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OUR PRIORITIES   |  SUPPORTING OUR TECH SECTOR

SUPPORTING OUR TECH SECTOR

As a knowledge center, Boston has long been a leader in the tech and innovation sector. Over the past several decades, other cities have emerged to compete, offering support, investment, and amenities designed to attract startups and other innovation economy businesses. There is no city in the United States that has successfully addressed the issues of equity and diversity in tech. As Mayor, John will build the infrastructure to make Boston the best and most equitable city in America for tech and startups.

 

John’s Record
 

In 2014, John was tapped as the first-ever Chief of Economic Development in the City of Boston. Under his leadership, John focused on streamlining communication to employers of all sizes and across industry sectors. As Chief of Economic Development, John consistently promoted Boston as an innovation hub and worked with employers to support the tech community -- including businesses and tech leaders, as well as existing talent and the future generation of tech talent in Boston. 
 

  • Growing Boston's Startup Community: 

    • Collaborated with MassChallenge and the MA Competitive Partnership other stakeholders to launch Pulse @ MassChallenge — now known as MassChallenge HealthTech, a growing community of thriving digital health startups accelerating their innovations from around the world right in Boston. 

    • Worked directly with the founders of MassRobotics to help this accelerator find a low-cost facility and grow in Boston, creating an emerging robotics cluster in the Seaport. 

    • Created the Economic Development Center in Roxbury, which helped thousands of minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) to get certified and scale up for contracting opportunities.

    • Created the Roxbury Innovation Center to empower people in our neighborhoods to follow their dreams. 

    • Created the position of “Startup Manager” in the Economic Development Cabinet, which launched StartHub, an online platform that connects and informs entrepreneurs about Boston’s startup ecosystem. John pledges to re-launch this initiative. 

    • Leveraged the newly established Women Entrepreneurs Boston (WeBos) to connect local women entrepreneurs to resources in the city. 

  • Increasing Digital Equity:

    • As the innovation continues to accelerate, we need to ensure all have access and capacity to access broadband in our city. John worked to expand 5G across Boston’s neighborhoods, and put an emphasis on digital equity: promoting access in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. 

  • Branding Boston as Open for Business: 

    • Pitched and recruited General Electric to relocate its headquarters from Connecticut to Boston, sparking a new wave of branding for Boston as an attractive place for tech companies to do business. 

    • Welcomed multiple companies to expand or relocate in Boston. From guiding them through development and site selection, to streamlining the permitting process, John consistently presented Boston as open for tech companies to grow their business here. Examples of companies include: Autodesk, Ginkgo Bioworks, Reebok, ASICS, Amazon, and PTC. 

    • Food tech is a growing sector in Boston and John recognizes that potential. As Chief, he reformed the application process for food trucks to do business in Boston, as well as expanded food truck sites into Boston’s neighborhoods to open up opportunities for more local food entrepreneurs.

    • Traveled extensively to Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East to connect with international partners and strengthen the networks between Boston’s innovation community and the global economy. 

  • Promoting Life Sciences in Boston:

    • The Life Sciences industry represents over 12,000 jobs in the city, from innovative startups and established biotech companies to researchers and academics solving for the next discovery in saving lives. John annually represented Boston at the BIO convention, leading to examples of growth and development for companies like Qilu Pharmaceuticals and Decibel Therapeutics.

  • Welcoming Boston for All Talent: 

    • Showcased Boston as a world-class academic hub, home to leading institutions with talent choosing to stay in Boston to live and work after graduation.

    • John joined Mayor Walsh in standing up against President Trump’s policies that threatened and banned talent from overseas to live, work, and visit the United States. John organized convenings with local leaders including CEOs and executives of tech companies, as well as the Consuls General to understand the challenges and identify ways the city can promote itself as a welcoming city open for business. 

    • John recognizes the opportunity to build local talent for Boston’s growing tech hub. Through the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program, John and his team connected Boston youth to STEM internships thanks to employers participating in the Boston PIC’s Tech Hire program.

    • Celebrated career preparation programs in tech like Resilient Coders, Apprenti, and Hack Diversity, providing technical training for IT-related roles and paving career pathways especially for people of color at companies such as Wayfair, PTC, Drift, Vertex, Rapid7, and more!

 

As Mayor, John will strengthen and grow the sector by employing a wide range of strategies, including some of those listed below, which will be informed by a new Mayor’s Tech Advisory Committee.

 

  • Establish and Support Incubators in Several Boston Neighborhoods -  Working closely with the Boston Main Streets program, Boston Public Schools, Boston Public Library and Boston Center for Youth and Families, establish incubators in a wide array of spaces. Establish incentives for community engagement to build a true ecosystem that draws and inspires all kinds of people. 

 

  • Provide Affordable Commercial Space - Working with developers to provide subsidized commercial space for startups and small tech companies, with a special emphasis on BIPOC- and women-led organizations. 

  • Provide Technical Assistance to BIPOC- and Women-Led Startups - Create a position in the City’s small business unit dedicated to providing technical assistance to minority- and women-owned startups (MWBEs). Encourage MWBE certification where appropriate and provide advice about subcontracting.

 

  • Work with companies like General Assembly, Hack.Diversity, Resilient Coders and other Tech Educators to Grow Scholarship Opportunities - Utilizing the City’s existing Tuition Free Community College Program (founded under John’s leadership in the previous administration), create pathways to good-paying jobs for BPS students and others by supporting tech educators in collaboration with high schools and community colleges. 

 

  • Create a Public Service Exchange Program - Most corporate responsibility programs encourage employees to do volunteer work. While software engineers volunteering in a soup kitchen is a good grounding and giving experience, imagine what we could accomplish if instead they were building technology to help the city in that time. Working with large tech companies, design a 3-month sabbatical program which places tech workers for work on municipal projects. 

 

  • Become the Leader in Govtech Beta Testing - There are hundreds of citywide challenges that can be solved by new businesses created right here in Boston, and likely many of those same challenges exist in cities all across America. What entrepreneurs lack is the exposure to uncover cross-city challenges that can be solved effectively with scalable technology. The city will put out a call for businesses every year to address the top 10 challenges. We will partner with MassChallenge Boston to create a track, and work with the U.S. Conference of Mayors to promote our shared successes to other cities. 

  • Facilitate the Creation of Community Investment Platforms - The Boston startup community has shown that the 10 year compound returns of an ecosystem that reinvests in itself can produce incredible outcomes. If every micro-community can come together efficiently to invest in local businesses, this serves as a vehicle for economic development, opportunity creation, and equity generation, the returns of which can go right back into the next project. Put an intentional emphasis on BIPOC- and women-led startups.

 

  • Enlist the Tech Community in Municipal Process Automation - When John is elected, he will immediately direct his Tech Advisory Council to perform a tech audit of all city processes, with the goal of making it easier for constituents to do business with the city. John will commit to funding these efforts, which will include a methodical look at all processes across City departments and agencies, including the quasi-agencies. 

 

  • Recommit to Open Data - Fully fund the City’s Department of Innovation and Technology with a mandate to support open data, to support the tech community in finding scalable city solutions. John pledges to build on work like Streetcaster, which focused on using data, as opposed to 311 complaints, to take a more equitable approach to sidewalk repair, as well as the City’s work on analyzing ambulance response times, which resulted in investments in more EMTs. 

 

  • Build Bridges Between the Startup Community and Madison Park High School - John will optimize the State's Early College Program with Madison Park and local community colleges to allow students within the IT disciplines to enroll and successfully complete both their High School diplomas and Associate Degrees. 

 

  • Appoint a cabinet-level Chief Innovation Officer - John will appoint a cabinet-level executive with a charge to modernize government processes, support the startup ecosystem in Boston, and work with tech leaders to create ways to diversify the sector. 

 

  • Work to Improve Transportation and Provide Housing Options - Recognizing the intersectionality of all policy plans, John has pledged to work to make our public transportation system more frequent, reliable, and affordable; create better and safer bike networks; build housing near job centers and attract jobs to neighborhoods; and build more housing, affordable and all income levels. You can read John’s transportation plan here, and his housing plan here.

A MESSAGE FROM JOHN

Just as this campaign is a community effort, this policy plan has been informed by a diverse group of residents, policy makers, and community organizations who reflect Boston's ingenuity, passion, and future. In this policy you will see your voice reflected and your neighborhood priorities front and center. I am incredibly grateful for the hours, data, and guidance leant to support this effort. I welcome continued feedback and suggestions from all corners of the city, because I know that policies are most successful when led by the community.
 
Now, more than ever, I have the opportunity to bring all voices to the table to create a Boston that brings prosperity and justice for everyone.Together we can create a Boston where nobody is left behind.
 
Thank you for reading and helping to shape Boston's future, I look forward to working with you.