Becker College/MassDiGI Receive $1.4 million for New Ventures Center

Published on Friday, September 13th, 2013

Media Coverage: Boston Globe, The Hive on, Worcester Telegram & Gazette

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded $1.4 million to Becker College and the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) to help create the MassDiGI New Ventures Center (NVC).

Becker will match the EDA grant to build the $2.8 million NVC, which will function as an on-campus business assistance center located in the College’s historic property at 80 William Street in Worcester. The NVC will be a business assistance center for interactive media, game development, and technology-centric business undergraduate and graduate student entrepreneurs from Massachusetts “Gateway Cities”–urban centers “with unrealized potential” that anchor regional economies around the state. The NVC is expected to support the creation of 430 jobs over a ten-year period.

Becker College is one of only two institutions in Massachusetts to be recognized in The Princeton Review’s top-15 colleges for video game design for four consecutive years. In 2011, Becker was designated by state officials as host of MassDiGI.

“As the home of both MassDiGI and a nationally recognized video game development program, Becker College is perfectly positioned to help grow one of the most dynamic pillars of the Massachusetts innovation economy: the interactive entertainment industry,” said Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D., president of Becker College and chair of the MassDiGI Advisory Board. “The jobs created by the work of this center will be highly skilled and well-paid. They will build the talent pool in Massachusetts by providing opportunity for graduates from Becker and other institutions of higher learning across the state.”

“This highly competitive grant allows the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute and Becker College to take a major step forward in pursuing their vision for an innovation hub built on collaboration between academia, private industry, and government,” said U.S. Representative Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). “Mass DiGI and Becker College are leading the way in preparing our students of today for the jobs of tomorrow, and the landmark New Ventures Center will be at the crux of sustainable, long-term, innovation-economy job growth in a rapidly expanding industry.”

“I’m pleased the EDA has awarded this grant to support the New Ventures Center and MassDiGI at Becker College,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). “These kinds of investments in higher education help grow Massachusetts’ innovation economy and create more opportunities for students across the Commonwealth.”

“This funding for the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute will help expand cooperation between our universities and the digital and video game industry, key players in our thriving innovation economy,” said Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.). “I congratulate Becker College, whose program will help entrepreneurs develop new video games, train students to become skilled workers, and create jobs across Massachusetts in a growing and competitive industry.”

To house the NVC, Becker College will undergo an ambitious renovation of 80 William Street on the College’s Worcester campus. The new center will retain the historical character of 80 William Street, while offering meeting space, computer labs, and other facilities dedicated to research, design, and incubation of new enterprises. The goal: To attract private investment, create new jobs, help retain existing businesses in Massachusetts, and support entrepreneurship in the state’s video game sector.