The Babson study analyzed the unique entrepreneurial landscape of Massachusetts, looking at who the entrepreneurs are, where they live and work, why they start businesses, and what kind of skills and attitudes they bring to the marketplace.

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Massachusetts entrepreneurs are optimistic and well-positioned to move forward in recovery to build an entrepreneurial economy that is innovative and globally competitive, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Massachusetts 2010 Report.
The study conducted by Babson College recognizes the Commonwealth’s special entrepreneurial legacy, but further suggests a need to understand the “entrepreneurial ecosystem” that cultivates Entrepreneurship of All Kinds™ -- from cutting-edge, high-potential and knowledge-based firms to necessity-driven entrepreneurs in every corner of the state.
The Babson study analyzed the unique entrepreneurial landscape of Massachusetts, looking at exactly who these entrepreneurs are, where they live and work, why they start businesses, and what kind of skills and attitudes they bring to the marketplace.
“Small businesses and entrepreneurs drive our economy -- helping Massachusetts recover from the global recession faster and stronger than most states,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “We are showing the nation how to win the future.”
“We are delighted to see the awareness and energy around entrepreneurship both as a career path and as a mechanism to advance business development in a whole array of organizations in the Commonwealth,” said Babson College President Leonard Schlesinger.

Key Findings 

  • A significant number of entrepreneurs 45 and older (17 percent) are starting businesses. Still, more entrepreneurs 35 and younger take on early-stage ventures.
  • Entrepreneurial ventures both early and established are principally run by a single autonomous founder.
  • Since the beginning of the recession in 2008, 65 percent of early-stagers and 40 percent of established businesses report a new emphasis in the pursuit of social as well as economic goals. Some 16 percent of for-profit ventures and 8 percent of for-profit established pursue purely social goals.
  • Commonwealth entrepreneurs are network savvy with 58 percent knowing other entrepreneurs, while among the non-entrepreneurship population, less than 25 percent know another business owner.
  • Entrepreneurs are multi-taskers nearly half of all early-stage and established entrepreneurs have another primary business to fall back upon.
  • Going global is trendy among Massachusetts entrepreneurs 77percent of early-stagers and 67 percent of established entrepreneurs target the international marketplace.
  • In both early and established businesses, the rate of entrepreneurial activity was highest among non-white males (33 percent).


  • Commonwealth entrepreneurs are cautiously optimistic about startup opportunities.   Early-stage entrepreneurs are the most positive and predict significant growth in the next five years.
  • Entrepreneurial awareness is high in Massachusetts –65 percent of non-entrepreneurs report that starting a business is a good career choice and 77 percent believe that a successful new business leads to a higher socio-economic status.
  • Innovation drives the creation of new firms, but 2010 saw a decrease in innovation among both early-stage (50 percent) and established businesses (84 percent). 
  • There is a rise in the use of new technologies especially among early-stage entrepreneurs. The study indicates that such sage investments will serve the next generation of Massachusetts’ businesses. Technologies used by Massachusetts entrepreneurs:
    • Customer-relationship management software (44 percent early-stage; 18 percent established)
    • Internet phones (33 percent early-stage; 15 percent established)
    • Email advertising (46 percent early-stage; 28 percent established)
    • Web advertising (64 percent early-stage; 33 percent established)
    • Company website (77 percent early-stage; 45 percent established)



Action Steps

Babson’s research suggests that an opportunity exists to increase the number of entrepreneurs within Massachusetts by:

  • Raising awareness of entrepreneurship as a realistic career choice among non-entrepreneurs.
  • Helping non-entrepreneurs understand how to identify, analyze, and create opportunities.
The study also suggests that:
  • Early-stage businesses will be most successful if they move beyond the concept of solo founder to working in teams.
  • A commitment to innovation is vital and targeted support to women entrepreneurs is necessary to bolster female participation in the entrepreneurial process.
About The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Massachusetts 2010 Report 
Authors of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Massachusetts 2010 Report are Candida Brush, Moriah Meyskens, Robert Nason.
The data collection, analyses and written report were conducted using the guidelines of the Global Entrepreneurship Research Association (GERA). The methodology used is similar to that of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM). Since the first global report was published in 1999 by scholars at Babson College and London Business School, GEM is the longest and largest research project studying entrepreneurship and has developed into one of the world’s leading research consortia concerned with improving our understanding of the relationships between individual perceptions of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial activity, and national economic growth. To this end, the project has, from the start, been designed as a multinational, harmonized research program providing annual assessments of the entrepreneurial sector for a range of countries. Results have implications for policy, training and education across new ventures, established ventures and the Massachusetts workforce. Babson College sponsored this research.
Babson College
Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader for Entrepreneurship of All Kinds™. The College is a dynamic living and learning laboratory, where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society -- while at the same time evolving our methods and advancing our programs. We shape the leaders our world needs most: those with strong functional knowledge and the skills and vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, and motivate teams in a common purpose to create economic and social value. As we have for nearly a half-century, Babson continues to advance Entrepreneurial Thought and Action® as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value. For information, visit

By Michael Chmura,, 781-239-4549 | 12/20/2011 07:15