For Immediate Release - June 10, 2014

Patrick Administration Supports 'Entrepreneurship For All' At Economic Development Summit In Lowell

Summit Aims to Grow Entrepreneurs, Spur Innovation and Drive Regional Economies

LOWELL – Tuesday, June 10, 2014 – Governor Deval Patrick today joined other Patrick Administration officials, leaders from industry, academia and government to promote the entrepreneurial spirit and engage entrepreneurs in Massachusetts at the second annual Merrimack Valley Sandbox Summit in Lowell. The summit brought together participants from across New England to celebrate the theme of “Entrepreneurship for All,” and to discuss ways to spur economic growth in the Commonwealth’s entrepreneurial and innovative sectors at local and regional levels.


“Entrepreneurship for all is not merely a slogan, it is part of a robust strategy for how we grow the Commonwealth’s economy,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki. “Programs like the Merrimack Valley Sandbox are bringing people together focused on choosing growth and innovation, enhancing the competitiveness of the state’s innovation industry for generations to come.”


Building on the Administration’s support for entrepreneurship, in February 2014 Governor Patrick announced the winners of the Massachusetts Innovation Mentoring Initiative, a program established by the 2012 Jobs Bill and run by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative that aims to strengthen entrepreneur and startup mentoring activities across underserved populations, regions and industries in the Commonwealth. A $150,000 grant was awarded to three of the Commonwealth’s community-focused entrepreneur mentoring programs, including Merrimack Valley Sandbox, Interise and Valley Venture Mentors.


“The Sandbox Summit brings together leaders from across the innovation and entrepreneurship spectrum to engage in discussions which will help shape the Commonwealth’s economic success for years to come, particularly in Gateway Cities and in emerging regions,” said Pat Larkin, Director of the Innovation Institute at MassTech. “Massachusetts prides itself on our collaborative approach to economic development, an effort led by the Patrick Administration and the Legislature. That spirit of cooperation and inclusion is fully on display here today.”


“The Sandbox Summit successfully brought together individuals and organizations from across the region that are interested in building strong local ecosystems that encourage “Entrepreneurship for All,” said David Parker, Executive Director of the Merrimack Valley Sandbox. “We look forward to the future Summits helping to provide a consistent platform for continued sharing and learning. The Summit’s success would not have been possible without the strong support of the Commonwealth of MA, including Governor Patrick and the Innovation Institute of MassTech Collaborative.”


In April, Governor Deval Patrick announced an economic development package that provides new tools and training so the Commonwealth’s workforce is prepared to meet the needs of employers, invests in its Gateway Cities to promote development across the entire state, and provides incentives to create jobs and stimulate the economy. The Governor’s bill, An Act to Promote Growth and Opportunity, builds on the Administration’s proven growth strategy of investing in education, innovation and infrastructure that has led to record job creation in Massachusetts and made the Commonwealth a global leader in key innovation economy sectors.


The Sandbox Summit is a two-day conference organized by the Merrimack Valley Sandbox, a Lowell-based entrepreneurship program, and the Deshpande Foundation, an international nonprofit founded by entrepreneur Gururaj (Desh) Deshpande. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, through the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative are lead co-sponsors of the event.