick recognizes the potential of advanced manufacturing to create jobs and move the economy forward. In his recent State of the Commonwealth address, Governor Patrick emphasized the strength of advanced manufacturing in our innovation economy. A few days after the address, Governor Patrick traveled to western Massachusetts to tour Advanced Manufacturing Co, Inc of Westfield, a family-owned business that makes precision parts for submarines, jets, helicopters and the International Space Station. Founded in 1962, the company has 200 workers. The governor’s commitment to advanced manufacturing is longstanding. In 2011 he launched the Massachusetts Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative (AMC), a group of leaders from industry, academia and government formed to map out a strategy for this emerging sector. The group created a five-point agenda to Promote Manufacturing, Educate the Workforce, Provide Technical Assistance, Ease the Cost of Doing Business and Gain Access to Capital Resources. See Governor Patrick on the Today Show talking about manufacturing. In its economic development plan, Choosing to Compete in the 21st century, the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development has identified Building Talent as one of five key initiatives. Indeed, one of our biggest challenges over the next decade is to train up to 100,000 skilled workers to enter the advanced manufacturing industry. AMC is working with high schools, vocational schools, community colleges and universities to provide training in computer and engineering courses to meet this demand. In a recent visit to Springfield Technical Community College, EOHED Secretary Greg Bialecki praised western Massachusetts for “deliberately seizing the opportunity” to bring precision manufacturing back. “You’ve got businesses, government, academic and community working together, saying let’s do it.” One program that is creating a buzz about advanced manufacturing is AMP iT UP!, a statewide promotional campaign educating students about manufacturing careers in Massachusetts. In December 2013, Mass Development announced nearly $110,000 in AMP it UP! matching grants to eleven programs across the Commonwealth that promote manufacturing as a career. This spring, the Massachusetts Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative is holding its 2nd annual Advanced Manufacturing Summit on April 29, 2014 at the DCU Center in Worcester. The summit brings together hundreds of executives and managers to share industry best practices and to discuss challenges and opportunities facing the advanced manufacturing industry. Here is a list of manufacturers in Massachusetts
Governor Patrick Hails Massachusetts’ Progress in State of the Commonwealth Address
Governor Deval Patrick gave his final State of the Commonwealth speech on Tuesday, January 29, 2014 at the Massachusetts State House. Below are excerpts from the speech. Read the address in its entirety. Today, Massachusetts is first in the nation in student achievement, in health care coverage, in economic competitiveness, in entrepreneurial activity, in venture funding, in energy efficiency and in veterans’ services. Today, our biotech sector is one of the fastest growing in the world, our clean tech sector is seeing double-digit job growth, and we have trained over 100,000 people for jobs with these and other innovators. Today, manufacturing in our state is growing more than 50 percent faster than in the nation as a whole, and seven times the rate it did during the previous administration. Today, we are rebuilding our infrastructure throughout the Commonwealth. Multi-family housing starts have tripled and commercial development is on the rebound. Today, a new 1,200 mile fiber-optic network serves to connect every community to high-speed Internet. Today, over 110,000 acres have been added to our conservation lands, and over two million of our residents will by this year be able to walk to a local park. Today, instead of leaving in droves, young people and families are moving into Massachusetts. Our population is growing again — faster than the rest of the region. We’ve reversed the long decline of past years. Today, our doors are open to new markets around the world through direct flights to Dublin, Madrid, Toronto, the Dominican Republic, Tokyo, Panama City, Istanbul, Dubai and Beijing; Logan saw record numbers of travelers in the last two years; and Worcester Airport is open for business. *** Massachusetts is back in the leadership business, and the state of our Commonwealth is strong. Our strategy for growth is sound. It’s all about investing time, ideas and money in education, innovation and infrastructure. We invest in education because that’s the single best way to prepare our people for work and for life. We invest in innovation because focusing on industries that depend on our kind of concentration of brainpower is the best way to play to our strengths. And we invest in infrastructure because these are the things the public builds as a platform for private investment and personal ambition. Our strategy is a proven path to job growth, to helping people help themselves. So, tonight, I am asking you to recommit to that strategy and to working together to meet our citizens’ unmet needs. Education First and foremost, let’s keep leading in education. Let’s make quality early education and all-day kindergarten available to more young children. Let’s keep lifting higher our strong public schools and keep strengthening our weaker ones. And let’s give our public colleges and universities the resources they need to freeze tuition and fees once again. Let’s keep going. Innovation Let’s keep playing to our strengths by supporting the life sciences and advanced manufacturing, by expanding our clean tech initiatives, including in the burgeoning water technology cluster, by encouraging technology clusters of every kind. Each of these sectors has seen very strong job growth and very strong investment, in both small companies and large ones, well outpacing the average. This is where our present and our future lie. Working together we can double the size of our innovation economy in the next decade. Let’s keep going. Infrastructure And let’s keep rebuilding our infrastructure. This year, we will open the Assembly Square station in Somerville and the Yawkey station in Boston; increase commuter rail service to Worcester; resume seasonal service to the Cape; and launch automated tolling. With your help, Mr. Speaker and Madame President, we can begin construction on the Silver Line to Chelsea, the I-91 viaduct in Springfield, and the last mile of broadband in underserved communities. We can hire the builder for new Red line and Orange line trains, and start building them right here in Massachusetts. And yes, in this year, we can accelerate construction on South Coast Rail. Why Growth Matters With all of us doing what we can, with effective implementation of our strategy and our eye on the common good, we can be confident of sustained economic growth. Economic growth matters — not just because it creates wealth, though that is good; and not just because it expands a given industry or reduces unemployment rates, though that is also good. Growth matters because it creates opportunity, and opportunity is fundamental to who we are. Every one of us has a stake in that. Creating opportunity, keeping the Dream within reach, is the agenda now, just as it has been for the past seven years. Frankly, it is the only agenda I have ever had in this job and the only one worth having. ###
National Library Week in Massachusetts, April 13-19
(Caption: The Bates Reading Room at the Boston Public…
The Spirit of Massachusetts is its People
"Of all the sights that bring people to Massachusetts,…
Pax East 2014 - Future of Gaming is Now
Digital gaming is big business. If you need reassurance…
- RT @SenMikeMoore: Today is Earth Day. Let's pledge to do our part to keep our Earth clean & to protect our nat. resources for future generations.
- RT @MassGovernor: Discussed innovation mission to Mexico & future collaborations between MA and Mexico today at @AIMBusinessNews event. http://t.co/4tfX2E32Xk
- Congrats to Dr. Bob Krim, head of Innovation Center @FraminghamU
@MA_Innovation @CreateMA @MassEcon @MASSTreasury https://t.co/eOioSJWGaJ
- Economic development projects add jobs in Massachusetts