As proven by Mark Zuckerburg and Bill Gates, when it comes to becoming the best business owner in the world, it takes more than an Ivy League degree in order to succeed in today’s competitive environment. Here in America’s very own Shining City Upon a Hill, inventors and entrepreneurs are working tirelessly in order to bring their innovations to market!
From networking at small business programs after working hours to figuring out the different types of patents available before bringing their inventions to market, no second is left to waste for these brave and bold underdogs!
To help our fellow inventors and entrepreneurs navigate their way through one of America’s top cities of innovation, here are the top 23 resources for inventors and entrepreneurs in Boston.
Considered one of the “most innovative universities”in America according to US News & World Report, Boston University is very well-known for creating one of the first study abroad programs and for being the home of the “nation’s first combined cancer research and teaching laboratory,” according to Rich Barrow.
Around since 1839, this university has introduced its students to the world by offering a “full range of undergraduate majors,” as well as masters and doctoral programs. As of now, they currently sponsor more than 90 international programs. For those looking to get out of their comfort zone and understand the world beyond academics, Boston University is considered an ideal place to go to.
Just recently, Boston University’s very own data scientist, Elaine Nsoesie, discussed to what extent can social media help predict when someone would die. No worries, it’s not as bad as you might think!
Established in 1636 as America’s oldest academic institution to date, Harvard University has since garnished a reputation for jumpstarting the future of some of America’s best innovators such as Mark Zuckerberg and leaders such as former President Barack Obama.
Besides enrolling over 20,000-degree candidates (including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students) Harvard University also awards more than 60% of its undergraduate students over $160 million. It even has an innovation lab for students to take their business skills and apply them outside of the classroom. Altogether, these characteristics make Harvard an ideal choice for students looking to become the next Fortune 500 stars of America.
Just recently, one theater student created an inclusive, accessible theater program designed for youth and adults who identify as disabled in her hometown of Kennett Square, Pa. For those looking for a prestigious university that encourages its students to change the world for the better, Harvard is considered an ideal choice.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT for short is an award-winning independent, coeducational, and privately endowed university that provides its students with an eclectic number of interdisciplinary degrees and programs to choose from.
While the school is often touted for its math and science programs, according to the website, its Sloan School of Management is considered the crown gem of the school. Rather than teaching its students how to “cash in on the latest fad,” the Sloan School of Management teaches its students how to solve real-world problems.
Last year, a group of students called Africa Talking (AT) created a way to help businesses in Africa communicate and transact with customers fast and efficiently without having to use a smartphone. Meanwhile, back in the states, some engineers at MIT created a robotic thread for clot reducing therapies (see video below).
Regardless of a student’s background, anyone at MIT can create the next best thing to Scratch.
As America’s only federal go-to resource and voice for small businesses, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) continues to help small business owners and entrepreneurs pursue their dreams by providing them with free counseling, capital, and contracting expertise, among other resources.
Since 1953, this organization has helped fellow innovators of all different backgrounds from veterans to women. For those looking to get a start on the ins-and-outs of starting a business, this resource is considered one of the best.
Speaking of the ins-and-outs, on Thursday, February 20, 2020, the SBA in Massachusetts will be hosting a FREE business workshop from [5:30]–7 pm EST at the Village Enterprise Center. This event is great for anyone who is looking to start a business from scratch but still have yet to learn about the basic fundamentals.
Want to get a head start on learning? In that case, check out the video below on how to write a business plan.
As one of the Commonwealth area’s very few private, not-for-profit, business trade associations, the New England Business Association has helped business owners grow by running “diverse, educational and networking programs each year” ranging from international trade to human resources.
Since 1938, this organization utilizes a preferred vendor program, an innovative business-to-business networking platform, and strategic partnerships to ensure that their members gain more access to capital, exclusive rates on services and products.
Every year, the organization hosts May Massachusetts Breakfast seminars in order to shine light upon those who went above and beyond to start their own businesses while helping out a good cause. In June 2018, the guest speaker for the seminar was Carolyn Edelstein, co-founder and Executive Director of OpenBiome, a nonprofit stool bank, and microbiome research institute.
While it’s hard enough for men to learn how to start a business from scratch, it’s equally hard for women and minorities to learn how to start one for themselves.
Founded on October 23, 1995, the Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE) is an award-winning, nationally known nonprofit organization decided to help women learn how to succeed financially and personally.
In addition to providing women with training and technical assistance, they also provide microloans and certification to those willing to become their own bosses while living normal lives.
According to their Facebook page, “Since 1995, CWE has worked with more than 33,700 entrepreneurs in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont.” If you’re a female business owner looking to improve your skills and network with other female entrepreneurs, this is a great place to start!
Looking for a place to interact with other inventors in the Commonwealth area? In that case, look no further than The Inventors Association of New England!
Founded in 1977 as one of the oldest inventor clubs in America, the IANE helps inventors of all different backgrounds get the support that they need by holding free, regular monthly meetings at MIT (yes, THAT MIT) in regards to licensing, intellectual property, prototyping, product development, and marketing. They also hold Inventor Clinics, which are held six times a year for paid members looking to get confidential feedback on their ideas from other members.
According to the website, in addition to the Inventors Clinic, paid members have access to the group’s discussion group, videos of past regular monthly meetings, and the June Social event. Overall, not a bad investment for those looking to become professional inventors!
Speaking of which, if you’re new to the world of inventing and don’t know where to start, check out this article on “how to invent something.”
As Boston’s one and only eco-friendly technology-based inventor group, the Boston Green Tech and Sustainable Energy group helps fellow inventors design and market the machines of the future by connecting them to various organizations in the area and providing them feedback on their ideas.
On the first and third Tuesday of every month, the group gets together to pitch their startups (if they so choose) and give each other feedback. After that, they get to decide what topics they want to discuss for that day.
According to the website, the next meeting is on Tuesday, February 4, 2020, from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm at Eastern Bank.
As the name probably suggests, Jews For Entrepreneurship (JFE) is an organization that supports “Jewish innovation and entrepreneurship worldwide” by hosting entrepreneur training workshops, pitch demo events, networking events, and many others.
Originally from Silicon Valley, this group has since 2009 expanded its program to New York City, Boston, Boulder, Los Angeles, London, and Israel. In February 2013, JFE launched its first accelerator program, the 2-month JFE Accelerator. In 2015, JFE launched the Series A Pitch event for Israeli startups looking to raise post-seed funding.
To date, JFE Organization hosted more than 100 events with 150 startups participating in JFE programs. While the group is mainly geared to engineers and developers, all are welcome to attend!
Boston New Technology (BNT) is a “community-supported technology, startup and business networking group” whose mission is to help local businesses launch and grow by providing fellow innovators of all different backgrounds with a place to connect and collaborate in.
From developers to designers, BNT helps early-stage startups and partner companies get significant publicity and support from the community through its live events, marketing channels, and partner groups. They also organize the following meetup groups:
Every month, BNT hosts showcase events, which are professionally photographed and video-recorded, and draw about 200 attendees. These events are free for “New England-based companies who want to present a tech product that was launched publicly for less than one year, or a product up to 3 years old, having less than $1M in funding and less than $1M total revenue” according to their Meetup page.
For those looking for a place to showcase their inventions and learn more about the tech community in Boston, BNT is a good starting point!
As the largest community of entrepreneurs in Boston, Revolve Nation’s Boston Entrepreneur Group is “put on by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.” As such, fellow entrepreneurs who wish to join the group get access to special panels, large networking groups, seminars, and other resources needed.
Since April 7, 2006, this group meets every 3rd Wednesday of the month, this group meets to discuss whatever business topics their fellow members want to learn more about such as how to get funding and how to use mailing lists effectively. While other entrepreneurial groups focus on more niche areas such as technology, this group focuses on entrepreneurship from a general standpoint.
According to their Meetup page, the next meetup will take place on Wednesday, February 19, 2020, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be provided!
When it comes to starting a business, it’s important for leaders to be able to build the foundation needed in order to succeed many years down the road. For many tech and life science business founders, the award-winning Boston Entrepreneurs’ Network (ENET) provides that foundation.
Every month, this group meets up at various locations across the New England area in order to get participants and members to “network, talk about their ideas, showcase their startups, and conduct business.”During every meeting, 3 or 4 experts speak on a subject of interest to founders. These subjects include:
Business formation and launch
Finding Cofounders, founder agreements and stock vesting
Bootstrapping and SBIR grants
Term sheets, valuations, and raising angel capital
Recruiting a management team
Marketing and making sales
Protecting IP and trademarks
As for the speakers themselves, they are (primarily) angel investors, venture capitalists, CEOs, serial entrepreneurs, and industry experts who specialize in the following areas:
High tech, Mobile and e-commerce, and Social impact
Health care / Life sciences, Energy and Cleantech
Other Emerging fields of Innovation
If you’re a fellow founder of either a tech or a life science company looking to learn from others in your field, this group is definitely for you!
Looking to gain funding from an investor, but aren’t sure how? In that case, check out Katie Rae’s video down below on “What are the core attributes investors are looking for in a startup team?”
As Boston’s one and only group of “successful, passionate entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and senior professionals of Indian origin,” TiE Boston has long since dedicated itself to “fostering future innovators” by hosting networking events such as the TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TYE) program and providing mentorship to rising entrepreneurs.
As the world’s largest not-for-profit network dedicated to helping startups grow, TiE hosts StartupCON, which is the largest conference of its kind in New England. It even hosts an accelerator called TiE Boston Angels.
Can’t make it to StartupCON this year? In that case, head on over to TiEBoston’s TiECon East, which is a yearly one-day tech conference centered around a specific theme. This con will take place on May 7, 2020, at Westin in Waltham, MA from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. As for the theme, this year’s is artificial intelligence and machine learning.
For those who are interested in getting more involved in the world of technology and business beyond networking in traditional entrepreneurial groups, TiE Boston is a great group to go to.
Founded on March 10, 2017, Latino Professional Network is a series of networking events for Latino business owners looking to get together and learn more about the world of entrepreneurship in Boston.
Every month, this group features a guest speaker to come and discuss various opportunities for Latino entrepreneurs to get their name out. For January 2020, since January is National Mentoring Month, they’ve invited a representative from in Margarita Muniz Academy to come to speak to the group about tutoring opportunities in Boston.
When it comes to starting a business, there’s no doubt that networking with potential clients and partners can be a very intimidating experience for most. That’s why in the Latino Professional Network group, everyone does their part to make everyone feel welcome.
We mentioned this organization a number of times on our previous resource pages (such as our Chicago resource page), but for those of you who don’t know, SCORE is a national organization which has gained a reputation for being very accommodating by offering free, confidential counseling (both online and offline) and free to reduced cost services such as workshops and meetups.
Since 2006, Boston’s branch of SCORE remains one of the nation’s top non-profit organizations for small businesses alike because they counsel in several cities across Massachusetts such as Cambridge, Newton, Somerville, and many others! They also teach at several innovation centers and go beyond the basics of starting a business.
Want to learn about the ins-and-outs of business accounting 101? In that case, SCORE will be offering an accounting workshop on Tuesday, February 11, 2020, from [6:00] PM to [8:00] PM EST at the Wellesley Hills Branch Library. This workshop would consist of…
Learning about the differences between a bookkeeper, an accountant, and a CPA
Understanding the differences between accrual vs cash basis
Creating a startup budget
Figuring out whether or not your business can make a profit
Choosing an accounting software application that’s right for your business
Contributing to the “economic and entrepreneurial growth in Massachusetts” since 1980, The Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network (MSBDC) provides its members with free, confidential, one-to-one business assistance and free or low-cost educational training programs throughout the Commonwealth.
While some organizations like the SBA focus on teaching people how to start a business from a very general standpoint, the MSBDC goes beyond that.
As of now, they provide counseling for the following areas:
Business plan development
Cash flow analysis
Personnel and organizational issues
Conventional and non-conventional financing
SBIR and government procurement
And much more! Speaking of government procurement, if you’re looking to learn how to obtain a GSA Federal Supply Schedule contract, the MSBDC will be hosting a free one-day workshop on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm EDT at the Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr. Federal Building.
Smarter in the City is a general tech accelerator that specializes in helping minority-run startups get their businesses up and running. For 5 months, those who get accepted into the program would be provided $4,000 zero-equity stipends, a workspace, a mentorship program, and other resources
Since 2014, this group has helped launch over 20 minority-run startups, thereby, starting a “ local dialogue about the underrepresentation of some communities in technology and business leadership.” While the accelerator is focused mainly on minority-run startups, all are welcome to apply!
At this time, they are currently not accepting applications for the accelerator. However, anyone who is interested in supporting the accelerator can do so either by volunteering, mentoring, and/or donating.
As one of Boston’s leading early-stage edtech startup accelerators, LearnLaunch Accelerator helps fellow entrepreneurs and inventors by using a “unique mix of milestone-based investment, 1×1 Venture Partner support, and deep set of mentors.”
For three months, early-stage edtech entrepreneurs are taught the basics of how to find their appropriate target audience for selling their products. As they learn, they interact with their mentors on their progress. While most mentors “let their fellow entrepreneurs” lose, LearnLaunch Accelerator’s mentors take the time to fully get to know their students.
At this time, they are accepting applications for the accelerator. While they are primarily looking for companies that focus on using tech in order to help fellow innovators learn English, any tech-based education company that is interested in applying can do so by February 3rd, 2020.
Home to more than 90 startups in the New England area, Greenhouse Labs is a community-centered incubator that focuses on helping entrepreneurs create solutions for today’s biggest climate and environmental challenges. Located in Somerville, Massachusetts, and founded in 2011, the Greentown Labs Global Center for Cleantech Innovation stands as the largest cleantech incubator in North America to date.
Complete with a 100,000 sq. ft. campus comprised of a prototyping and wet lab space, shared office space, a machine shop, electronics lab, and a curated suite of programs and resources, Greentown Labs has been regarded as the ideal place for environmentalists looking to make a lasting impact for generations to come.
For those who are interested in learning more about what the incubator has to offer, Greentown Labs will be featuring a circulatity challenge showcase on Thursday, February 6th from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. This event is free and open for all to attend!
A newcomer to the Boston entrepreneurial scene, Agility Labs is a Silicon Valley-based incubator that provides the space, support, and community for emerging life science and medical device companies to “transform scientific discoveries into breakthrough products.”
Founded by Triple Ring Technologies in 2015, Agility Labs has since provided companies with all of the tools that they would need to succeed.
According to the website, its laboratories occupy about 25,000 sq. ft. dedicated to x-ray, test & measurement, biomedical optics instrumentation, mechanical prototyping, electronics, a wet lab, radiation source development, an ultrahigh vacuum, and a machine shop. It also offers space for members within its combined 100,000 square foot facilities.
If you’re looking for a scientific-based incubator that provides flexible options as far as space goes, then definitely give Agility Labs a try!
When it comes to starting a business, there’s no doubt that being able to establish enough capital is one of the most important things in order to sustain it down the road. That’s where Boston’s very own Boston Seed comes in!
From real-estate platforms to esports coaching platforms, Boston Seed Capital provides early-stage funding and support for internet-enabled businesses around the country. While some seed funding companies provide businesses money without giving them any direction on how the money should be used, Boston Seed takes the time to fully get to know how their clients reach out to their targeted customers.
In addition to internet-enabled businesses, Boston Seed also has experience with helping consumer, B2B SAAS and the supporting services businesses thrive in today’s competitive market. If you’re looking for a seed funding company that truly wants to help your business grow, look no further than Boston Seed!
“Built by the people and dedicated to the advancement of learning” since 1848, the Boston Public Library (BPL) provides its users with a plethora of free resources such as a 3D printer for fellow innovators to utilize and a creative workspace for entrepreneurs to thrive in and outside of the office.
As the first large free municipal library in the United States, the BPL has since served as a model for all libraries in the United States to follow. It’s definitely more than a place to go and check out books and movies.
Want to improve your negotiation skills? In that case, look no further than the library’s very own FREE salary negotiation workshop! This workshop will begin on Monday, February 10th from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm and is open to the public.
When it comes to bringing ideas and inventions to market, there’s no question that the patent filing process can be so confusing to navigate.
That is why here at Bold Patents, we exist to help our clients through the legal processes of intellectual property in Boston. This way, they too can get their innovations to market as quickly, safely, and efficiently as possible.
Because they focus only on patents, they are able to find the lawyer(s) that best fit a certain company’s needs.
If you would like to know more about what a patent is and what the steps for finding the patent that’s right for your invention, then check out this article on what is a patent.
There you have it! The top 23 resources for inventors and entrepreneurs in Boston:
Boston University – Home of one of the first study abroad programs and “first combined cancer research and teaching laboratory” in the United States
Harvard University – The oldest academic institution in America
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Known for both its technology-based programs and the world-renowned Sloan School of Management
Offices for Small Businesses
U.S. Small Business Administration – Massachusetts – America’s only federal go-to resource and voice for small businesses
New England Business Association – One of the Commonwealth area’s very few private, not-for-profit, business trade associations
Center for Women & Enterprise – An award-winning, nationally known nonprofit organization decided to helping women learn how to succeed financially and personally
The Inventors Association of New England – One of the oldest inventor clubs in America
Boston Green Tech and Sustainable Energy – Great for environmentalists looking to learn how to start a business and save the planet
Jews For Entrepreneurship (JFE) – A Silicon-Valley based entrepreneur group for Jewish entrepreneurs looking to network with other fellow entrepreneurs in Boston
Boston New Technology – Great for New England-based tech companies looking to introduce their products in a professional environment
Revolve Nation’s Boston Entrepreneur Group – The largest community of entrepreneurs in Boston
The Boston Entrepreneurs’ Network (ENET) – Great for tech and life science-based companies looking to network with investors, CEOs, and many other fellow innovators in the Commonwealth area
TiE Boston – Boston’s one and only group of “successful, passionate entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and senior professionals of Indian origin”
Latino Professional Network® of Metro Boston – Great for Latino business owners looking to connect with one another in a safe, relaxing environment
SCORE Boston – One of the nation’s top non-profit organizations for small businesses looking to learn more about how to run a business
Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network (MSBDCN) – Great for those looking for an organization that focuses on international trade, SBIR and government procurement
Smarter in the City – An accelerator that focuses on creating an open-dialogue around minority-owned startup culture
LearnLaunch Accelerator – Great for tech-ed based companies looking for an accelerator that provides a “unique mix of milestone-based investment, 1×1 Venture Partner support, and deep set of mentors”
Greentown Labs – The largest cleantech incubator in North America to date
Agility Labs – A scientific-based incubator that provides companies with over 25,000 sq. ft. dedicated to x-ray, test & measurement, biomedical optics instrumentation, mechanical prototyping, electronics, a wet lab, radiation source development, an ultrahigh vacuum, and a machine shop
Boston Seed – Great for internet-enabled businesses in America looking to get funding and support
Boston Public Library – The first large free municipal library in the United States
Boston Patent Attorneys
Bold Patents – Your future go-to place for all of your patenting needs!
Now tell us, what do you think of these resources? Are there any others that you recommend that we add to our list? Let us know in the comments below!
Legal Note: This blog article does not constitute legal advice. Although the article was written by a licensed USPTO patent attorney there are many factors and complexities that come into patenting an idea. We recommend you consult a lawyer if you want legal advice for your particular situation. No attorney-client or confidential relationship exists by simply reading and applying the steps stated in this blog article.