Sunday, April 21, 2024

A crowd gathers Tuesday at the Cambridge Innovation Center to hear Gov. Deval Patrick speak on several overlapping initiatives reinforcing Massachusetts as a good place for entrepreneurs and business in general. A groundbreaking for a center expansion was on the list. (Photo: Eugena Ossi/Governor’s Office)

The Cambridge Innovation Center business incubator would have made a splash anyway in announcing a near-doubling in size by summer — with 240 tenants, it’s already reputed to be the largest grouping of start-up companies under one roof on the East Coast — but Tuesday its leaders were able to do it with Gov. Deval Patrick on hand.

The governor was there for the expansion’s official groundbreaking, to declare it Massachusetts Entrepreneurship Day amid National Entrepreneurship Week and to push his “Massachusetts: It’s All Here” initiative highlighting resources available to entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout the state.

Among other things.

Almost as soon as Massachusetts: It’s All Here was introduced, the focus switched to a three-month “Start Here” statewide collaborative campaign, the resources of which grouped at

The event was loaded with Cambridge and state politicians and business and technology pros who spoke on their own and from a panel, seemingly each with a feature to push for Start Here, including:

— MassChallenge, a Massachusetts-based global startup competition leaked early by the Boston Herald and described as offering a cash prize and free work space to as many as three start-ups.

(Michael Greeley, chairman of the New England Venture Capital Association and Massachusetts: It’s All Here, suggested even more was possible. Venture capitalists are hungry for good ideas, he said, and “With well over 100 active venture capital firms, the VC industry is open for business and is excited to invest in a lot of new companies in the state.”)

— A venture capitalist-backed Google Map intended to show all the venture-backed companies in Massachusetts.

— A summer event at which Massachusetts Innovation Technology Exchange Promise Awards will be given to start-up companies whose technology solutions could make a significant business impact.

— An event Thursday in which the Massachusetts Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship will hold its annual celebration of young entrepreneurs and exceptional start-ups. The event is 6 to 8 p.m. at the UMass Boston Venture Development Center, 100 Morrissey Blvd., Boston.

— An Entrepreneur Speaker Tour Series, sponsored by the Massachusetts Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship and the Cambridge Innovation Center, which will go to state and community colleges to encourage college graduates in Massachusetts to pursue entrepreneurship as a career path

— The Open House Series, in which innovative Massachusetts companies host open house receptions throughout the 90-day Start Here campaign.

— Open Office Hours for state government, It’s All Here, MassChallenge and the New England Venture Capital Association at their Cambridge Innovation Center offices — just further reason for the center’s growth.

The center generally charges $1,000 or less per person and offers pretty much everything a business needs on hand, including conference rooms, kitchens and unmetered use of copiers, fax machines and phones.

“We are very excited about this expansion,” said center founder and chief executive Tim Rowe. “We have been jam-packed for months now, and this new space will enable us to house approximately 200 additional startup companies here at CIC.”

Clearly he was excited about the event. Monday night he made the rounds of city councillors after their meeting to ensure they would be on hand for the announcements.

Tim Rowe, founder and chief executive of the Cambridge Innovation Center, discusses expansion plans Tuesday with Gov. Deval Patrick. (Photo: Eugena Ossi/Governor’s Office)

Along with Rowe, the Tuesday event featured Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Susan Hockfield and entrepreneurs and tech business leaders Sheila Lirio Marcelo, founder and chief executive of; Brian Halligan, chief executive and founder of HubSpot; Jesse Gossett, a partner at the Emergent firm; Laura Fitton, founder and chief executive of; and Sophie Vandebroek, chief technology officer of Xerox.

“For too long Massachusetts has had a reputation as being unfriendly to business,” said state Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry, chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business. “These public events are a great way to showcase the entrepreneurial spirit of Massachusetts. What the public often doesn’t see, though, is all the work the governor and legislature are doing to reform our laws and regulations to help small businesses emerge out of this recession. It’s an ongoing process, but one that will position Massachusetts to thrive in the coming years.”

Patrick said he has maintained a strong focus on creating the conditions for business growth, job creation and the needs of small business since the start of his administration. On Feb. 10, he noted, he filed legislation providing tax credits for businesses that create jobs, eases health care and unemployment insurance costs for employers and created Massachusetts: It’s All Here and Start Here.

“The Massachusetts spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship and opportunity has benefited the state, the nation and the world,” he said. “This campaign will translate into business and job growth in the Commonwealth and help the state maintain its global competitiveness.”

This post was written primarily from a press release from the office of Gov. Deval Patrick. It was updated Feb. 26 to include the participation of Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Susan Hockfield.