(Left to right) Boston SVBers Dan Allred and Jim Maynard, Congressman Joe Kennedy III, SVB VP of Public Policy Mary Dent, SVB CEO Greg Becker
For the fourth in our series of 30 for 30 CEO events*, I joined our CEO, Greg Becker, and a number of my Boston-based colleagues to host a dinner with about 30 local CEOs in the tech industry. We were delighted to be joined by Congressman Joe Kennedy III (MA 4th District). I’ve gotten to know Joe since he was running for office. He’s very focused on helping create an environment in which growing companies can succeed, driving economic growth for the tech economy and more broadly throughout districts like his.
We talked about a variety of issues, all in the general category of how the Federal Government can help entrepreneurs succeed. The topics included immigration reform, education (esp. education in science, technology, engineering and math, or “STEM”), what’s going on with patent litigation, the business environment in MA, hiring, and federal funding for R&D. Just a few days before, Kennedy had been appointed as the new chair of the MA STEM Advisory Council, which MA Gov. Deval Patrick created in 2009 to improve coordination and collaboration around science and math programs in Massachusetts and replicate successful education programs around the state. So education generally, and STEM education specifically, was a big focus.
Joe gets that only entrepreneurs can create companies. But he also gets that state and federal government policies can help them, or they can make things harder. I’ve been heartened to see more people in Congress this year trying to work together across parties to do more of the former and less of the latter. I’m not naïve enough to believe things in DC are “fixed,” but I do think that Joe and a lot of his colleagues are setting a better tone and working hard to make a difference.
If you’ve got ideas you’d like to share with Joe, I know he’d love to hear them. You can email him at MA04JKima@mail.house.gov. Or email me at email@example.com. In addition to ongoing conversations with Joe, we also talk to a lot of other members of Congress who share his desire to figure out better ways to help the innovation economy.
Here’s a Boston slice of the results of our Startup Outlook 2013 survey that we also shared at this event.
*SVB’s 30 for 30 CEO reception series are events hosted by Silicon Valley Bank CEO Greg Becker in celebration of the company’s 30th anniversary in 2013. In locations across the country, Greg is hosting receptions and dinners for 30 local CEOs and an honorable guest at each event. So far this year, Greg has interviewed Tim Brown of IDEO (Silicon Valley); Craig Barrett, formerly of Intel (Phoenix); Biz Stone of Jelly, and formerly Twitter (Napa Valley); Congressman Joe Kennedy (Boston); and Brad Feld of Foundry Group with Patrick Walravens of JMP Securities (Denver). View photos of these events in our album on Facebook here.