Welcome to Innovation Month in New England!! In case you’re wondering what this month is all about, it’s a grassroots effort designed to bring our community together to celebrate New England and our greater Boston Tech Hub as an amazing place for innovation. Today, we’re officially a week into Innovation Month in New England, and wow – what a great start to this effort! This past week alone we had Angel Boot Camp, TechStars pitch night, MITX awards, Mass Innovation Nights, and capped it off with Start-up Weekend Boston.
The next two weeks are shaping up to be just as exciting with another 40 events taking place (check out Greenhorn Connect for the latest info) Our goal with this post is not to recap past events, (although I’ll encourage you to click the links to read some excellent recaps) but rather to inspire others to contribute to the success of the Tech Hub by highlighting a few individuals that have stood-up, taken action and brought some really impactful programs to life.
Let’s start with TechStars. Just as we were arriving in Boston, Y-Combinator was heading out. It seemed to be all that people talked about, and many equated it to the death of the start-up ecosystem. Bill Warner (Founder of Avid Technology and Wildfire Communications), stood up and cornered Brad Feld over calamari in a Boulder hotel and convinced him that TechStars needed to be in Boston. 18 months later, TechStars has graduated 19 start-ups in Boston under the watchful gaze of Shawn Broderick and 30 mentors!
Support for the under 30 entrepreneur and innovator set was tackled by Cort Johnson and Jake Cacciapaglia when they started DART Boston. DART’s pokin’ holes event has become the go-to event for anyone under 30 to meet other entrepreneurs, and to learn about what is happening in the ecosystem. By adding events such as “Family Dinner” (just a casual get together with some celebrities) and “Capitalize” (geared at getting start-ups feedback on their pitch), Cort and Jake are working hard to ensure that the under 30 group is well represented.
On a similar path, Jason Evanish thought that getting started in Boston as a young first-time entrepreneur was a challenge, so like Bill, Cort and Jake – he set out to create a solution – Greenhorn Connect. In addition to providing the one stop shop for all resources that first time entrepreneurs need (see complete event listing ), Jason is present at nearly every local tech event, advocating for our young entrepreneurs.
Angel Boot Camp which owes its success to Jon Pierce is another great example. Jon organized a small committee of volunteers to obtain speakers, and execute on a day geared toward building tighter connections between entrepreneurs, active angels, and former entrepreneurs who have the ability to serve as role models.
The above examples are about individuals who saw a need, and took action to ensure our ecosystem continues to thrive. These individuals are of course not the only ones doing their part, there are countless others who are stepping up and making an impact. We applaud all of you!
What can you do? It’s easy – be a participant and get involved in the community, introduce yourself at events, or give up a night a month to help mentor young entrepreneurs. If you find yourself complaining or you see something that can help the community thrive, step up and make it happen. We all need to do our part to ensure the Tech Hub continues to thrive. Individuals make the difference, and the more people that are willing to pitch in and help, the further we’ll all collectively be able to go.
At NERD, we’re excited to support the innovation ecosystem in New England, and have tried to contribute in meaningful ways. Tell us what else we can do to ensure that the Boston Tech Hub is the most innovative in the world.