Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program

You are now free to stay in the country and grow your business

Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Harvard Business School grad Vivek Gupta (right), at a VDC fintech panel moderated by the Boston Globe’s Shirley Leung with the CEO’s of Putnam, State Street and Quantopian.

Global Entrepreneurs-in-Residence are a select group of company founders, members of the leadership team or key early employees like you who want to move to or remain in Boston after they graduate to grow a high potential company. We make it possible for you to obtain a cap-exempt H-1B visa anytime during the year through your affiliation with UMass.

You become affiliated with UMass by joining the Venture Development Center, and working part-time, as an employee of UMass or your company, furthering the mission of UMass by providing entrepreneurial faculty members, students, alumni as well as the broader community the expertise they need to turn their ideas into action. You spend the rest of the time growing your company with top-tier access to the Boston startup ecosystem.

To date, 20 entrepreneurs have received cap-exempt H-1B visas. They hail from universities including MIT, Harvard, Columbia, Carnegie Mellon and Stanford. The companies the entrepreneurs are associated with have raised $118.5M in private investment, and have created 216 jobs.

The program began in late 2014, 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 20 entrepreneurs per year. The program is sponsored by the State of Massachusetts, Silicon Valley Bank, Goodwin Procter as well as other corporations.

The Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence program 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.

There are two options depending on the stage of your company:

  1. If your company is pre-investor funding, then UMass can sponsor your cap-exempt visa. You will be “employed by the university” under the Guidance Regarding Eligibility for Exemption from the H-1B Cap.
  2. If your company has secured investor funding, your company normally can sponsor your cap-exempt visa. You will be “employed at the university” according to the Guidance Regarding Eligibility for Exemption from the H-1B Cap.

You are encouraged to apply to become a Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence if:

  • You are a company founder, member of the leadership team or a key early employee at an emerging growth company;
  • You possess the necessary skill, experience or talents to qualify for an H-1B visa; and
  • You are committed to furthering the success of other entrepreneurs.

You further the success of other entrepreneurs by:

  • Mentoring students, faculty, alumni or community members who are starting businesses or studying entrepreneurship;
  • Serving as an ambassador to make connections between the students faculty, alumni or community members and the innovation community; or
  • Involving students as interns so that they may gain relevant experience.

Your company is responsible for Venture Development Center membership fees and other related expenses.

To apply, complete this form and we’ll be in touch for a telephone then in-person interview. You’ll get valuable advice on how to position yourself for long-term success.

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.

It’s Not a Startup Visa, but It’s Close, Bloomberg Businessweek, October 20, 2016

U.S. colleges court foreign entrepreneurs who need visas, Washington Post, July 6, 2016.

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

Interested in becoming a Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence?

Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis.