Why I Chose Boston and Startups Should Too

Written by Kit Tan, Operations Intern


It was a windy August day when I first set foot in Boston a year ago – I had just flown 24 hours in the delightfully cramped confines of a metal tube and only one thing was on my mind: food.

Nothing builds an appetite like airline food because the dishes are always described better than they taste. As I set off in search of sustenance, my wanderings brought me to a Vietnamese restaurant on the corner of Washington and Lagrange street – Pho Pasteur. While I annihilated the extra large bowl of beef pho, I couldn’t help but feel an immense sense of relief; coming from the food paradise that is Singapore, good food makes or breaks a new city for me. Thankfully, Boston passed the test.

I’ve since finished up my first year at Babson College and my internship with MassChallenge, the world’s most startup-friendly accelerator, is coming to a close. It’s been an exciting year filled with new learnings, new people from around the globe, and new opportunities to immerse myself into the local entrepreneurial community.

As Boston’s startup ecosystem continues to grow, here are a few reasons why I think Boston will be the place to be for international entrepreneurs looking to relocate and launch their ventures in the U.S.:

Engaged Community
Boston has an active startup ecosystem that includes everything from angel groups to incubators and accelerators, and hundreds of universities throughout the region. I've found that where there is brainpower, there is funding. Boston has not only been able to attract, but retain the very best entrepreneurs working on the most-promising ideas because this community is eager to engage and excited to support.

Not a founder? It doesn’t matter – you’re still likely to contribute to the entrepreneurial ecosystem just by being here. Whether you’re cheering startups on at a local pitch event, acting as a mentor or advisor, or visiting one of the area’s many co-working spaces, there’s plenty of opportunities to get involved and offer support. I myself try to attend as many startup events as possible. Trust me, there’s always something going on.

Top Talent
As I hinted above, Boston is an academic hub – if not for the sheer genius of the students, then for the number of institutions. This pool of hungry talent has become a melting pot of brainpower, ideas, and perspectives ready to put their youthful intellect to use. Students not only add to the active community, but they’re helping build it. As famed investor Vinod Khosla once shared, “a company becomes the people it hires.” If you’re still in school, look around… one of your classmates could be your future co-founder or teammate!

Diversity
Unlike many cities around the world, Boston has proved to be diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity, and walks of life. In fact, programs like MassChallenge have worked closely with community partners to attract and support a large number of female-founded companies – 48% this year, well above the industry average. This diversity feeds into idea generation. As we say at MassChallenge, the best ideas can come from anyone, in any industry, from anywhere around the world.

Food and Entertainment
I might be food-obsessed, but I understand that building a company is a roller-coaster of highs and lows. Despite this, it’s important to have fun and to actually enjoy Boston. Besides taking part in the foodie scene, I'd recommend taking the time to watch Shakespeare in the Commons, drink in the view at Top of the Hub, and immerse yourself in the city!

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but I challenge international entrepreneurs to soak up all that Boston has to offer. If you’re anything like the 10% percent of international startups taking part in this year’s Boston cohort, I’m sure you’ll find your own reasons to love this city and will be calling Boston home in no time.