|Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick speaks at TiECON East 2012. (Photo by Timeless Lens Photography)
The theme of the 14th annual conference held by the Boston chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs on May 31 and June 1 at The Westin Hotel in Waltham, Mass., was “Invent Your Future.” However, during the two-day event, which attracted hundreds and was another large success as it is every year, a qualifier to the theme seemed to emerge — and that was to “Invent Your Future,” but do it in Massachusetts.
While TiECON East 2012 organizers set out with an established goal of inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs and inventors, as the United States looks to solve its future challenges through the combination of innovation and inventiveness, the plaudits of Massachusetts as a fertile ground for this effort rang clear.
From its budding entrepreneurs and technologists to its beating heart of the life sciences sector, the shine of the state reflected off many of the panels, keynote speakers and workshops of TiECON East 2012.
None more so during the keynote address by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick on the morning of June 1. “Our strategy is to invent our own future here in Massachusetts,” Patrick said.
He said the state focuses on three areas in order to do s education, innovation and infrastructure. “Education, innovation and infrastructure – that is our strategy and it is working,” he added.
Of those areas he placed education at the forefront. “What we do to support our schools is the most important investment a government can make,” Patrick said.
He also pointed to the state’s efforts with energy efficiency and “Big Data” initiatives to highlight how Massachusetts is encouraging and supporting innovation, as well as the $300 million of public funds it has invested into the life sciences industry.
“You and I both know that innovation is the key to the future,” Patrick said.
Patrick also assured TiECON East 2012 attendees that the state is already and will continue to make things more attractive for startups that drive innovation, from tax breaks to better health care plans.
On the state’s infrastructure efforts, Patrick said that what serves as the foundation for success will not be neglected or overlooked. “Infrastructure I always describe as the unglamorous part of government, but it supports everything else,” he said.
Patrick certainly full embraced TiECON East 2012’s message of a proactive approach toward the future.
“We have to be about shaping our own future, inventing our own future and that is part of our character,” said Patrick. “I can’t think of anything in our history that Americans thought was really important that we left to chance.”
He concluded to say that Massachusetts, its industry and its leaders, are all looking ahead “over the horizon” and this entails support future innovation and inventiveness. “We need to call attention to the tradition and the opportunity of entrepreneurism,” he said.
The conference also included a new feature, the TiE Challenge Pitchfest, which offered first-time entrepreneurs the guidance and resources to try and turn a great idea into a real company. The “Pitchfest” connected with a new program, TiE Challenge, which started at the convention and will run for nine months.
Other keynote addresses at TiECON 2012 were delivered by Carl Dietrich of Terrafugia, Diane Greene of VMware, Ron Breaker of Yale University and George Arnold of NIST.
The convention featured nine panels across three tracks in a convergence of technology, life sciences, clean technology and education. Topics included big data, crowdsourcing, mobile, raising capital, selling, exits, infectious diseases, disruptions in education and clean tech. Panelists included entrepreneurs and industry experts like Rich Miner from Google, Gail Goodman from Constant Contact, Dr. Celia Schiffer from UMass Medical School and Ben Nelson from Minerva Project.
Other features of the convention included the “BootCamp” workshops, which provided hands on training on the lean startup methodology and “PowerLunch,” a networking opportunity session offering in-depth discussions with experienced entrepreneurs and charter members.
The conference wrapped up with a “Fireside Chat” from SanDisk’s Sanjay Mehrotra, who spoke about how he turned his company and products into a household name, as well as presentations of “TiE Stars” by charter members from TiE Boston on what inspired them to create great companies.
For complete coverage of TiECON 2012, look for the June print edition of INDIA New England.