Boston’s biggest asset is its well-educated workforce. However, talented employees often end up relocating to New York and the Silicon Valley because those areas are better-equipped to cultivate entrepreneurship in the long-run, according to Ed Glaeser, professor of Economics at Harvard University and author of Triumph of the City. He recently discussed the future of Boston and its ability to compete for innovative companies and jobs during a forum sponsored by Suffolk University’s Sawyer Business School and the Greater Boston Real Estate Board.
Prominent leaders in Boston’s business, academic, media and civic communities addressed not only how Greater Boston can better attract emerging companies, but also how to ensure that these firms remain committed to the area through all phases of their growth.
Michael Greeley, general partner at Flybridge Capital Partners, echoed Glaeser’s concerns about creating a thriving entrepreneurial community. Greeley emphasized the importance of reaching out to younger generations and educating them about opportunities in Boston as part of the effort to promote new, innovative businesses.
Engaging Massachusetts college students is a priority for Greeley’s firm, which developed the Stay in MA program, providing up to $5,000 in college scholarships annually. The firm also sponsors students’ attendance at networking events to help make venture capitalists more accessible to young entrepreneurs.
George Donnelly, editor of the Boston Business Journal, said that one of Boston's biggest challenges is fostering the growth of large companies. Only about 200 companies in Massachusetts employ more than 1,000 people, and Donnelly noted that many large businesses migrate out of the state.
“We want to be a city where people say, ‘I want to live there and work there,’” said Peter Meade, chief economic development officer for the city of Boston.
The moderator for the forum was Peter Howe, an award-winning NECN business reporter.
The event was the first in a three-part series of forums called “Building Boston 2030: Is Being the Smartest City Enough?”