Profile: John Harthorne ’95 (Bowdoin Magazine)

John Harthorne ’95 (Illustration: Chelee Ross ’12)

This profile originally appeared in the Summer 2011 issue of Bowdoin magazine.

Hometown: Wayland, Mass.

Bowdoin major: German (with a minor in Chemistry)

Title: Founder & CEO, MassChallenge Inc.

Website: www.masschallenge.org

Greatest influence: The people I met at MIT when getting my MBA from the Sloan School of Management. A lot of the other students were working on addressing major global challenges”¦and they were making tangible progress toward solving them. That exposure to big thinkers and big doers changed my perspective on what is possible.

Most rewarding part of my job: Working with passionate entrepreneurs. At MassChallenge, we help entrepreneurs win. We identify the world’s highest-potential startups and we help connect them with the resources they need to launch and succeed immediately.

Greatest accomplishment: Building MassChallenge up so rapidly has been very challenging, and is my proudest accomplishment to date. We are helping to catalyze a renaissance in the American economy, and I am very proud of that.

The key to creating jobs in Massachusetts: Startups are the only way to create jobs. The Kauffman Foundation released a report in July of 2009 demonstrating this pretty clearly. In an average year, the startup category produced roughly 3 million net new jobs while the established businesses destroyed about 2 million. We need to innovate to create and serve new markets.
I can’t live without: Oxygen, water, beer, Red Sox baseball”¦my family members are pretty important too.

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