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Incubating Economic Growth

Incubating Economic GrowthTufts’ small business incubator in Grafton is helping boost Massachusetts’ economy, say state leaders and local businesspeople. No. Grafton, Mass.

Boston [09.15.03] Since it was founded in 1994, Tufts' Biotechnology Transfer Center has helped entrepreneurs like Robert Winnicki - founder of Capsule Technologies, Inc. - launch their own companies in Massachusetts. Faced with a sluggish economy, state leaders and local business people say private/public partnerships like the small business incubator at Tufts could play an increasingly important role in boosting economic growth in Massachusetts.

"Do more of this," Winnicki told Massachusetts State Senate President Robert Travaglini at a recent economic development meeting at the University's School of Veterinary Medicine. "I couldn't have started my company at Tufts without it. Being with these people has allowed me to grow my business."

Winnicki - whose company brings in just under $1 million in revenue a year - is just one of many success stories produced by the Tufts incubator, which is part of the 106-acre Tufts Science Park in Grafton.

"We have the research infrastructure and faculty resources that these young companies needed to get them started," said Tufts' Joseph McManus, associate dean for administration and finance at the Veterinary School. "We also collaborate with more mature companies, providing them with important research services and scientific expertise."

The center - which was established with support from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Small Business Administration - is also helping to create a vibrant and growing biotechnology sector outside Boston.

"Certainly there is life beyond Route 128 and Kendall Square, and it is Route 495 and Central Massachusetts," State Representative Karyn Polito told the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. "Academic engines are driving the jobs."

Representative George Peterson (R-Grafton) and other regional political leaders are also praising Tufts' role in the area of economic development.

"Senator Travaglini has taken a special interest in Central Massachusetts to make inroads with policies the the longer term economic growth and development in Massachusetts," said Sen. Guy Glodis (D-Auburn). "I think that Tufts Veterinary School and the Route 9 East corridor are the economic engines for this part of
the state."

Travaglini added, "I like what's happening here. I like the chemistry and I like the timing."

The timing, it turns out, couldn't be better.

Despite a sluggish economy, the biotech and lifesciences industries have grown more than 6 percent over the last six months, reported the Telegram and Gazette. As a result, centers like the one at Tufts may play an increasingly important role in future economic growth for the state.

"The biotech industry is a truly significant component of the economic engine of our state," he said. "Worcester is on the move in this area, and we want to maintain momentum and be a role model for the rest of the Commonwealth."

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