How to Become an Entrepreneur in Massachusetts

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What is Entrepreneurship?


Entrepreneurs are people that start a business and often operate the businesses they start as well. Risk is an essential part of entrepreneurship, which sets it apart from other roles. The word entrepreneur comes from the French word entreprende. Literally, it means to undertake something.

Historically, the touchstone of entrepreneurship is to create a profitable organization. In the United States, entrepreneurship was essential to the ambitions of the Founders. Among the reasons that the colonies sought to separate from English rule was to have self-determination and freedom to pursue wealth.

Today, the idea of entrepreneurship encompasses a wide range of activities. The idea includes starting a simple enterprise, like a one-person storefront for repairing shoes. Entrepreneurship can also involve more complex businesses. Among choices of possibly successful careers, students pursuing a business degree or an advanced degree in any field should consider the role of entrepreneur.


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Entrepreneurship Education in Massachusetts

Massachusetts’s economy features technology-based industries, healthcare, and education. The state ranks among the leading economies in professional and business services. Highly regarded for support of entrepreneurship and innovation, Massachusetts schools and universities are known for a research focus, development of inventions, and commercialization.

Massachusetts schools offer entrepreneurship at all levels. Undergraduate programs offer entrepreneurship alone and as part of business administration degrees. In graduate schools, students can study in dedicated entrepreneurship degree programs or in business programs with a concentration or focus.

Using refined online programs, undergraduate programs, and advanced graduate programs, current students develop through business analytics, critical thinking, and experiential learning. Massachusetts schools rank in the upper tiers of patent grants and making discoveries useful to the public. Students can participate in cutting-edge research and learn from experienced faculty.

The information technology sector has grown steadily in recent years along with the finance and insurance industries. Manufacturing, for many decades the center of the state’s economy, still provides a significant level of employment. The state has a vibrant tourism sector, with famous coastal destinations and inland features.

There are many reasons to become an entrepreneur in Massachusetts. Modern corporations seek to hire and retain entrepreneurial leadership for business development roles. The Massachusetts economy offers opportunities for innovation through entrepreneurship. The state is a leader in technological research, and its business policies encourage investment in new ideas and startups. The state also has some of the world’s most accomplished colleges and universities and a nationally esteemed medical center at Boston University.

Massachusetts uses private sector resources to accomplish public policy objectives. The use of public funds in grants, contracts, and procurements requires consideration of social equity and economic fairness. Diversity is among the state governments goals when promoting entrepreneurship through state spending. Massachusetts provides support and programs to encourage and enable business diversity.


Associate Degree in Entrepreneurship (AS)

An associate degree requires abut sixty credit hours of coursework. Students learn the fundamentals of business including finance, communications, and business organizations. The curriculum also covers general education, nearly the same as that which students will find in a bachelor’s programs. Schools may offer entrepreneurship as a standalone degree field or as a concentration with a business degree or business management degree.

An associate degree can be an Associate of Arts or an Associate of Science. The science-based degree programs typically add more STEM courses like mathematics and statistics. The arts degrees will have more humanities studies including languages, history, and the arts.

Entrepreneurs benefit from a well-rounded education and a focus on communications. A program might offer internships to give students hands-on experience in a real-world business environment. Associate degree graduates can start a business or work in a business setting in positions as accounting clerks, financial assistants, or insurance claims. Of course, you can start your own business at any time, but you are likely to have an easier time gaining funding if you have a higher education.

Students can complete an associate degree in entrepreneurship online, on-campus, or in a hybrid mix of on-campus and remote learning. An associate degree is a step towards a bachelor’s degree and greater depth of knowledge in business practices.

Bachelor's Degree in Entrepreneurship (BS)

Students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in entrepreneurship in an on-campus format, online, or in a hybrid mix of on-campus and distance learning. Programs may also offer degrees in business or business management with a concentration in entrepreneurship.

The typical course of study ranges from 120 to 124 credit hours at this level. And students can complete a bachelor's degree in about four years of full-time study. They will study general education courses in the sciences and humanities during the first two years and their core courses in the second half of their degree program. Programs may offer internships within the course of study and a capstone project at the end.

Bachelor’s degree programs include courses in business organizations, business law, business plans, management, finance, marketing, and economics. Entrepreneurship concentrations consist of courses that equip graduates to start or run a business. Entrepreneurship studies include public relations, analytics, web technology, retail, and management.

Students should carefully select programs with institutional and business program accreditation. The best entrepreneurship schools in Massachusetts have widely accepted accreditation from organizations such as the below-listed agencies.

  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  • International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)
  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

A bachelor’s degree opens a wide range of career paths. The degree enables graduates to enter employment in business, government, or start their own businesses. A bachelor’s degree is the essential qualification for further graduate education.

Master's Degree in Entrepreneurship (MS or MC)

A master’s is the terminal entrepreneurship degree in Massachusetts. Students can complete the 30 to 45 credit hours requirements in one to two years of full-time study. A program may ask for a thesis, capstone project, or a period of internship to demonstrate subject matter proficiency. The degree provides in-depth understanding of one or more fields of business. Graduates will have knowledge and training for starting a business, running a business, or working within an organizational structure.

Students will study a core of entrepreneurial and business courses. Typical core coursework includes ethics, law, marketing, accounting, and finance. Specialist and elective offerings enable students to tailor their education align with their goals and interests. Programs can offer courses in sustainable business practices, non-profit entrepreneurship, global economics, and corporate entrepreneurship.

Schools may offer entrepreneurship concentrations in MBA programs or in master’s degrees in accounting, business administration, or business management. An MBA differs from a master’s degree in business or business management. MBA curricula works best for students with significant prior experience in one or more fields of business.

For any graduate program, students must pay attention to accreditation. Employers, government agencies, and educational institutions rely upon accreditation. Program accreditation foe business and entrepreneurship studies can make a difference in job and career prospects for graduates.

PhD Degree in Entrepreneurship (PhD)

This degree is typically titled a business management or business degree, under which students may choose an entrepreneurship concentration or focus. The course of study varies by program and typical program range between 45 to 50 hours of coursework. The core coursework involves advanced study in economics, business accounting, finance, marketing, and business management. Entrepreneurship is an evolving, multidisciplinary field.

Schools may also offer teaching assistantships for students in order to prepare them for roles as graduate educators. Requirements include research demonstration projects, subject matter examinations, and a dissertation. Students can complete the requirements in four to six years of study including defense of a doctoral dissertation.

Research is a key attribute of doctoral studies in entrepreneurship. The PhD/Doctorate level equips graduates for advanced research, policy or educational policy, leadership, and graduate educator roles. A PhD or doctorate degree is not a requirement for starting a business or entering the field in any way other than for those who wish to work as graduate faculty. The PhD is a preferred credential for college faculty positions.

Become an Entrepreneur in Massachusetts


The Massachusetts government offers a range of assistance to help an entrepreneurship graduate become an entrepreneur in Massachusetts. “Doing Business As” (DBAs) are simple forms of company registrations. The state requires more formal registration of corporations, Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs), and other complex business forms.

A new business generally requires a business license or registration. These nominal requirements essentially register a business and establish details such as trade names, business lines, and locations. Businesses must also register for business taxes with MassTaxConnect at the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.

The state requires specific licensing for regulated businesses and particularly those with impacts on public health and safety. The Massachusetts government uses certifications, exams, and licensing to protect the public and ensure that service providers have the necessary skill, knowledge, and business ethics. For example, an entrepreneur in engineers or a health services provider may have to gain certifications and professional licenses. Entrepreneurs that start or takeover existing companies must determine the Massachusetts licensing requirements for their undertakings.

The government uses four broad categories of Health Care Licenses, Building and Trades, Professional Training, and Environment-related firms. The Division of Occupational Licensure Boards of Registration oversees thirty-nine specific authorizing boards.

The Massachusetts government offers the Starting a New Business webpage to guide entrepreneurs and provide expert resources for issues and questions. Entrepreneurs can visit the one-stop service to register startups, get a DBA Certificate, and obtain any needed licenses and permits.

Massachusetts offers an array of resources, technical advice, and financial benefits to encourage and promote new businesses. Entrepreneurs should take advantage of state services and grants for businesses. The state offers specific types of assistance, such as grants, to promote exports and the economy as a whole.

In addition to state requirements, entrepreneurs must assess the applicability of federal regulations, federal laws, and local requirements. For example, OSHA requirements cover certain hazardous undertakings and local building codes any restrict the nature of businesses and locations.

Careers for Entrepreneurship Graduates


  • Business owners are the essential entrepreneur. They take on the risk and full responsibility of organizational goals and earning outcomes. Business owners operate businesses of a wide range of types and sizes. Some large businesses take on the character of a proprietary operation because of highly concentrated authority in one or a few individuals. Business ownership can occur in the form of direct control or control of the equity of an organization such as a majority stockholder.
  • Public relations managers are responsible for the public image of a business or organization. Public relations manager must understand the main audience and develop messaging to reach it. The role requires an entrepreneurial attitude for impacting the business world and creating positive branding. They must closely watch trends, news, and events and use them to create the best image for the organization.
  • Appraisers are trained and experienced professionals operating in a range of fields. They provide informed opinions of value and use market information, research, and professional judgment to determine and assign value or comparisons of value. They play the important role of providing a neutral and unbiased statement of value. Appraisers work in key fields in Massachusetts including art and real estate.
  • Social media managers use powerful platforms on the Internet and blockchains to promote the interests of an organization. Social media managers use advertising, news, and information channels to promote and protect an organization’s reputation, brand, image, and digital property. These managers cover similar areas as public relations professionals, but they focus on online platforms and digital content. The global reach of social media adds to the importance of social media for promoting the business or organization.
  • Management analysts help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their organization. With responsibility over all or part of an organization’s functions, the analyst must constantly assess performance and seek to eliminate inefficiency. In for-profit organizations, management analysts find ways to improve performance and increase profits. Analysts assess operations and solve operational problems. They also conduct studies and try to streamline processes, simplify procedures, and eliminate unnecessary steps.
  • Investment and acquisition professionals help guide the organization’s financial decisions to maximize the benefits of assets. Acquisitions might refer to buying, merging, or joining with other organizations, while investment can mean putting assets into an organization, project, or structure to acquire all or part of it. In essence, investments and acquisition increase value.
  • Business consultants provide expert assessments of an organization’s operations. They bring a wide range of knowledge and rich experience to perform critical assessments and analysis. Analysis can reveal areas of under-performance and needs for improvement and consultants can also perform studies that recommend business solutions. Business consultants focus on organizational functions like human resources, accounting, finance, and management. They can offer outside perspectives and fresh points of view in addition to specific areas of expertise and training.
  • Marketing/research analysts perform valuable research to help an organization sell its products or services. Marketing researchers can analyze public opinion, demographics, and indicators of consumer preferences. They look closely at consumer behavior in target audiences or groups to devise strategies to increase demand.

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