Other Matters: Strategic Plan

Bump’s audit recommends MV establish a formal strategic plan to better define and document the strategies and resources necessary to accomplish its mission.

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MassVentures’ management and board of directors should consider preparing a comprehensive strategic

MassVentures (MV) was established to provide a funding mechanism for emerging technology companies with the goal of creating economic development and increased employment. According to documents MV provided to us, the organization’s mission statement can be summarized as follows:

  • helping to create primary employment in technology-based enterprises in the Commonwealth
  • fostering the development of such enterprises in the Commonwealth through the following:
    purchasing qualified equity securities to provide seed capital
    awarding grants to assist growth companies with the commercialization technologies developed under Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer contracts
  • attracting and managing the investment of both public and private capital among the citizens of the Commonwealth to stimulate long-term economic development and to realize appropriate financial returns that enable MV to be self-sufficient

Many agencies use a written strategic plan to establish their overall mission, define and document the strategies and resources necessary to accomplish it, determine their vision for the future, and define their core beliefs and long- and short-term goals.

MV does not use a formal strategic plan. Mentoring, technical assistance, and other forms of business support, beyond the financial support provided by MV’s equity investment and Small Business Innovation Research Targeted Technologies grant programs, are embedded in MV’s broad mission statement. MV should document each of the types of informal outreach strategy it conducts and establish policies and procedures, based on best practices, for how, when, and why mentoring, technical assistance, and other forms of business support will be offered to companies in need. Since MV was initially established with government funding and operates as part of state government, it has an obligation to serve the greater good of all Massachusetts citizens. A strategic plan could augment MV’s enabling legislation and formally define and broaden its overall mission and stated target audience.

In response to our report, MV provided the following comments.

We are in process of considering our strategic plan including its components, objectives and goals. This strategic plan will encompass the more significant role MassVentures serves in the Commonwealth above its enabling legislation. For instance, although not required by our enabling legislation, MassVentures provides a significant level of technical assistance, management support and start-up guidance to both companies it invests in or awards grants to, as well as to companies which are not yet ready for MassVentures investment. While MassVentures does not measure or maintain statistics to document achievement levels in this endeavor, we believe the value MassVentures adds to the early stage ecosystem in the Commonwealth is much broader than what is summarized in our enabling legislation. Further, although not required by our enabling legislation, MassVentures has broadened its target audience to include other groups/attributes which incorporate diversity (be it gender or ethnicity). MassVentures focuses on diversity (on its Board, in its [Small Business Innovation Research Targeted Technologies] award winners, and in its portfolio) without specifically measuring or maintaining statistics or documenting achievement levels. The process of preparing and finalizing a comprehensive strategic plan will continue.

Date published: March 19, 2020
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