The Power of Ideas: Therese Murray

With Mass-Ignite, the former state Senate president is bringing international companies to the Bay State.

therese murray

photograph by Tony Luong

The Veteran

Therese Murray may have served more than two decades in the Massachusetts Senate, but if you ask her, she’s just getting started. Upon stepping down as the first female leader of the state’s legislative body, she wasted no time starting a nonprofit known as Mass-Ignite. With her new venture, to be funded through corporate sponsorships, Murray will make the most of her connections, serving as a concierge to international tech companies that want to establish beachheads in Greater Boston.

The Portal

“There’s no point person for most of our business opportunities,” Murray says. “There needs to be one portal for businesses to come through.” That’s where Murray comes in. “You hook them up!” she says. “We’ll be building that bridge that allows them to, and showing them how to do it.” She says she’s hoping to focus on big data, e-health, and marine robotics companies, among others, from places such as Ireland and Eastern Europe.

Gloves Off

It’s no more than Murray did for years as Senate president, but now, she says, she’s looking forward to the freedom that comes with being in the private sector. “In the public sector, you can’t do certain things,” she says. “There’s a lot of scrutiny and you don’t have flexibility.” For example: “Say something was happening and I wanted to go to another country,” she says. As a legislator, her travel budget would be examined: “Oh, what is she traveling for?” But as a private nonprofit leader, she can just up and go: “You have to go back and sit down with them and say, ‘What do you have to offer?’ and ‘What does Massachusetts have to offer?’ and then you cement a relationship. You can’t just sign agreements and walk away. You have to go back and nurture them. ”



Number of international biotech companies opening new labs here as of 2014, according to the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.

$2 million

Amount MLSC has set aside in grants for local businesses that want to partner with companies overseas.


Number of international firms in MLSC’s database of companies looking for local partners.