General Electric recently announced that it is moving its global headquarters to Boston. GE will be the largest publicly traded company with its headquarters in Massachusetts, becoming a valuable addition to the growing tech industry in the city. Boston was one of many cities bidding on becoming GE’s new home, and, along with the state, could give GE up to $150 million in incentives through grants and tax relief.
The financial incentives were one of the key factors in persuading the company to move to Boston, but sources have said that both New York and Georgia offered more money than the city or state governments, according to The Boston Globe. Boston also had an edge due to its large and expanding tech sector, which includes many startups, as well as being home to some of the best universities in the country.
The industrial conglomerate was formerly based out of Fairfield, Conn., and was motivated to relocate by the state’s decision to raise corporate taxes. As CEO Jeffrey Immelt said in a press release, General Electric was looking “to relocate corporate HQ to another state with a more pro-business environment.”
There were many factors that led the company to return to the city it was founded in, but it was Boston’s identity as an innovative ecosystem, one with a vibrant startup sector, that tipped the scales in GE’s decision, said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, WCAS ‘09, in his State of the City address. Being home to 55 colleges and universities, the Greater Boston area is home to many of the country’s brightest and most-innovative individuals.
“Boston attracts a diverse, technologically-fluent workforce focused on solving challenges for the world,” Immelt said in a press release. Along with millions in financial incentives, GE is relocating to an area where it will be surrounded by students as potential employees and businesses that are innovating new technologies that will directly affect the company.
Hosting such a high-tech industrial powerhouse does more than give Boston an economic lift—it highlights Boston’s growth as a hub for innovation that continues to show growth, as city statistics show.
“General Electric’s choice to move to Boston is the result of the city’s willingness and excitement to work creatively and collaboratively to bring positive activity to our local economy and continue to grow our industries,” Walsh said in his official statement concerning the relocation. “GE is not only a historic innovator.It’s a magnet for talent and investment that we’ll direct toward our shared goals: in opportunity, in community, in education.”
GE has already been very present in the Boston economy, with over 5,000 of its own employees in the Greater Boston Area working on aviation, oil and gas, and energy management. They are also involved in seven Boston-area companies made through GE Ventures. Now that its headquarters is in Boston the company will likely be even more active, said Immelt in a press release, in the startup community through Ventures and a new branch called the GE Digital Foundry, which was created with the purposes of “co-creation, incubation and product development with customers, startups and partners.”
The move should also signal to other industry leaders that they can look to Boston as a business-friendly city, which could mean that other industry leaders will consider Boston as a potential home in the future.
In his State of the City Address on Tuesday night, Walsh was excited about the prospect of welcoming back the company to its origins, citing the cultural advantages of the city rather than a purely financial one as a contributing factor in the decision.
Featured Image by Associated Press