WELLESLEY, MA–Babson College has established a Global Entrepreneur in Residence (GEIR) Program. The program will help qualified international graduates from Babson and other area colleges/programs remain in Massachusetts, continue to build their high potential startup businesses, and bring new, high-skill jobs to the region, Babson College said in a statement.
Babson is the first private college to pursue a GEIR program. The pilot effort this year will host up to 10 GEIRs who want to accelerate their companies and qualify for a cap-exempt H-1B visa. Entrepreneurs with viable startups who are currently starting or about to start the Optional Practical Training (OPT) period of their F-1 visa and want to apply for the H-1B visa next spring also are encouraged to apply.
Those invited to the program will be housed at Babson’s new, first-class campus location at 100 High Street, in the heart of Boston’s Financial District, and will connect to Babson through The Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship, its central hub for startups.
In exchange, the GEIRs will further Babson’s mission by mentoring Babson students and alumni and supporting various Babson academic and research initiatives, networks, and activities.
“Babson is pleased to establish a Global Entrepreneur in Residence Program in order to attract, support, and retain talented entrepreneurs who can provide valuable contributions to the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Massachusetts,” said Babson President Kerry Healey. “Babson values the perspectives and experiences of international entrepreneurs and our new GEIR program is yet another effort by the College to advance economic, social, and personal development through global entrepreneurship education.”
“Babson’s Global Entrepreneur in Residence Program will bring talented, global innovators to the center of Boston’s growing tech and startup cluster, and inspire talented students to start their own businesses right in our city,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “The diversity and desire that immigrants bring to Boston is what makes our city strong, and I thank Babson for their leadership in creating a welcoming environment for our students that will strengthen our economy for years to come.”
“I thank Babson and President Healey for their leadership in this critical arena,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “Entrepreneurship and talent retention are cornerstones of the Commonwealth’s economic development agenda, and as an administration, we’ve collaborated with private sector and academic partners to create a template that allows the Commonwealth to retain talented, Massachusetts-educated entrepreneurs. This collaborative effort has already yielded more than 200 new jobs, and $100 million in private investment. I am thrilled to see this impactful public-private pilot program spread to Babson, and I look forward to continuing our shared work of unlocking entrepreneurship and job growth in Massachusetts.”
Each year, more than 1,000 entrepreneurs leave the Commonwealth of Massachusetts due to the cap on U.S. H-1B visas (nonimmigrant visas that allow U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields). Annually, there are only 85,000 H-1B visas available for 233,000 requests.
The Babson GEIR builds off the framework established by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2014 with the enactment of a program to facilitate collaborations between global entrepreneurs and institutions within the University of Massachusetts system. A qualifying entrepreneur’s viable startup can become eligible to file for an H-1B visa cap exemption by affiliating with a college or university. Successful pilot programs have been implemented at UMass Boston and UMass Lowell with nine visas being issued to entrepreneurs who created 134 jobs and raised $47.6 million in funding for this ventures.
The Global Entrepreneur in Residence (GEIR) Program has received broad support from the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“Boston is competing at the highest level in today’s global knowledge-based innovation economy, and our talented workforce is a major contributor to this success,” said James E. Rooney, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. “Babson’s Global Entrepreneur in Residence Program will help ensure that we continue to not only attract top international talent, but more importantly retain that talent with students who will help sustain and grow our economy long term. Kudos to Babson for leading the way on this important initiative.”
“International startups contribute new perspectives, connections and ideas to our local innovation ecosystem, and it’s important for us to help remove the obstacles that make it difficult for these startups to succeed abroad,” said John Harthorne, founder and CEO, MassChallenge. “MassChallenge is thrilled that Babson College is prioritizing efforts to support these startups through their GEIR program, which will enable international entrepreneurs to more easily launch and grow in Massachusetts.”
“Babson College’s participation in the Massachusetts Global Entrepreneur in Residence Program is a smart move which will pay dividends to the state and the College. Babson is well known for its leadership in entrepreneurial business education and Massachusetts is renowned as a magnet for international students to study and stay here,” said Richard Doherty, president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM).
Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader for Entrepreneurship of All Kinds®. The top-ranked college for entrepreneurship education, Babson is a dynamic living and learning laboratory where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society. We prepare the entrepreneurial leaders our world needs most: those with strong functional knowledge and the skills and vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, and motivate teams in a common purpose to make a difference in the world, and have an impact on organizations of all sizes and types.