Can Start-up Clusters Work Beyond the Hub? Lowell Gets M2D2

In today’s Boston Globe correspondent Scott Kirsner speculates on the viability of start-up clusters created outside university-rich  Boston hub. Citing the recent start-up seeds sown in Lowell and Fall River, Kirsner notes:

The hope in Lowell is that a new incubator, dubbed M2D2, will attract medical device start-ups and spur job creation. In Fall River, a new bio-manufacturing facility slated to open in 2013 will give biotech companies a place to do early production runs of new drugs. The Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center attracted about $4.5 million in state funding, and the 22,000-square-foot bio-manufacturing center drew nearly $50 million.

All around the Commonwealth, there are efforts to support new business clusters, whether fostering marine technology start-ups near the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution or attracting clean-tech companies to a two-year-old incubator in Lynn. But looking back a few decades shows just how tough it is to create new clusters outside Greater Boston – whether bankrolled by state agencies or promoted by chambers of commerce and local entrepreneurs.

Get Kirsner’s take on the difficulties growing start-up clusters by reading his  full article here at


One Response to Can Start-up Clusters Work Beyond the Hub? Lowell Gets M2D2

  1. Joe S says:

    These small startt-ups with support from the universities should offer a much better return on investment for the State. There will be failures, but whenever there is a success it should pay off many times over. I would like to think that the State secures a return on their investment in those cases.

    A small amount of support to each of many start-ups doesn’t entail the risk of putting a lot of money into one large venture (see Evergreen Solar).

    Organizing the start-ups in clusters with the support of the University should hold down costs while providing complementary resources to each venture in the cluster.

    Can the City of Lowell use that approach when populating its renewal projects?