Friday, November 1, 2013

unCon 2013 Session: How to Keep Students in Boston after Graduation

Moderator: Mike LaPointe

Students and entrepreneurs gathered today at unConference to talk about how as part of the innovation community they can work together to keep university students in Boston after they graduate.
The session began by addressing the major questions students are faced with when planning for life after graduation.  What is unique and special about the Boston innovation ecosystem that will motivate them stay here rather than relocate to New York City or San Francisco.  One student expressed that no one has made the case that investing in Boston will pay back dividends in a way that giants like Silicon Valley can’t – a case that many believe to be true.

As the discussion opened up it became clear that the responsibility of cultivating the next generation of innovators in Boston fell on the shoulders of two groups: the students themselves and the startup/entrepreneurial community.  The students in the session postured that maybe it’s up to those students already entrenched in the innovation community to help their peers that have silo themselves to the campus to go out and find startups.  On the other side of the coin, although the small Boston startups have limited resources to recruit college students, they need to make the effort to go out and engage with the universities.  As one participant put it, we need to get students OFF campus more and startups ON campus more.

There was no doubt in the room that the raw materials were there to create a bond between students and startups.  The next steps are for students and entrepreneurs alike to come together and map out what will grow their relationship into an incentive to keep students in Boston and feed the next wave of innovation.

Shannon Todesca

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