Innovation Hub

Morning Edition Extra: Finding Young, Specific Talent For Boston

By Kara Miller

Over the past few weeks at Innovation Hub, we have spoken with a number of young entrepreneurs, and the people who help their businesses grow, with space and money. And, no matter how you slice it, there's one fact we can't get away from: Young people today are flocking toward start-ups and entrepreneurship at newly high levels.

"It’s just incredible over the last two years," said Jason Evanish, who runs a networking site for entrepreneurs called Greenhorn Connect. "Since I started Greenhorn Connect, I’ve seen an explosion at all of our local universities, and also at other young people entering the ecosystem and showing strong interest in entrepreneurship."

Tim Rowe, the CEO of Cambridge Innovation Center, thinks it's part of a fundamental shift in this generation's outlook. "This generation of people is more focused on their personal values of creativity, self-realization, changing the world in important ways," Rowe said. "I think entrepreneurship is perhaps this generation's answer to what in the past might have been a desire to join the peace corps and change the world through not-for-profit work."

But that doesn't mean this influx of talent has all the right skills. Many of the innovators we have spoken to over the course of the show say they're desperate for more people with sharp computer science skills -- that there simply aren't enough right now.

"We’re at a technological point where software is allowing you to automate, make things more efficient across many different businesses and industries, where previously maybe even a human being was involved," Evanish said. "What that means is, you need a lot more software engineers than exist."

And when you do find that talent, there's one other issue: Keeping the energy of young entrepreneurs, and the skills needed to develop businesses, right here in Boston.

"The cruel irony is, we educate some of the brightest minds around the world, and they leave," says Michael Greeley, of Flybridge Capital Partners, a Boston venture-capital firm. "You see a lot of initiatives, Mass Challenge being a wonderful example of that, that is trying to engage the young entreprenuer, to say, New England, Boston is open for business, please come."

Click the player above to hear Kara's whole discussion with WGBH's Bob Seay, from Morning Edition.


About Innovation Hub

Each week, Kara Miller talks to Boston's most innovative thinkers, examining new ideas and potential solutions to today’s many challenges. Topics range from education to health care to green energy. Join us on Saturdays at 7 a.m. and Sundays at 10 p.m.

About the Host
Kara Miller Kara Miller
As a radio host, Kara Miller has interviewed thinkers from E.J. Dionne to Howard Gardner, Deepak Chopra to Lani Guinier. She is a panelist on WGBH-TV's "Beat the Press," as well as an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Her writing has appeared in The Boston Globe, The National Journal, The Boston Herald, Boston Magazine, and The International Herald Tribune.

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