Billionaire invests in Massachusetts tech center

The University of Massachusetts-Lowell will construct the new Merrimack Valley Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship thanks to a $5 million donation from Andover, Massachusetts, billionaire Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande.

Desphande, the chairman of A123 Systems and the founder of Sycamore Networks, offered the capital to increase technological leadership, provide education opportunities for entrepreneurs and offer grant support to local organizations, the Andover Eagle-Tribune reports.

The new center will assist local area community colleges, including Merrimack, Middlesex, Northern Essex, the Teach for America program and other local nonprofit organizations, according to the paper.

The new center will serve, “to grow the next generation of entrepreneurs and agents for social change in the Merrimack Valley,” the UMass-Lowell media guide details. More than 200 leaders in business, education, government and nonprofits congregated on the Lowell campus to discuss the funds and the future for the programs.

Additionally, the center will help broaden the existing high-tech corridor that exists along Interstate 95 and Interstate 93. The commonwealth is home to hundreds of technology-based companies, a significant piece of the local economy.

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Melissa Clark

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