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Boston Globe article on Front Page!

August 2, 2010

My idea and Mass Challenge got featured on the front page of the Boston Globe on Monday! 

– Candice Leigh Cabe

Ideas percolate in Innovation District

Hopes are high for S. Boston area

Scientist Holly Moeller worked in the lab at Ginkgo BioWorks, one of the newer companies at Boston Marine Industrial Park. Scientist Holly Moeller worked in the lab at Ginkgo BioWorks, one of the newer companies at Boston Marine Industrial Park. (John Tlumacki/ Globe Staff)
By Andrew Ryan Globe Staff / July 26, 2010

They all believe they have invented the next big thing, these engineers, MBAs, and scientists with ideas as lofty as the view from their perch on the 14th floor of a new high-rise on Boston’s waterfront.


Graphic Innovation District

A bottle-top filter to solve the world’s drinking-water woes. A stiletto high heel that converts into a comfortable walking shoe. A wind turbine that uses helium to float up to 2,000 feet in the air to generate electricity in the steady breeze aloft.

The creators are among 110 nascent entrepreneurs who have won free office space situated in what city planners are calling the Innovation District, a 1,000-acre swath of South Boston that encompasses much of the view from the 14th floor of One Marina Park Drive at Fan Pier, where entrepreneurial teams will work.

The envisioned district stretches from Fort Point Channel to the Boston Marine Industrial Park, from the Seaport to the Convention Center.

“I would say that we are celebrating Yankee ingenuity here today,’’ said Kenneth P. Morse, a founder of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, speaking at a recent event where the 110 nascent entrepreneurs won not only free office space, but access to business mentors, legal advice, and a shot at a share of $1 million in prize money to bring an idea to market.

“I didn’t do the exact word count,’’ Morse said, “but I heard the word innovation come up 10 or 15 times.’’

While the global recession may have stalled some larger projects, officials hope smaller startups could inject the area with creative character. Last week the city began seeking bids for two long-vacant waterside industrial buildings near the tip of the 191-acre peninsula that comprises the Boston Marine Industrial Park.

Planners remain open to offers from seafood companies or other traditional industries, too, but they hope to attract a life science firm, more biotech, or perhaps a pioneer that would redefine maritime industry, like a fish farm or a tidal energy company.

“Everybody expects us to build high-rise condominiums, offices, and retail in the South Boston waterfront; that’s anywhere America,’’ Mayor Thomas M. Menino said yesterday. “I don’t want to be that location of anywhere America. I want it to be a special part of our city, a leader in the new economy.’’

The Innovation District marks the latest effort in a once forlorn part of the city that had made great strides in the last decade, but has not yet gelled as the teeming urban neighborhood imagined long ago by city planners. While new hip restaurants and other amenities continue bubbling up, there remain lonesome stretches of highway ramps and parking lots.

“Absolutely, I had to slow down over the past couple of years, but the world slowed down,’’ said developer Joseph F. Fallon, who has proceeded cautiously with plans for more offices, stores, and residences, but donated the space for the entrepreneurs at One Marina Park Drive. “We are starting to see some upticks. I need these small companies in a building like this. I can’t just do it with one major tenant. I need diversity in any building.’’ 

Read the rest….

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