The Global Entrepreneur in Residence (GEIR) Program

Massachusetts Global Entrepreneur in Residence Logo


The Massachusetts Global Entrepreneur in Residence (GEIR) Program was established in 2014 to attract and retain qualified entrepreneurs and their growing companies in Massachusetts. The program focuses on developing opportunities for foreign national entrepreneurs to bridge to longer-term residency via the support and affiliation with universities and research institutions.

How it works:

  • The initiative allows universities to partner with the Commonwealth to establish a GEIR program at their institution. Participating universities act as the “sponsor” for filing cap-exempt H-1B petitions for graduates with advanced degrees who want to grow their companies in Massachusetts but cannot, due to a lack of available H-1B visa slots.
  • Through either part-time employment at, or strong support of the mission of the university or non-profit research institution, the entrepreneur is able to petition for a cap-exempt non-profit H-1B visa.  After the entrepreneur’s startup company is further developed and its viability is established, the company may apply for the entrepreneur’s work authorization, also in a cap-exempt visa category, allowing the company, and new high-skill jobs, to grow here in Massachusetts.


Since the pilot program was launched in 2014, the UMass Boston Venture Development Center and the UMass Lowell New Venture Initiative have sponsored nearly 25 GEIRs, which has led to the founding of 18 new companies, the creation of 218 new jobs, and the economic investment of $118 million in Massachusetts.

In June 2016, Babson College announced it was establishing a GEIR program, the first private institution to do so in Massachusetts. Other colleges and universities are looking to follow suit soon.

GEIR Best Practices Community Launch Meeting: 

MassTech convened a launch meeting for the GEIR Best Practices Community on July 26, 2016.  Co-chaired by Susan Cohen, Chief of the Immigration Practice at Mintz Levin, academics, legal experts, entrepreneurs, and state government officials discussed the importance of creating opportunities for talented international entrepreneurs to stay and grow their startups in Massachusetts.  The group focused on clarifying various visa approaches, how to initiate a GEIR program, and updates from the GEIRs themselves.

Join Us:

Contact for more information or to join the GEIR Best Practice Community.