Babson College Global Entrepreneur in Residence (GEIR) Program
Accelerate your venture in Boston and qualify for a cap-exempt H-1B visa through the Babson College Global Entrepreneur in Residence program!
Babson College is
the first private college to offer a Global Entrepreneur in Residence program, enabling international entrepreneurs to qualify for an H-1B visa* through an
innovative program driven by Babson’s unique vision to harness the global power of entrepreneurship. The pilot program kicks off in September 2016 and is open to recent graduates of all Massachusetts colleges and universities who have companies “well underway” and are planning to seek an H-1B visa, including entrepreneurs who are currently on their Optional Practical Training (OPT) or recently completed OPT.
Babson is now accepting applications and plans to invite up to 10 international entrepreneurs to participate in the pilot program. Key features of the program include:
- Babson College GEIRs in good standing can qualify for cap-exempt H-1B visa.
- Access to premier co-working space at Babson’s downtown Boston campus at 100 High Street
- Babson College’s GEIR program is connected to Babson through The Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship, Babson’s hub for startups. Via the Blank Center , the GEIRs can access resources to help accelerate their business and assist in reaching the major milestones to qualify for H-1B status.
- Access to an exclusive network of the best and brightest international entrepreneurs
The Babson College Global Entrepreneur in Residence program requires a commitment of 8-10 hours per week (unpaid) mentoring Babson students and alumni, and supporting various academic and research initiatives.
What is GEIR?
Each year, more than 1,000 entrepreneurs leave the Commonwealth of Massachusetts due to the cap on U.S. H-1B visas (nonimmigrant visas that allow U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields). Annually, there are only 85,000 H-1B visas available for some 233,000 requests.
The Babson GEIR builds off the framework established by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2014 with the enactment of a program to facilitate collaborations between global entrepreneurs and institutions within the University of Massachusetts system. Successful pilot programs ensued at UMass Boston and UMass Lowell with nine visas issued to entrepreneurs who created 134 jobs and raised $47.6 million in funding for these ventures.
Who should apply for this program?
- Those who are well underway in setting up a business in the U.S.
- Those currently in F-1 status who want to obtain H-1B status to work for their company in the U.S.
- Those with sufficient proof of funding to show that they can pay the prevailing wage when sponsoring themselves for H-1B worker status
- Those who are currently on OPT/starting OPT and have a startup that can reasonably be expected to qualify as “well underway” by the time their OPT expires
- Graduates from any Massachusetts college or university
What does it mean to be “well underway” in setting up a business in the U.S.?
In order to be eligible for the BGEIR program (and to file an H-1B petition), your business must be “well underway”. There are a number of factors we (and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)) would consider when determining whether your business is “well underway”. Such factors include the following:
- Your business would have a separate Board of Directors which has the ability to hire, fire, pay, supervise or otherwise control your employment.
- The business would have to be ready to generate enough professional work for you to do on a part-time or full-time basis. The argument has to be available that there is enough work that requires at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. You cannot perform mostly the ministerial functions of setting-up a business. The business needs to be at the point where the professional work is being done. For instance, you are CEO and overseeing the functions of the business (sales, services, billing, etc).
- To demonstrate that your business has sufficient professional work, you should have copies of signed contracts, work orders, and/or term sheets. You will also be able to show sufficient funds for your business (for example, bank statements showing startup funding, wire transfers and/or tax returns).
- Your business would have the ability to pay you at least the prevailing wage. Visit the
Foreign Labor Certification Data Center Online Wage Library for prevailing wage data.
- Your business would have been legally formed, and have the appropriate corporate documents (including articles of incorporation, etc.) and proof of an IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN).
- Your business would have any/all required Business Licenses.
- It is helpful to have an organizational chart and business plan regarding the business, with a list of positions the business is planning to fill.
- It is helpful to have marketing materials, brochures and other documentation of the services to be performed/products to be distributed by your business.
What would sufficient proof of funding be for the prevailing wage?
You should be able to document how you will be paid. A bank statement showing funds in the bank, signed contracts for work, or other similar proof, will be required. H-1B petitions are required to attest that the prevailing wage will be paid to the H-1B worker. The prevailing wage for an entry-level CEO position in the Boston area is $57.30 per hour. The prevailing wage for a marketing manager is $40.13 per hour. The prevailing wage for a market research analyst is $19.67 per hour. There are other categories to consider depending on the role you serve at your company and prevailing wages are adjusted once a year by the DOL so the figures above are subject to change. You can file for part-time work.
What does the program encourage?
- The program will allow your company to be co-located “at” Babson’s campus in Boston and be allowed to file a cap-exempt H-1B petition with the USCIS. This means that you will not be subject to the H-1B cap lottery. The petitioning company, not Babson, is responsible for paying filing fees and attorney fees.
- Babson College GEIRs pay monthly program participation fees, which include access to co-working space at Babson’s Boston campus at 100 High Street, newly completed, Class A real estate in the heart of downtown Boston. Additionally, GEIRs get access to the concierge floor of the building Babson is located in which has meeting space, conference rooms, lounge space, and a roof deck.
- Program participation rates are impacted by the number of workspaces required by your company and your affiliation with Babson.
Babson, F.W. Olin College of Engineering, and Wellesley College alumni will be offered a discounted rate.
- The program also encourages your involvement as a volunteer mentor and your support for Babson academic and research initiatives. See below for more information on the BCGEIR role. The role you play will be in furtherance of Babson’s mission to educate entrepreneurial leaders who create great economic and social value everywhere.
What other fees should I expect related to my H-1B?
You will be required to pay USCIS fees as well as attorney’s fees. The USCIS fees for an H-1B petition for a small employer are $1,575. Using premium processing costs another $1,225 which is usually encouraged/needed because of lengthy USCIS processing times. Attorney’s fees can vary.
What does it mean to be a volunteer mentor in the program?
Specific volunteer program activities expected/encouraged as part of the BCGEIR program in furtherance of Babson’s mission:
- Provide mentoring and guidance to students and alumni who are working on starting businesses or developing entrepreneurial projects.
- Serve as an ambassador to make connections between the campus and community members in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Boston.
- Meet with students and alumni to support their strategy and tactics for building their businesses and/or help connect them with the appropriate resources on campus or in the community.
- Become involved with organizations on campus and in the community to identify, create, and deliver content-specific workshops and events.
- Involve Babson students in volunteer activities regarding your startup so that they may gain relevant experience.
- Participate in academic and research initiatives as appropriate (e.g., cooperate with Babson faculty seeking to create academic materials such as business cases).
*United States Citizenship and Immigration Services makes all final determinations regarding visa eligibility.