Courting Millennials: Boston Aims To Attract Biz Brains Of Future

By Jack Encarnacao Boston Herald

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Approximately 6,000 people are gathering in Boston this week to attend The "Forbes under 30 Summit." The conference features a host of entrepreneurs, including Virgin Airlines founder Richard Branson, movie stars Jessica Alba and Ashton Kutcher, Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps and tennis star Maria Sharapova

Boston Herald

The Forbes Under 30 Summit, launched yesterday on City Hall Plaza, aims to cast Boston as an alluring potential home base for thousands of millennial entrepreneurs looking to score with the next breakthrough digital product and close on coveted seed financing.

"Most of these folks are from outside the commonwealth, and many of them are from outside the country, and they're a group of people who are going to go on to do really interesting things," Gov. Charlie Baker said yesterday after addressing the crowd in basketball sneakers, jeans and half-zip sweater alongside Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "This is just a great way for us to introduce ourselves to a group of people who are going to be making decisions about where to start companies -- and where to put them and where to build them -- for probably the next several decades."

The summit, which runs through tomorrow, was lured to the Hub from Philadelphia, which hosted the first two.

It's expected to draw nearly 6,000 attendees to talks from a host of entrepreneurs, including Virgin Airlines founder Richard Branson, movie stars Jessica Alba and Ashton Kutcher, Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps and tennis star Maria Sharapova.

Built around themes like "Revolution," "Launch," "Moon Shot," "Seed the Future," "Change the World," and "Reap the Profit," the talks will be staged at Faneuil Hall, Cutler Majestic Theatre, Northeastern University and Harvard Business School.

Samuel Shames, a 23-year-old Newton native and 2014 Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineering grad, said he'll be on the lookout for funders who can help him develop his product, a bracelet called Wristify that can heat and cool the body.

"We've had a lot of interest so far, and I'm sure there will be more," Shames said.

Spencer Penn of Sweet Bites, a firm that manufactures and distributes cavity-fighting chewing gum for kids in developing countries, said entrepreneurs who have succeeded in different sectors find ways to collaborate at the summit.

"There's a million opportunities, and all of the ones that get left behind are the ones that involve working cross-functionally between those kinds of groups," he said.

Officials credited David Fial­kow, managing director of General Catalyst Partners, a Cambridge venture capital firm, with luring the summit from Philadelphia. Fial­kow said key selling points were support from companies willing to fund the summit without city or state money, and the momentum of General Electric selecting Boston as site of its new global headquarters.

"The ability for Boston to have the resources to help launch businesses is as good as anywhere in the world," Fial­kow said.

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