“Innovative Communities” bill reaches Mass. Senate

Posted by John Mathewson on January 16, 2015

The Massachusetts Legislative Tech Hub Caucus has finalized plans to introduce a so-called "Innovative Communities" bill to the Massachusetts General Court. The Caucus is co-chaired by State Senator Karen Spilka and Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante. The bill, which Spilka introduced in the Senate on Friday, aims to connect the state's cities and towns with emerging technologies developed by Massachusetts companies.

Spilka met with members of the tech community following her re-election last November. At the meeting, a panel of judges that included iRobot CEO Colin Angle picked the idea for the bill in a contest modeled after startup pitch competitions. Industry insiders complained that startups often struggle to secure contracts with local councils.

"The process is lengthy and hard for them to understand," agreed Spilka. "We're trying to be innovative and creative. We're sending a message to the startup and tech community that Massachusetts is a welcoming place to do business."

"This has been a momentous week for the Massachusetts IT community."

This has turned out to be something of a momentous week for the Massachusetts IT community. During Tuesday's state of the city address, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced the creation of StartHub, a startup portal to help entrepreneurs connect with the city and with each other. The city will soon begin the search for its "startup czar," who will be in charge of city-community relations, according to Mayor Walsh's chief of staff.

With the Innovative Communities bill, the Tech Hub Caucus hopes to boost both technological adoption among municipalities and growth opportunities for the state's software developing companies. By bringing private initiatives and public funding together, the Massachusetts tech scene can remain a leader on the national stage.