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U.S. Ambassador Allan J. Katz visits MIT

Ambassador to Portugal led a Business Development Road Show that included a stop at the MIT Media Lab.
The United States continues to work closely with Portugal to find ways to expand and deepen two-way trade and investment to better reflect historically strong political, geostrategic and security ties between the two countries. Portugal’s continued drive to modernize and diversify its economy will offer possibilities for growth in U.S. trade and investment over the medium and long term. Demand for high-quality, price-competitive U.S. products in Portugal is strong, and privatization of several large government-owned companies will provide additional opportunities for investment.

With the intent to encourage investment and bilateral trade between the United States and Portugal, with particular focus in the Azores, U.S. Ambassador to Portugal Allan J. Katz led a Business Development Road Show. The MIT Portugal Program participated as a partner in this six-day event (April 28-May 3, 2013) bringing 24 Portuguese companies and institutions to Boston, Mass., and Kansas City, Miss.

While in Boston on May 1, the ambassador and the companies visited the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), the largest flexible office facility for growing technology and life sciences companies in the Greater Boston area. More than 450 companies are currently located at the CIC.

This was followed by a meeting with the Mass Technology Leadership Council and the Mass High Technology Council. The Mass Technology Leadership Council is the region’s leading technology association and the premier network for tech executives, entrepreneurs, investors and policy leaders. The Mass High Technology Council is an advocate for competitive public policies and practices to sustain Massachusetts as a globally preeminent economy in which to live and work, and to create, operate and expand high tech businesses.

Visitors toured the MIT Media Lab, an interdisciplinary research laboratory. MIT Media Lab staff and students have backgrounds ranging from electrical engineering and computer science to sociology and music and others. Recently, the Media Lab has focused particularly on design and technologies that address social causes.

Later, MIT Portugal Program Director Professor Dava Newman welcomed the ambassador and the companies. The convoy had lunch with MIT Portugal Program staff and students, including those involved in the eTeams III. The eTeams III is a 2-week intense “contact-sport” curriculum designed for non-U.S. start-up companies to be exposed to, make lasting links within and gain practical entrepreneurial skills useful for the start-up culture of the MIT/Kendall Square ecosystem. This program exemplifies how the MIT Portugal Program harnesses the Institute’s ever-present entrepreneurial and innovative spirit.

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