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New funding for Boston World Partnerships, non-profit that promotes doing business in Boston

Posted by Scott Kirsner  July 26, 2010 08:34 AM

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Blending old-fashioned boosterism with newfangled social networking, the non-profit Boston World Partnerships is announcing a new infusion of funding this morning — and touting the success of its seventeen month-old “Connector” program. The organization, headed by Dave McLaughlin, has been busy building a network of businesspeople who can help one another’s companies and try to spread the Boston gospel to the rest of the world. It’s a digital twist on economic development, and McLaughlin is a former marketing director at the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the city’s planning and economic development agency.

Boston World Partnerships claims to have generated 362 new jobs in the city — most of them as a result, McLaughlin says, of encouraging one company, Retail Convergence Inc. (which operates the shopping site, to stay in Boston rather than relocate. That company has since added about 200 jobs and continues to hire, he says. According to McLaughlin, the tip that Retail Convergence was outgrowing its space in Downtown Crossing and was considering leaving the city came from one of the members of its Connector network.

The group’s start-up phase was funded by a $1 million grant from the Boston Redevelopment Authority and $400,000 from Procter & Gamble. At an event being held this morning at the offices of Mullen Advertising, McLaughlin will announce that he has secured about $170,000 in new funding — the bulk of it from a foundation run by State Street Corp. The sum isn’t enough to cover the organization’s budget for a full year, McLaughlin says, but it is “a meaningful extension of our runway.” Mayor Thomas Menino, State Street CEO Ronald Logue, and Gregory Bialecki, the state’s secretary of housing and economic development, are expected to attend. Menino serves as chairman of the board of Boston World Partnerships, and the group will also announce today that Robert Reynolds, CEO of Putnam Investments, is joining its board.

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About Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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