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President Caret, Speaker Robert A. DeLeo visit UMass Boston Venture Development Center to highlight cutting-edge research and entrepreneurial development

President and Speaker connect with young entrepreneurs, affirm commitment to supporting innovation and economic development

BOSTON -- UMass President Robert L. Caret and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo met with students and young entrepreneurs today at the University of Massachusetts Boston's innovative Venture Development Center (VDC). The tour and discussion is one of a number of stops on the UMass President's four-day, 500-mile statewide bus tour to recognize 150 years of UMass academic excellence and economic contributions.

"UMass is committed to providing students with the type of learning environment, resources and tools that foster innovation and encourages and supports entrepreneurial activity," said President Caret. "The UMass Boston Venture Development Center is one of several business incubators throughout the UMass system that works to ensure that the ideas generated in Massachusetts stay in Massachusetts and help to grow our economy here at home."

The visit included a discussion with current start-up businesses, company partners and students to highlight the challenges and opportunities currently facing entrepreneurs in the state. The UMass Boston Venture Development Center is a vibrant entrepreneur community and startup incubator that offers state-of-the-art workspace, mentoring, advanced technology and support services. Startup businesses have collectively attained $35,714,000 in investments during the last eighteen months through the Center and companies have a fundraising success rate of 80 percent, with the amount averaging at $3,571,400.

Speaker DeLeo, who has placed a strong emphasis on making sure that Massachusetts inventions are commercialized here, said: "I've been particularly outspoken this year in talking about how we can keep our innovators here in Massachusetts. One of the things that particularly bothered me was when, last year, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook said that if he had to do it over again, he would have kept Facebook here instead of moving to California."

Speaker DeLeo added: "My speakership has been focused on jobs. I've fought for blue collar jobs and innovation jobs as well as for a full array of employment opportunities for our residents. That's why we put a special focus on innovation jobs in the economic development bill, we passed this year. That law has numerous provisions to make Massachusetts to do business."

In addition to start-up support, the VDC also has developed the Student Entrepreneurship Program, an internship program that pairs startup companies with smart, diverse, driven students to train them for tech startup careers. The internship program has placed 99 interns at nearly 45 different Massachusetts-based companies and seventy percent of interns convert to full-time employment. 

The four-day, 500-mile UMass bus tour includes visits to alumni start-up companies, business incubators, UMass research centers and other key university landmarks across the Commonwealth. The tour, highlighting 150 years of UMass academic excellence and economic contributions, includes stops at the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke, the UMass Gloucester Marine Research Station, the UMass Cranberry Station in Wareham and UMass Dartmouth's MBA program at Cape Cod Community College.

Contact: Robert P. Connolly, 617-548-0238



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Robert P. Connolly
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