October 11, 2009

The History of Innovation in Massachusetts: What Can We Learn From Our Past?


Here in Massachusetts, we live and work surrounded by amazing and inspirational history. The Revolution sparked at Lexington and Concord is one obvious example, but did you know that we are also surrounded by an equally rich and engaging history of innovation and entrepreneurship? One of my favorite places for learning about our local history of innovation and entrepreneurship is Lowell, which was in many ways the first industrial city in America. On a recent trip to the newly re-opened American Textile History Museum there, I learned about the role that non-compete agreements played in Massachusetts history.

Samuel Slater

It seems that Samuel Slater, now known broadly as the father of the American Industrial Revolution, broke the law in Britain by coming here to start his business, using the training he had received in Britain. Our recent post in Xconomy goes into more detail, but in short, as a state, and as a nation, we were enormous beneficiaries of his decision to start his own business here. We hope that our current laws around non-compete agreements don’t cause a new generation of entrepreneurs to take their know-how somewhere else to start their businesses.

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