Future Of Boston: Innovation Gives Hope To Economy
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BOSTON (CBS) — With emerging technologies, the Boston economy is showing a renewed vitality.
An example of that is the new App “Shuttersong” which is the brainchild of Wellesley entrepreneur William Agush. It merges a still picture with audio.
It’s simple to use and Agush hopes it is the next big thing to rock social media.
“Easily the company could be 10-15-20 people within a year or two, and certainly with revenue that makes us a large company by Massachusetts standards,” said Agush. “I could have located the company anywhere I wanted to, but Boston is I think the place for technology in the next decade.”
It is companies like Shuttersong which are part of Boston’s innovation economy. There are other examples, such as Vertex Pharmaceuticals which is making the Seaport District its new home.
These are highly paid, highly skilled jobs that urban planners hope will define the future of Boston.
David Terkla, an economist at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, is bullish on the region’s future. “When you have an economy like we are getting more and more of in the world which depends on innovation, and rapid development of technologies, we are there, because that is what we do.”
Much of that success comes from federal dollars flowing into our research hospitals and universities.
Defense spending is also a big component.
Throw in the export of professional managerial services and a large financial sector and Terkla says most of Massachusetts is in good shape.
“Now we have quite a bit of diversity, “explained Terkla. “So it means that in the last recession, our unemployment rate never got to the national average.”
But that is just an average. Since almost 2/3rds of the state’s economy is based in the Boston area, economic problems in other parts of the state are somewhat masked.
The Boston area unemployment rate is 5.8%. It climbs to 7.1% in Worcester, 8.7% in Leominster, and 10.3% in New Bedford.
Nemucore is one of the innovation companies bucking that trend. They are developing nanomedicines to treat cancer. This means they are able to create patient specific drugs based on the patient’s DNA. The benefit is they can give a stronger dosage with fewer bad side effects.
Nemucore is doing their cutting edge research in Worcester. Company founder and President Tim Coleman is a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Coleman believes there are many good reasons, including a lower cost of doing business, that make Worcester a good home. “The schools are great out here. We’ve got 12 colleges and universities. There is plenty of talent.”
Creating more success stories outside of rt. 495 is going to require some strategic investments, according to Terkla. “When you look at the education levels of the students that are coming out of the regions, the sub regions, they are lower than ours and that is a problem. Part of it has been transportation too.”
Nemucore hopes to expand its workforce next year as it begins trials in ovarian cancer patients. Coleman is committed to keeping Worcester the company’s home.
Coleman has this message for leaders on Beacon Hill: “focus energies and monies out here because it can happen, and we are proof and principle that it can happen.”
And there is a great deal of growth potential with Nemucore. Right now the focus is on ovarian cancer, but this approach could work for patients with pancreatic cancer or drug resistant tuberculosis, for example.
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