Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program

You are now free to stay in the country and accelerate the growth of your business

Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence Karen Márquez, co-founder of Infantium.

Global Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (GEIR) are a select group of international entrepreneurs-in-residence who receive the support they need, when then need it, to build a great business, beginning with a cap-exempt H-1B visa to move to or remain in Boston.

As a GEIR, you’ll:

  • Join a thriving community of peers achieving results that are among the best in the nation.
  • Enjoy a best-in-class, fully supported work environment that meets your practical needs and instinctive desires like no other.
  • Get unprecedented access to company building experience from a team of entrepreneurs who have collectively worked with over 1,000 startups from the ground up.
  • Pay it forward by contributing to the success of other entrepreneurs.
  • Have more time to document your own achievements and abilities so you can obtain a longer-term visa.

The GEIR program began in 2014 as a pilot program of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and the University of Massachusetts, authorized by AN ACT PROMOTING ECONOMIC GROWTH ACROSS THE COMMONWEALTH, Session Laws: Chapter 287 of the Acts of 2014. It has grown into a public-private partnership supporting classes of 10 entrepreneurs per year. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. The GEIR program is sponsored by the State of Massachusetts, Silicon Valley Bank, Goodwin Procter as well as other corporations.

University Affiliation

The ACT PROMOTING ECONOMIC GROWTH ACROSS THE COMMONWEALTH carefully follows the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ “Guidance Regarding Eligibility for Exemption from the H-1B Cap” which allows entrepreneurs to obtain an H-1B visa anytime during the year through their affiliation with UMass. A GEIR becomes “affiliated” by locating their company at the Venture Development Center, and working part-time, as an employee of UMass or their company, or both, in their area of speciality, furthering the mission of UMass to train entrepreneurs and promote economic development. A GEIR spends the rest of their time growing their company.


GEIR supports entrepreneurs at emerging growth companies in Massachusetts, the unquestioned engines of the economy:

  • Are you a member of the leadership team or an early employee?
  • Do you have a degree from a US institution?
  • Is your firm at the seed or startup financing stage?
  • Is it qualified to sponsor an H-1B visa?
  • Are you passionate about helping others succeed as entrepreneurs?

If so, you are qualified to apply to be a GEIR.

Get Started

Just fill out this application to start your journey. Apply at least four months before your authorization expires to remain in the United States. Ten entrepreneurs are selected each year on a rolling basis. Their companies pay monthly membership fees at the Venture Development Center and are responsible for other related expenses. Applications are now being accepted for the Class of 2016.


Given the concentration of international students in Massachusetts – 51,240 – it is not surprising that they make up an increasing share of the young entrepreneurial talent seeking to remain after they graduate to develop and grow a business. However, visa issues often interfere with their dreams. By facilitating access to the visas they need, the GEIR program is creating a gush of economic activity.

Don’t send foreign entrepreneurs packing, Boston Globe, April 4, 2016.

Private sector’s aid keeps startup program alive, Boston Globe, March 14, 2016.

How Tech Startup Founders Are Hacking Immigration, Bloomberg Businessweek, February 10, 2016 

Unshackled Will Offer Investment Capital to Mass. Global Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, October 15, 2015

Mass. ‘Global Entrepreneur’ program gets boost from bank deal, Boston Business Journal, September 17, 2015

Baker budget proposes $100,000 for foreign entrepreneurs’ program, Boston Globe, May 8, 2015

‘We’re In A Race For Talent’: Mass. High-Skilled Visa Workaround Back In Budget, WBUR, April 30, 2015

Venture capitalists open-source new visa approach for foreign-born founders, Boston Globe, April 16, 2015

Baker’s shortsighted choice on tech and immigration, Boston Globe Opinion, February 12, 2015

Grad giveaway ended, Boston Herald Editorial, February 9, 2015

The Remedy to America’s Stalled Startup Activity: Immigration Reform, Forbes, January 22, 2015

Gov. Baker plans to slash ‘Global Entrepreneur in Residence’ program, Boston Business Journal, February 4, 2015

Advice for Charlie Baker: Patrick Programs Worth Keepings, Boston Globe, December 26, 2014

Can states solve the immigration crisis?, CNN Money, September 29, 2014

Massachusetts’ clever immigration reform workaround, Fortune, April 14, 2014

Massachusetts Has An Innovative Approach To Immigration Reform, Brad Feld, April 11, 1014

Economy will benefit from immigration reform, The Hill, February 14, 2014




The GEIR Program brings top international entrepreneurial talent to the campus and community. They work across the campus, in their specialty area, mentoring faculty, students and staff in a wide array of projects requiring an entrepreneurial mindset. They are available to guest lecture in classrooms, advise on entrepreneurial research, and provide mentorship to community members developing their own startups.

Karen Márquez

Profile: LinkedIn
Network: Singularity University
Industries: Education
Top Skill: Marketing
Company: Infantium

Paulo Melo

Profile: LinkedIn
Network: TechStars Boston
Industries: Software, Pharmaceutical
Top Skill: Biomedical Engineering
Company: doDOC

Ivan Fernandez de Casadevante

Profile: LinkedIn
Network: MIT Media Lab
Industries: Robotics
Top Skill: Industrial/Mechanical Engineering
Company: MorphLab

Mohit Kansal

Profile: LinkedIn
Network: MIT Sloan School and Tata Center for Technology & Design
Industries: Financial Services
Top Skill: International Payments

Thomas Ketchell

Profile: LinkedIn
Network: LearnLaunch Boston
Industries: Education
Top Skills: Digital Publishing
Company: HSTRY

Ali Shahid

Profile: LinkedIn
Network: Intuit
Industries: Healthcare
Top Skill: Finance
Company: Vetted

Dani Gonzalez

Profile: LinkedIn
Network: Babson University
Industries: Education
Top Skill: Software Engineering
Company: Infantium


Make an appointment with one of the Global Entrepreneurs-in-Residence.

Contact a GEIR



Interested in becoming a Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence?

Apply Now for the Class of 2016



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