Last November, we wrote about a program to help qualified international students stay in Massachusetts after graduation if they are starting or growing a high potential business. Called a clever immigration workaround by Fortune, it is being piloted by the Venture Development Center at the University of Massachusetts Boston with two Harvard Business School grads.
However, in February, facing a massive budget gap, Gov. Charlie Baker cut the Global Entrepreneur in Residence program’s $1 million funding. Now, a month later, Baker’s administration has earmarked $100,000 to resurrect the effort, as part of the budget for the next fiscal year.
Why the quick about-face? The initial cut created a firestorm. The Boston Globe called it “a shortsighted choice on tech and immigration.”
“These are the exact kind of people we want to stay in Massachusetts,” said Flybridge Capital’s Jeff Bussgang. “So I think I’m not sure if they truly yet understand the importance of the program.”
Now they do, after the New England Venture Capital Association rallied support. Baker Administration officials are hopeful that the private sector will get behind the program with funding as part of a public-private partnership.
Bussgang says, “The program enjoys strong private sector support and was always designed to be largely supported by businesses seeking to sponsor individual innovators.”