April 2016

Recap: Enabling Youth Employment in Boston

Youth Employment Panel at Roxbury Innovation Center

This Wednesday, we continued our Conversation in Civic Innovation Series with an event at Roxbury Innovation Center focused on Enabling Youth Employment. Through the collaboration and contribution of Resilient Coders, Youth HUB Boston, Jobcase, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), BCYF’s Division of Youth Engagement and Employment, and the City of Boston, we were able to present two distinct panels that explored both the plight and progress of youth employment in Boston.

We kicked off the night with an incredible keynote by Shari Davis of the City of Boston, in which she explains how Boston raised her: through youth employment opportunities and academic programs, Shari was offered a lifetime of opportunity that she now aims to bring to all of Boston’s youth. We then heard from a youth-led panel on their current experiences in employment, followed by a professional panel working to improve opportunity in Boston.

Panelists included:

Youth Panel

Moderator: Aimee Sprung, Microsoft

Professional Panel

  • Ayda Zugay, Youth HUB Boston
  • Matt Cloyd, MAPC
  • Shari Davis, City of Boston
  • Christopher Scranton, Jobcase

Moderator: Kevin Wiant, Venture Cafe

As forward-thinking as our panels were, we know that solving these issues can’t be done in one night. That’s why we’re working to keep the conversation going. With the help of Agora Town Hall, we’ve set up a town hall discussion of our own, where we encourage members of our community to discuss, contribute, and act through message boards, polls, data visualizations, and more. We want to help improve youth employment in our city, and that starts with you. Join us in the conversation at theagora.co/townhalls/mcyouth.

NewCo Boston: A Day to See and be Seen

header-NewCo16-BOS-1200pxThere are some 300 colleges and universities within 90 miles of Boston, Massachusetts. Our region has the most educated population in the nation, and the state is regularly ranked as number one in innovation capacity.

Massachusetts is poised to lead the major innovation wave–one characterized by smart, connected machines and devices. Yet, despite a critical mass of education and innovative organizations we are still, paradoxically, coming up short in one critical component: talent. We need to find new ways to get people together to experience what is happening here and to fill them with the kind of pride and enthusiasm that convinces them to keep their talents here upon graduation.

NewCo Boston, debuting in the area on April 27th, can help accomplish this goal. Founded by six-time media and tech entrepreneur John Battelle, NewCo sets out to identify, celebrate, and connect the engines of positive change in our society while fostering trust, storytelling, and true connection between the people driving a new kind of global capitalism. Through intimate, founder-led sessions, NewCo festivals create lasting engagement and deep, critical connections.

NewCo Boston debuts with 80+ innovative companies from across the region opening their doors and inviting the public in for a behind-the-scenes look at companies and conversations with the founders, CEOs and other drivers of innovation in their native habitats. With more than 750,000 possible combinations, each journey can be unique. The day concludes with hundreds of fellow NewCo attendees mingling amid plush velvet banquettes, gorgeous chandeliers, and luxurious wall coverings at GEM Lounge.

NewCoBos_NewsletterWhat makes NewCo so perfect for Massachusetts?

We need to do a better job exposing our many students to the amazing companies, innovators, and inventions in their own backyard. If we did so, one would reason, more of them might take on internships and jobs locally and end up launching their careers here in Massachusetts rather than going to what may seem like greener, more exciting pastures.

As we showcase the amazing things happening locally on the global NewCo media platform, more people across the 16 other NewCo cities – from Istanbul to Barcelona to San Francisco – will learn about the great inventors and inventions here, thereby elevating our innovation brand and drawing additional attention and talent to the region.

Finally, NewCo gives us a glimpse into the future. What is being developed today will be the products and services of tomorrow. If you’re looking to network, to find a better job, or to just get a few new ideas, it’s a day worth checking out. Learn more, and join 1,000+ others for the inaugural NewCo Boston festival, by visiting bos.newco.co.

Tom Hopcroft is President & CEO of the Mass Technology Leadership Council, organizer of NewCo Boston. He can be reached at tom@Masstlc.org.

Tom headshot4Tom Hopcroft is President & CEO of the Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC), the region’s leading technology association and the premier network for tech executives, entrepreneurs, investors and policy-makers. A Massachusetts attorney and former adjunct professor at Northeastern University’s College of Business Administration, Mr. Hopcroft founded and led the New England Business and Technology Association which merged with the Mass Software Council in 2005 and later the Mass Network Communications Council in 2009 to form what is today the largest technology organization in the New England with 500+ member companies ranging from early stage start-up to global enterprise across the entire tech ecosystem. Hopcroft serves as Chairman of the Fiscal Affairs and Administrative Policy Committee on the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. He is also on the boards of the MassTLC Education Foundation, MassRobotics, and the Technology Councils of North America. Mr. Hopcroft lives in Winchester, MA, with his wife and two boys.

Stormwater Made Sustainable – Opti Prepares Us for Tomorrow’s Storms

Generally speaking, we know when it is going to rain. Local weather forecasts are a daily part of news broadcasts and a staple of small talk. We even have smart rain alerts on our phones as helpful reminders to grab an umbrella before heading out the door. Weather forecast technology is increasingly accurate, hyper-local, and customizable to our daily routines, yet its applications have largely fallen short of addressing what is perhaps rain’s most direct effect — stormwater. Stormwater management challenges like flooding, drought, and pollution continue to catch our urban communities underprepared, despite the accessibility of rainfall forecasts. We know when it is going to rain, so why doesn’t our infrastructure?

Enter OptiRTC, or Opti for short. Opti was formed as a spin-out in December 2014 to bring innovative software to stormwater management, and currently offers the only industry solution that is truly cloud-based, hardware agnostic, and provides active forecast-based control of distributed stormwater infrastructure. Opti’s proven application of continuous monitoring and adaptive control (CMAC) technology enables municipalities and corporate landowners to meet their multi-billion dollar mandate to prevent water pollution, waste, and flooding with the cost savings and flexibility provided by a cloud-based solution.

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Opti manages stormwater at the watershed scale. Distributed infrastructure is connected and controlled via Opti’s cloud platform, built natively on Microsoft Azure.

How can a cloud platform help keep our water clean and our cities safe?

Opti products address stormwater management in a completely modern way. By combining lightweight IoT hardware with a platform natively built on Microsoft Azure, Opti is able to predictively, autonomously, and securely control stormwater facilities based on the forecasted rainfall.

Most existing stormwater infrastructure handles water passively. Rain falls onto hard surfaces like roads and roofs and flows downstream into temporary storage like a pond or concrete tank before finally reaching our rivers and oceans. Passive infrastructure is designed for a targeted event or average performance over the long term. This means that for the majority of rain events that are larger or smaller than the design storm, passive facility design is suboptimal for achieving performance objectives like water quality treatment or flood prevention. The effects are measurable.

When stormwater facilities function ineffectively, communities are negatively affected by a range of financial and environmental impacts including costly fines, poor water quality, localized flooding, and combined sewer overflows (CSOs). For example, among the 770 cities in the United States with combined sewer systems, the US EPA estimates that over 900 billion gallons of raw sewage are discharged into natural water bodies every year from CSOs. Many municipalities now have legal obligations to improve stormwater infrastructure performance under federally mandated consent decrees. And CSOs are just one of the many stormwater challenges that must be addressed at the watershed scale. As Opti CEO Marcus Quigley indicates, “Opti has a critical role to play in a broad range of stormwater management contexts by providing a means for deriving significant additional value from existing infrastructure to build more resilient and healthy cities.”

By making predictive, rather than reactive decisions, Opti lowers the risk of managing stormwater.  It enables stormwater managers to dependably keep their watersheds safe and in compliance to avoid costly regulatory fines. In addition to performing in the field, Opti technology provides access to historical and real-time data (stored in the cloud) that can be used to both prove and improve system performance.

DASHBOARD

Web-based dashboards display system performance data and weather forecast information. Stormwater managers can check on their systems, export custom data sets for analysis, and even remotely open or close valves in manual control mode. Typically, however, these systems operate autonomously in “automatic control” mode.

A powerful solution in the “Internet of Stormwater”

Opti_SitePhoto

Opti deployed an adaptively controlled valve to optimize this 4 million gallon stormwater pond for water quality improvement and erosion reduction. When a storm is forecast, the valve closes. The valve remains closed for the duration of the storm, allowing the pond to collect rain and runoff that could otherwise overwhelm downstream waterways and cause erosion. Once the storm has passed, Opti continues holding back the collected water to allow sediment and pollutants to settle out, improving water quality. Then, during dry weather, the valve automatically opens again, releasing cleaner water downstream.

Opti has created the Internet of Stormwater – giving cities a modern, more powerful, and cost effective tool to mitigate their stormwater problems from a Microsoft Azure platform.

Opti chose Microsoft Azure with security, scale, and flexibility in mind. With hundreds of monitoring points and dozens of adaptively controlled valves active in watersheds across the United States, it is important that the cloud-native platform function reliably to ensure low risk, high performance stormwater management. Azure also empowers efficient product development and administration, allowing for regular upgrades and secure user management across all of Opti’s systems.

With the Internet of Stormwater built on Microsoft Azure, Opti intelligently connects weather forecasts to the infrastructure that must manage the rain when it falls. Opti’s proven software products and IoT technology address a range of connected stormwater management demands including green infrastructure initiatives, disaster resiliency, regulatory compliance, and watershed restoration. With predictive control technology for stormwater, Opti is preparing today’s infrastructure for tomorrow’s storms.

Microsoft announces teacher-inspired updates for Windows, Office, ‘Minecraft’

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At Microsoft, we’re all in on education!

Our company mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. In education, it’s to empower every student. Today, we’re proud to share the latest on what’s coming to New England for Back-to-School 2016/2017.

Introducing Microsoft Classroom and Microsoft Forms, OneNote Class Notebook now with Learning Management System (LMS) integration, new experiences for Windows 10 and the dawn of “Minecraft: Education Edition” – Get ready!

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First, we are announcing all new education features coming in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, features specifically inspired by teachers and focused on students.    

Faster, easier set-up:

Shared devices in the classroom are the norm – in the U.S., nearly 90 percent of schools report using shared devices. We also know that nearly 50 percent of teachers serve as their own tech support in their classroom. Until now, setting these devices up has been complex and getting students productive often takes too long.  

With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update we are introducing a ”Set Up School PCs” app that allows teachers to set up a device themselves in a simple three-step process in minutes. We’ve also made significant performance improvements for affordable devices. We expect the average first login to take 26 seconds, with subsequent logins of 6 seconds when the student uses that machine again.     

Secure assessments:

Testing is going digital — teachers consistently tell us they want a simple way to set up quizzes or standardized tests digitally. The Windows 10 Anniversary Update brings a new ‘Take a Test’ app – simple and more secure standardized testing for the whole classroom or the whole school, where teachers or IT can lock down the testing environment, or enable simple quizzing.

Education-ready Windows Store:

Nearly 60 percent of teachers purchase and load apps themselves. With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, the Windows Store will enable teachers to access thousands of apps, and schools can purchase and deploy them in bulk.

Free upgrade and affordable devices:

More and more, educators are asking us about affordable devices. We have a great portfolio of affordable, durable and innovative Windows 10 devices starting at $199, designed for the demands of education.  

So you can see, the Windows 10 Anniversary Update brings a huge range of education-specific features that teachers and students are going to love. Learn even more about these new updates, and more, over on the Windows blog!

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Second, we are announcing some big improvements to Office 365 Education. 

Today we are announcing Microsoft Classroom a new experience in Office 365 Education. Microsoft Classroom is designed to be the one place students and teachers come to manage their day from Class Notebooks, assignments and grades to conversations, calendars and to announcements!

We’re piloting this with Omaha Public Schools in Nebraska. Let me just share with you what they had to say . . .

“It simplifies our digital classroom management and frees up our teachers so they can spend more time with students and less time managing administrative access to class materials.” Rob Dickson, Executive Director, Information Management Services of Omaha Public Schools.

A key piece of Microsoft Classroom is OneNote, a tool currently used in classrooms around the world to provide students with an immersive and inclusive learning experience. Visit here to learn how OneNote is transforming a special education classroom at Holly Springs Elementary School in Georgia.

Today we are also announcing Microsoft School Data Sync (SDS) – a powerful complement for Microsoft Classroom. SDS connects Microsoft Classroom to a School Information System (SIS), so teacher, student and classes information is automatically populated in Microsoft Classroom and OneNote Class Notebooks. School Data Sync will be included in Office 365 Education.  Think of it as a super simple process that quickly provisions a set of classes and rosters from many School Information Systems already used.

Also being announced: Microsoft Forms – a simple way to quickly assess student progress and get feedback with easy-to-create surveys and quizzes. It’s in public preview starting today for Office 365 Education here.

OneNote Class Notebooks are the heart of our education experience and they just keep getting better and better. We have seen incredible momentum – with millions of student notebooks created just this school year – and currently running over 10,000 a day!

To hear one educator describe it: “It’s your whole classroom (lesson plans, materials, assignments and student work) in a digital binder with tools for communication and collaboration!” 

We’re also announcing Class Notebook assignment and grading integration is now available with more than 25 Learning Management System partners – including leaders like Canvas, Edmodo, Schoology, Brightspace and Moodle. Learn more here.

We’re really excited about all of these improvements for Office 365 Education coming for the new school year! Learn more about all of the updates to Office happening for education – check out the Office blog here.

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Finally, we’ve got some great news about “Minecraft: Education Edition! June begins an early access program of “Minecraft: Education Edition.” It will be available for any educator to download and try for free on Windows 10 and OS X El Capitan.    

This program is a great way for educators and administrators who are interested in “Minecraft: Education Edition” to give it a test run in the summer months and give us more feedback and suggestions.  

If you are new to “Minecraft” in the classroom, check out education.minecraft.net for resources to help prepare, including lesson plans and a new “Minecraft” mentors program to connect with amazing teachers already using “Minecraft.”

What’s the next step? Upgrade your devices to Windows 10 or OS X El Capitan, and sign up for an Office 365 Education account.

To learn more about “Minecraft: Education Edition” and the upcoming early access program, check out our blog.

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The culture at Microsoft is customer-obsessed and we’ve been hard at work listening to teachers and students. We hope you love what’s coming this summer and we look forward to your continued feedback and hearing about the amazing things happening in your classroom. Let me know what you think on Twitter – @microsoft_edu @tony_prophet #MSFTEDU.

Microsoft brings Bridge to MassChallenge to Australia

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From left, Pip Marlow of Microsoft; Christopher Pyne, Australia’s Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science; and Kara Shurmantine, Senior Director for Global Partnerships at MassChallenge.

Our cities thrive on innovation, collaboration, and forward-thinking missions. In Boston, we help bring all of this together through missions like MassChallenge. MassChallenge was founded as a non-profit organization in the aftermath of the global financial crisis “as a way of focusing on those who were creating the new jobs, and finding creative solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems,” writes Dan’l Lewin, Microsoft corporate vice president, Technology & Civic Engagement.

“As a company built on empowering every person and every organization on the planet to do more and achieve more, it was a natural fit for Microsoft to become MassChallenge’s first corporate partner,” Lewin says.

Last year, we were able to show off our city — and MassChallenge — to delegates from Australia at our #JoinedUp meeting, helping our Australian friends create new policies and ideas by showcasing what works best in Boston. And we’re excited to see that Australia has adapted some of these practices into their own work.

U.S. startup accelerator MassChallenge will soon set up its first Bridge to MassChallenge program in Australia, with Microsoft as its founding partner, the Australian government announced Tuesday.

Read more about Australia’s Bridge to MassChallenge program on Microsoft On The Issues.

Jobcase and Youth HUB Boston Improve Young Adults’ Access to Meaningful Work

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Last month, Jobcase, a social media platform working to empower America’s workforce, and Microsoft New England, a local branch promoting research, software innovation and community in the heart of Kendall Square, partnered with Dorchester-based career-readiness nonprofit Youth HUB Boston, to host a youth job fair. The novel collaboration of tech companies and a local service organization ultimately connected over 400 attendees with more than 20 local employers.

The event was created to empower young people in their job search- to provide them with access to tools and resources to help them make their own best case to employers, to identify jobs that are the best fit for their skills and long-term career goals, and to increase opportunities for local employers to discover youth talent in underserved communities.

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Hosting the event at Youth HUB Boston’s headquarters in Dorchester’s Codman Square, Youth HUB, Jobcase, and Microsoft provided young job seekers with a range of career development resources. Upon arrival, job fair participants received a checklist of “keys to career development”, outlining elements crucial to both short and long term success in their career paths. Throughout the course of the event, attendees received guidance on preparing job applications and seeking references, best practices for resume writing, strategies for networking and advice on how to use online Jobcase career profiles to best showcase their talents. The Jobcase team helped attendees create and customize their own Jobcase career profiles, developing elements to best showcase their achievements from work experience, school, or volunteering. To further strengthen participants’ online career presence, Jobcase also provided free professional headshot photos – an important requirement for anyone looking to build a personal career brand. Ultimately, the most effective advantage provided may be the ability to connect to peers via the Jobcase network, which enables people to reach out to one another to offer or receive help, creating a path for neighbor-to-neighbor supported career success.

Microsoft generously donated Surface Tablets for use at the event, enabling attendees to easily access the Jobcase social media platform and more effectively network with each other and employers at the event. The tablets also enabled workshops to be hands-on and interactive, gave attendees the ability to easily take immediate steps to create their own professional profiles and helped them explore new resources and tools.

“The event was powerful because we were able to get youth talent and local employers in the same room,” noted Ayda Zugay, Youth HUB’s Interim Executive Director. “It was a visual representation of the need in our community for youth jobs, as well as the desire of local employers to see our youth as assets not liabilities. Jobcase and Microsoft played a key role in amplifying this effect well beyond the 400 attendees, to a community of over 10,000 – that is real systems change.”

With over 50 million members, Jobcase is a social media platform that empowers users to showcase and improve their work life and Youth Hub is a non-profit organization focused on youth employment and job readiness. Working together, they explained, the non-profit and tech communities can improve underserved communities’ access to crucial career resources. Through this novel collaboration, the partners have also created innovative approaches for empowering people to be successful in 21st-century career development. This is a great example of how local tech companies can “give back” most effectively, by powering non-profit organizations with the right tools for success.

“Getting started in your worklife, or career, can sometimes be a confusing and daunting task – we’ve all been there,” said Fred Goff, CEO of Jobcase, “By freely equipping young job seekers with the right digital tools, Jobcase not only empowers them to more effectively job search, but through the Jobcase platform, we are also able to introduce them to a community of people who have been in their shoes and can provide guidance on not just finding any job, but finding a great one. It’s those relationships that we hope will help them throughout their entire career.”

Microsoft’s contributions were also crucial to the success of the Youth Hub job fair which had over 400 attendees, nearly 200 employment applications, and over 100 youth who attended workshops such as resume writing, branding and networking, mock interviews and over 50 youth who left with professional profile photos. 

Jobcase is seeking additional opportunities to partner with nonprofit organizations to continue helping empower America’s workforce. If you are interested in working with, sponsoring, volunteering at, or attending a future Jobcase event, or would like to learn more about Jobcase and its Jobcase Cares Initiative, please contact myself, Christopher Scranton (Christopher@jobcase.com), or head over to Jobcase.com and join in the conversation!

ChristopherScranton1
Christopher Scranton is the Director of Corporate Development & Nonprofit Partnerships at Jobcase. He leads Jobcase Cares, the company’s initiative to provide big data technology to support collaborations with nonprofit, government, and industry partners that empower American workers. Prior to Jobcase, Christopher was Senior Manager for Big Data & Technology Initiatives for the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. He led the Massachusetts Big Data Initiative’s efforts to support and grow business activity, research, collaboration, and innovation in big data, open data, and analytics across the region. Before MassBigData, Christopher led grant programs at MassTech focused on technology-based, cluster-focused economic development efforts in support of emerging and innovation-rich industries including advanced manufacturing, nanotech, digital games, and clean energy. Prior to his work for the state, he was Operations Director at City Year.

MassChallenge Takes On Microsoft Build Conference

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Earlier this month, MassChallenge was thrilled to be one of the accelerators invited to attend Microsoft’s Build Conference in San Francisco, CA. While there were many exciting parts of the multi-day event, the highlight of our visit was spending time with Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella and a few other startup accelerators at an intimate round-table session.

Satya took a keen interest in making sure Microsoft was doing all they could to support startups and accelerators. One comment that stood out during the session was from a colleague at TechStars, who noted how their conversations with the company have shifted from focusing on selling software to truly selling solutions to startups. MassChallenge has also seen this shift and continued to be pleased with our partnership.

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MassChallenge stood out among other accelerators due to our equity-free, non-profit model as well as our focus on global expansion. We were the only accelerator thinking globally and are excited to have Microsoft as an early supportive partner in 5 countries today, and hopefully 12 countries by 2020. The mission at MassChallenge–to do all we can to help startups win if it’s humanly possible–aligns with Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

We are excited to continue our partnership with Microsoft and are thankful for the opportunity to attend //build!

DigiGirlz Take on Massachusetts

DigiGirlz MA Work on Surface

DigiGirlz logoOn Friday, April 1st 2016, our New England Campus of Microsoft held our annual DIGIGIRLZ DAY at our Kendall Square office with our largest group yet –  175 attendees, providing middle and high school girls with a better understanding of careers in technology and how technology can simply be fun! Attendees came from Boston, North and South Shore, Central MA, and as far away as Cranston, Rhode Island thanks to Lorilyn Hall and Dino Ciccone who helped get their local school to attend.

We had a great day using Twitter #DigiGirlzMA with contests and ending with raffling off great prizes including a Surface:

Recap: Female Founders Night at Roxbury Innovation Center’s Café Night

Photo via Erica Orthmann, LaunchSquad

Photo via Erica Orthmann, LaunchSquad

This month, the Café Nights at the Roxbury Innovation Center featured a phenomenally accomplished panel of Female Founders.  The specific panelists included: Jana Eggers, CEO of Nara Logics, Elsa Sze, CEO of Agora Town Hall, Donna Levin, Co-Founder of Care.com. Bobbie Carlton, Founder of Innovation Women, Nicole Castillo, Founder of BeVisible Latina and Susan Windham-Bannister, President and CEO of Biomedical Growth Strategies LLC.  After listening to these entrepreneurial women, the Microsoft New England Team wanted to blog about the invaluable advice they offered other founders.  Below, we documented the most important values that each founder shared with the audience.  While we wish we could have recorded every bit of wisdom they espoused, this condensed summary will have to do…

Jana Eggers

Jana spoke at length about time management and balance.  It is arduous to have both a full time job and a fledgling start-up.  Founders need to make tough calls about when they will allocate time for the new venture and understand the opportunity costs of not being present for other aspects of their lives.  This will always be a challenge for any new founder, but can certainly be more difficult for female founders.  Jana suggested ruthlessly prioritizing what is most important and then allowing everything else to be second to that goal.

Elsa Sze

Elsa elaborated on how a founder can “bootstrap” an entire entrepreneurial operation.  Elsa was particularly successful in this respect and also worked with “angle investors”.  

Furthermore, Elsa said, “Never limit yourself”, which is a valuable mantra to have when starting a business.  Part of the reason that Agora was incredibly successful was that Elsa truly believed in the concept behind the company and her confidence in the venture fueled her to seek out every opportunity she could find.  

Donna Levin

Donna noted that universities and colleges are all interested in innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems: they’re innovation hubs!  Educational environments also host conferences and forums through which founders can connect with other professionals in their respective industries and get advice from professors.  (As an aside, we’re lucky to be in an intellectual mecca in Cambridge/Boston with the plethora of universities and funding!)

Bobbie Carlton

Bobbie stressed the importance of having your finances in order before you start a business.  While this advice may seem obvious, she clearly articulated a problem with which many founders struggle.  Bobbie also mentioned how important it is to think about your company as an asset and to have a plan as to how your business will make a profit.

A piece of advice that really resonated with us was “Own what you know, be confident in what you know and learn about areas that are uncomfortable for you”; this candor is incredibly helpful to new founders.

Nicole Castillo

Nicole explained how social media is a helpful tool when activating a “network”.  It is important to be visible, facilitate conversations and engage your customers.  Social media is a versatile (and often free!) platform that can be used to spread messages with ease.  Many founders do not know how to successful tap into the power of social media and therefore their venture suffers from a lack of exposure.  Nicole suggested working on a way to “craft a message” about the product that would stand out on a social media platform.

Roxbury Innovation Center’s next Café Night will be held April 26, exploring the Veteran Entrepreneur. More info can be found here.

Microsoft New England Picks: 6 Not-To-Miss Events This Week

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Boston is busy this week, with Marathon Monday a week away and Red Sox Opening Day kicking off the spring season. Athletics aside, we’ve gathered some of our top local events in civic tech, STEM, and more:

EdVestors1) Edvestors 2016 Urban Education Showcase
Monday, April 11, 4pm — 7pm
District Hall | 75 Northern Ave | Boston
Twitter: @EdVestors | 

The 2016 Urban Education Showcase will center around solution-seekers and their best ideas for improving schools. Nine new school-based projects that have received investments of $10,000 each from EdVestors in 2016. They will join us at the Showcase to share their work and a handful of the most promising projects will go in-depth about how they got their breakthrough ideas, what they’ve learned so far, and the potential their work has for transforming urban education.

2) The Future of Big Data Tech Talk
Monday, April 11, 6pm
Microsoft New England R&D Center | 1 Memorial Drive | Boston
Twitter: @MSNewEngland

We live in an extraordinary time for data. In our mobile-first world, we have a multitude of devices — phones, IoT sensors, computers — capturing every step, touch, decision and action we take. In a cloud-first world, we have incredible data storage and processing capabilities to capture this torrent of data, analyze & combine them, share insights with others, and drive automated learning. The result is new productivity experiences where we are limited only by our data dreams and ability to imagine value from the data we possess.

epicenter3) Party with the Evolutionaries: Epicenter Community Launch Party
Tuesday, April 12, 6:30pm — 9pm
Minibar | 51 Huntington Ave | Boston
Twitter: @epicentercom

Join founder Malia Lazu and clandestine community supporters in the celebration of the launch of Epicenter Community!

For over 3 years we have created some exciting programming together. Programming that has had real impact in Boston, from helping launch over 14 local businesses to increasing the number of restaurants and restaurateurs of color through increasing the number of liquor licenses in Boston. Future Boston successful program is now being housed under a new organization, Epicenter Community.

Epicenter Community simply represents the next logical evolution of the work and impact that Future Boston has imparted in Boston. Future Boston’s programming will continue under Epicenter Community.

CSF4) Celebrate Science: 2016 Cambridge Science Festival Kick-Off Party
Thursday, April 14, 5:30pm — 7:30pm
Microsoft New England R&D Center | 1 Memorial Drive | Boston
Twitter: @CSFtweets |  | @kendallnow

The Cambridge Science Festival is an annual 10-day celebration of science, technology, engineering, art and math in Cambridge and New England.  Come celebrate the 10th anniversary science festival, April 15-24See the full agenda here!

To kick-off this year’s festival, Microsoft, MassBio and MassBioEd are hosting a Kendall Square Association “Almost” Third Thursday celebration event. Join us to meet some of innovators behind the Festival’s 170+ events, try out some experiments, network with the STEAM community, and celebrate the science of Kendall Square!

stars-of-stem_logo5) 2016 Stars of STEM Celebration
Thursday, April 14, 6pm — 9pm
Museum of Science Boston | 1 Science Park | Boston
Twitter: @museumofscience

Presented at the Museum’s annual gala, The Stars of STEM Award recognizes individuals, foundations, and corporations that are leading the way in helping the Museum of Science and other institutions educate the next generation of scientists and engineers.

soda-drinker6) Soda Drinker Pro Xbox One Launch Event
Friday, April 15, 6:30pm — 9pm
Microsoft New England R&D Center | 1 Memorial Drive | Boston
Twitter: @SodaDrinkerPro

It’s been almost 3 years in the making and the game is finally coming out on Xbox One!

We hope you can join us for our launch party with games food drinks and fun!

The event is free you just need to RSVP via the ticket link to get in!