Boston Innovation District

Start-ups in Boston, MA


In Boston, efforts to attract and grow life sciences companies, technology, and business services start-ups center around the City’s Innovation District, an initiative to revitalize 1,000 acres of land on the South Boston waterfront by creating a new community that attracts and supports innovative and entrepreneurial companies. Located near Boston‘s South Station, and a short transit ride from neighboring Cambridge, the Innovation District has been successful in recent years due in part to increased interest in the ability to have consistent face-to-face interaction with related companies and major universities (including Harvard, MIT, and Boston University).

Since the Innovation District was launched in 2010, more than 200 new companies and 4,000 new jobs have located in the neighborhood. Companies currently located in the Innovation District range from technology companies (30 percent of new jobs), to the creative firms in design and advertising (21 percent of new jobs), and life science and green technology (16 percent of new jobs).1 Among the innovative companies growing in the Innovation District are online video platform Brightcove, customized jewelry manufacturer Gemvara, multi-media advertising and marketing firm allen & gerritsen, and online consumer market research firm Communispace.2

Public transit, commuter rail, and intercity rail are important in supporting the continued development of the life science and technology sectors in Boston, among others, according to Rick Dimino, President and CEO of A Better City, an organization dedicated to improving the economic competitiveness and quality of life of the Boston metropolitan area. He sees the transit connectivity both within the Boston region and intercity connectivity (particularly to access New York based capital, talent, and other resources only available in New York), as critical components of the growth of the life sciences and technology sectors in the Boston metropolitan area.

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Boston’s Innovation District is home to over 200 new companies and is located within walking distance of South Station on the NEC. Source: Flickr user Izzo Interactive.

“Connectivity within the cluster is critically important: human interaction face to face… You have different pieces of each cluster in close proximity; someone is making the biotech product, someone doing the research, someone applying it…because the cluster feeds off itself… high speed rail would allow Boston to become the epicenter of related investment…and intellectual capital.”

Rick Dimino, A Better City, Boston

1. Boston Innovation District, “About Us,” available at: http://www.innovationdistrict.org/about-2/, as of November 27, 2013.

2. Boston Innovation District, “Blog,” available at: http://www.innovationdistrict.org/, as of November 27, 2013.