AS DELIVERED:
Governor Deval L. Patrick 
Deshpande Entrepreneurship Summit Remarks 
Umass, Lowell
Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Good afternoon and thank you, Desh, for that kind introduction and for all your great work to foster the next generation of entrepreneurs. That work is vital to an  innovation ecosystem in Massachusetts. 

When I first took office nearly 8 years ago, I described a vision for a better, stronger Commonwealth. I talked about good jobs at good wages in every corner of Massachusetts, a great school in every neighborhood, and citizens with a renewed sense of community, where each of us sees the stakes we have in each other’s dreams and struggles. 

That vision was then and is now rooted in the American Dream. The American Dream was worth fighting for, worth serving and sacrificing for. I say this not just as your governor, but as somebody who has lived it. 

Opportunity is central to that vision. And opportunity requires growth. An expanding economy needs well-prepared and competitive talent. It needs people like all of you – inventors and innovators and investors. 

With the help of the Legislature, the universities, business leadership, labor and many others, my administration has executed a strategy for growth by making long-term investments in education, innovation, and infrastructure. Our strategy is paying off:

Today, Massachusetts outperforms the country on both GDP and job growth. For the last 7 years, our economy grew at about twice the national rate and last year alone we added more jobs in a single year than in any year since the tech boom in 2000 – the fourth straight year of strong job gains. 

Multifamily housing starts have tripled and commercial property development is on the rebound. Young people and families are moving into Massachusetts again, and at a faster rate than the rest of the region. 

We are first in the Nation in entrepreneurial activity, in venture funding and economic competitiveness. We earned these top spots because the entrepreneurial spirit in Massachusetts has been expanding and innovation is encouraged.  

Nearly 40 percent of our total employment is within the innovation economy. We are number two in the Nation in high-tech job growth and nearly seven percent of our GDP comes from research and development.

And we’ve done all this responsibly, balancing budgets, replenishing our rainy day fund to one of the strongest in the country and achieving the highest bond rating in Massachusetts’s history.

So, entrepreneurship for all is rooted in a vision. It is part of our robust strategy for how we can grow the Commonwealth’s economy and create opportunity. And that strategy includes you.

Back in February, I had the chance to meet entrepreneurs in the Merrimack Valley Sandbox and hear how this program has changed their lives by offering them the practical tools to compete globally and by expanding them to others who have confronted and overcome similar challenges.  

The recent boom in accelerator and incubator programs, along with co-working spaces has allowed creative thinkers and entrepreneurs like you to turn dreams into a reality by helping them learn, network and find access to capital to launch their business.

Our future is bright in part because of this work. And I am convinced that we can do more. To expand opportunity more broadly into communities we have not yet reached, and to accelerate the growth of our innovation sectors, I filed comprehensive legislation to stimulate continued growth.   

This bill has two goals – to expand opportunity more broadly into communities we have not yet reached, and to accelerate innovation.

We do this by focusing on training more middle skills careers in advanced manufacturing and IT; by creating collaborative workspaces in more Gateway Cities and by recapitalizing successful investments programs that benefit Gateway Cities, specifically the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation, the Housing Development Incentive Program and the Brownfield Redevelopment Fund.

The bill also broadens eligibility for R&D tax credits and similar business incentives and helps secure visas for talented students who launch innovative companies while they’re students in Massachusetts and want to stay here to grow them.     

Massachusetts has a deep and rich heritage of entrepreneurship that dates back to the founding of this country. Throughout the years, in communities throughout the Commonwealth, our neighbors have shared their creativity and passion with us in new businesses, social ventures and civic engagement. Many of those ideas were rooted in technology – but most of them were not. Massachusetts has proven itself to be the innovation state because of the rich diversity of our entrepreneurs. 

Our goal is to ensure that all citizens of the Commonwealth have the opportunity to become entrepreneurs, no matter where they live or work, whether their ideas large and small, regardless of their background.

Growth is a choice. By being a part of this resurgence in entrepreneurship, you’ve chosen wisely. Make the most of it.