Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program

Now you can stay in the country and accelerate your business

We’re by your side

Launching a startup company is hard.
Doing it as an entrepreneur from another country who graduated from one of our universities is harder.
We provide the support you need, when you need it, beginning with visa sponsorship.
With thoughtful and meaningful connections, resources and mentorship.
Backed by our years of experience and expertise.

Visa sponsorship

By locating your company at the Venture Development Center, and working part-time contributing your specialized expertise to faculty, students and others who are trying to turn their ideas into action, you can obtain a cap-exempt H-1B visa anytime during the year.

Unprecedented access to company building experience

Spend the rest of your time developing your company until it can independently sponsor your visa. We’ll provide ongoing support based on a disciplined process that pushes you toward success. 13 entrepreneurs have already “graduated” with long-term visas such as green cards.

Professional workspace

Grow your company cost-effectively in an award-winning 18,000 sf harbor-side facility with every imaginable type of instrument and workspace for technology and life science at your disposal.

Thriving community

Join current Global Entrepreneurs-in-Residence from universities including UMass, MIT, Harvard, Boston University, Penn State, Columbia, Carnegie Mellon and Stanford.

Strong backing

The first-in-the-nation Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence program began in late 2014, authorized by Massachusetts Session Laws: Chapter 287 of the Acts of 2014. It carefully follows the regulations of the Department of Homeland Security regarding cap-exempt H-1B employment by virtue of being employed by or at a university. The program is financially sponsored by the State of Massachusetts, Silicon Valley Bank, Goodwin Procter as well as other corporations. It is also supported by the New England Venture Capital Association, Mass Technology Leadership Council, Alliance for Business Leadership, and the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership.

Startup friendly terms

You do not have to give up equity in your company in order to become a Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence.


“The program seemed too good to be true, and we were skeptical at the beginning. But a couple of months after we engaged, we had the visa we needed. Now we are full of excitement about the prospects of our endeavor…”
MIT Media Lab grad Hasier Larrea – Founder, Ori Systems

Read How Does the Massachusetts Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program Work to learn how the program helped Haiser and how it could help you.



Visa Success Rate


Employees at Entrepreneur Companies

Dollars Raised By Companies

To date, over 125 UMass Boston students and faculty have benefited from interaction with GEIRs, through individual mentorship, class lectures, and company internships.


Global Entrepreneurs-in-Residence are a select group of the most promising and highly skilled entrepreneurs who want to move to or remain in Boston after graduation to launch the next big technology or life science company. You are welcome to apply to become a Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence if:

  • You are an entrepreneur at a young, high potential company in Massachusetts;
  • Your company is underway in terms of incorporation, financing and corporate governance;
  • You are a graduate of a US university or have an affiliation with a US university, acceleration/incubation programs, entrepreneurial boot-camps, etc.;
  • You possess the necessary skill, experience and talent to qualify for an H-1B visa; and
  • You are committed to collaborating with UMass to further your own entrepreneurial training and the success of other entrepreneurs (e.g., by mentoring a student, training an intern, lecturing in class).

The Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program is a public-private partnership. State grants, university funds and private gifts pay for program administration, and sponsorship support received from interested investors, law firms, banks, or companies pays Venture Development Center membership and employment costs.

Interested in becoming a Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence?

Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis. To apply, complete the form and we’ll be in touch for a telephone then in-person interview. You’ll get valuable legal advice on how to position yourself for long-term success.

Join us in making news

Boston entrepreneurs offer advice to would-be founders, Boston Globe, October 11, 2017

Without A Special Visa, Foreign Startup Founders Turn To A Workaround, NPR, May 3, 2017

How A Mass. Visa Workaround Became A Popular Alternative For Foreign Entrepreneurs, WBUR, May 1, 2017

Colleges’ Use of a Foreign-Worker Program Draws Mixed Reviews, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 21, 2017

Entrepreneurs Are Being Deported — And They Might Be at the Center of America’s Coming Immigration Fight, Entrepreneur, February 21, 2017

It’s Not a Startup Visa, but It’s Close, Bloomberg Businessweek, October 20, 2016

Let Foreign Students Stimulate The American Economy, Forbes, October 6, 2016

U.S. colleges court foreign entrepreneurs who need visas, Washington Post, July 6, 2016.

Startups and immigration: Myths, lies and half-truths, TechCrunch, June 17, 2016

Don’t send foreign entrepreneurs packing, Boston Globe, April 4, 2016.

Private sector’s aid keeps startup program alive, Boston Globe, March 14, 2016.

How Tech Startup Founders Are Hacking Immigration, Bloomberg Businessweek, February 10, 2016 

Unshackled Will Offer Investment Capital to Mass. Global Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, October 15, 2015

Mass. ‘Global Entrepreneur’ program gets boost from bank deal, Boston Business Journal, September 17, 2015

Baker budget proposes $100,000 for foreign entrepreneurs’ program, Boston Globe, May 8, 2015

‘We’re In A Race For Talent’: Mass. High-Skilled Visa Workaround Back In Budget, WBUR, April 30, 2015

Venture capitalists open-source new visa approach for foreign-born founders, Boston Globe, April 16, 2015

Baker’s shortsighted choice on tech and immigration, Boston Globe Opinion, February 12, 2015

Grad giveaway ended, Boston Herald Editorial, February 9, 2015

The Remedy to America’s Stalled Startup Activity: Immigration Reform, Forbes, January 22, 2015

Gov. Baker plans to slash ‘Global Entrepreneur in Residence’ program, Boston Business Journal, February 4, 2015

Advice for Charlie Baker: Patrick Programs Worth Keepings, Boston Globe, December 26, 2014

Can states solve the immigration crisis?, CNN Money, September 29, 2014

Massachusetts’ clever immigration reform workaround, Fortune, April 14, 2014

Massachusetts Has An Innovative Approach To Immigration Reform, Brad Feld, April 11, 1014

Economy will benefit from immigration reform, The Hill, February 14, 2014


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