BRIDGE to China: CIC partners with CUBIC to create the China Business Hub

Over the last 20 years, CIC has hosted companies and government entities from numerous countries to inspire international collaboration. Today CIC is pleased to have launched its first floor dedicated to collaboration with a particular country: the China Hub in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Occupying the 12th floor of CIC’s newest building at 245 Main Street in Kendall Square, the China Hub is a specialized workplace designed to increase collaboration and growth for US companies seeking to expand to China and for teams from Chinese companies aiming to expand to the US. 

Anchoring the China Hub floor is Bridge12, a new initiative that facilitates cross-border collaboration between the US and China. Managed by CUBIC Inc. in partnership with CIC and Innobridge Boston, Bridge12 provides guidance to American startups and growth companies interested in bringing products and services to Chinese markets, as well as to Chinese companies seeking to expand and hire in the US. Industries of particular interest include life science, urban tech, new materials, and clean energy. 

“We’re thrilled to have launched the China Hub at 245 Main,” says CIC Founder and CEO Tim Rowe. “Our view is that China is playing an ever more important role in the world of technology, and it is critical for long-term Massachusetts competitiveness that we build strong connections to that part of the world.” 


China’s economy has grown exponentially in recent years: since 1999, the country’s GDP has exploded from $1.094 trillion to $5.11 trillion in 2009 and over $12 trillion today, making it the number two economy in the world after the US. 

Already a longtime CIC resident, CUBIC has long recognized foreign companies’ desire to expand into China and take advantage of the 1.4 billion population market, however their lack of understanding of the local Chinese market mechanics and culture. Properly, with its extensive Chinese roots, CUBIC has created a much needed service to provide as a local China guide for these companies and currently works with them in Boston and China to assess market entry strategies and identify potential local partners, clients, and or suppliers. One CUBIC client, a Harvard spinout that develops medical devices, worked with them to get connected with a top surgery device company in China, develop a team there with a local partner, and to navigate local government grant opportunities. Another client, a clean energy spinout from University of Tennessee’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, found its niche market through CUBIC’s China program, successfully raised funds, and went on to join the Thiel Foundation’s Breakout Labs. 

Now with the new Bridge12 partnership, CUBIC believes they will be able to recruit more China-US enterprises to Kendall Square and increase the volume and scope of programming. An array of community programming has already been planned that functions both to advise and educate, as well as to help participants meet each other and potentially even work together — office hours, seminars, workshops, panels, pitch events, and monthly afternoon tea seminars featuring leadership from various corporations, each focused on a different topic or industry. 

CIC houses several international soft landing programs and consultancies that help companies navigate new markets outside of their home countries. Among these is the CIC Japan Desk, which connects Boston’s and Japan’s innovation ecosystems. Thirty Japanese innovation companies now operate offices within CIC’s Boston and Cambridge campuses. However, the newly-opened China Hub is the first international business initiative in which participants specifically take residence side by side within CIC workspaces. 

The power of proximity is a cornerstone of CIC’s mission to improve the world through innovation. When companies with shared interests or common values work alongside each other, they inevitably forge relationships, exchange knowledge, and build trust. This results in increased collaboration and faster innovation output

“China has undergone incredible change, and we anticipate the coming years will bring even more change. China today has become an industrial powerhouse and is moving from a manufacturing focus to an innovation focus,” says Rowe. “It is important for both the US and China to capitalize on each other’s innovation capabilities as we jointly seek to address the problems facing the world. We’re optimistic that these efforts will deepen the possibilities between our two countries.” 


Want to assess your company’s market readiness in China? 

Apply to BRIDGE12’s Shanghai Week, a five-day program for startups and growth companies looking to expand into Chinese markets.

Photos by Benjamin Cheung

Wellable's Sustainability Challenge: How CICers build wellness into work culture

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How do we build a world that aligns with our core values? 

What can we contribute to sustain a planet we want to live on? 

When does one person’s contribution impact a whole community?

Meet Marina Borisova, COO of CIC resident company Dialogos and a self-ascribed lifetime learner, always open to new ideas. While taking a leadership seminar, Marina was asked to design a community-based project that aligned with her core values. Marina decided to investigate the impact plastic usage has on the environment. She didn’t realize that she would inspire her whole workplace community to learn more about the 5 Rs of sustainability: reduce, refuse, reuse, recycle, and remove, and that by sharing her vision, she could inspire others to take action in their own lives.

Marina and Shakti Rowan Lena of the CIC Wellness team partnered with Wellable, a startup based out of CIC partner space Impact Hub Boston that helps organizations build wellness into their work cultures. In turn, the Wellable team created a pilot, four-week sustainability challenge. Combining fitness aspect with an educational component, the challenge brought all of the CIC global locations together in a healthy competition.

With over 200 active participations, the CIC community traveled 32,974 miles over four weeks. This is the equivalent of making more than one full walking trip across the circumference of the earth or walking across the United States 11 times. CIC also completed 4,677 sustainability activities through the Wellable app. 

Here’s what a few participants had to say about their experience:

“I am very competitive as a sport amateur, and this challenge has given me extra satisfaction while competing with my colleagues and clients. My monthly average of steps jumped from 14,503 to 16,423 per day!” 

“I was surprised by how motivated I was to complete the sustainability activities and hit my step goal on a daily basis.”

“Once I realized how many points I would get for running, I decided to run every morning. Before the challenge, if I didn't wake up early enough to do a long run, I'd just sleep in. The challenge motivated me to run anyway, whether it was one mile or six miles.” 

In a survey, 60 percent of participants said the program helped them feel more connected to the CIC community. Meanwhile, 57 percent of participants reported that they will continue to use technology to track their activity, and 80 percent of participants reported being motivated to increase their physical activity and live a healthier lifestyle.

Inspired by Marina’s vision, the sustainability challenge was Wellable’s first sustainability-focused program, and since it has been made available as one of their themed challenges, CIC along with other Wellable clients have chosen to take advantage of this unique and educational offering. The challenge created an opportunity for people to work with their individual CIC community, stay physically active, and engage in daily lifestyle choices that support personal and global ecological balance. 

Interested in experiencing a workplace that incorporates wellness into your day-to-day? Click below to come see the space for yourself.

Take a tour!

Happy Pride from CIC #Stonewall50

CIC strives to create an environment where everyone is welcome. We owe our success to the diverse group of employees and community members who make the space what it is. In honor of pride month, we asked some of our queer team members about their experience in the workplace and their thoughts on Stonewall’s 50th anniversary. We’re proud to share their responses.

What does CIC do to create a culture of inclusion?

Skylar Kergil (he/him):

As a transgender person, I am grateful for our gender inclusive bathrooms, gender inclusive wording for rooms like the Nursing room, and overall, how CIC embraces terms like "partner" which helps foster acceptance rather than assumptions. I recall asking my boss for permission to wear my "This is what Trans looks like" shirt on transgender day of visibility ... and her reply being "Absolutely! At CIC, that shouldn't even have to be a question."

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Leona Dougherty (she/her):

CIC has been the most queer friendly environment I've had the pleasure to work in. As a trans person who has mostly worked in environments that were unequipped at best and outright hostile at worst, CIC has noticeable policy in place to give the appearance of trans friendliness, and makes efforts to provide substantive space-improvements to its trans clients, which gives me comfort as a trans employee. 

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Jason Connell (he/him):

As the organization keeps growing, I value the fact that CIC not only allows, but sees value and worth in me being my true self. Part of our jobs as community team members is to help add to, or even create the workplace culture for the companies that call CIC home, and it feels good to have that influence. I've gotten positive feedback from companies in the space about the inclusion of preferred pronouns in our email signatures, absence of dress code, gender inclusive restroom signage, and more, and have even seen some of them incorporate that into their workplace norms. We have the power to model an inclusive workplace for our clients, so it's encouraging to see us always striving to improve.


ALexa Benson (she/her):

The work we do at CIC creates really strong relationships between coworkers, and I feel totally at ease here. This is the first workplace where I've been comfortable enough to be open about being queer.

What does Stonewall mean to you?


Stonewall helped kick off the expansion of LGBTQ+ rights in a completely unprecedented way. Led mainly by drag queens and transgender women of color, the Stonewall riot defined the future of LGBTQ+ pride. Understanding the history of Stonewall is important, as transgender women of color continue to be murdered at some of the highest rates in this country and worldwide. When I think of Stonewall, I appreciate the many brave LGBTQ+ folks who spoke up, stood up, and helped us get us to where we are now - and I feel empowered to continue the fight for inclusivity worldwide.


The stonewall riots occurred because queer people were effectively criminalized to the fringes of society, and had to resort to mafia-run bars in order to congregate. 50 years later - and 30 years since the Reagan administration’s complicity in the deaths of gay people during the AIDS crisis - we as queer people are surrounded by rainbow branding once a year. Meanwhile less than half of the states in the United States have discrimination protections for LGBT people. In the UK, transgender hate crimes have increased by 81% over last year. Brazil continues to be one of the most dangerous places for LGBT people, with hundreds of people killed each year. And back to the US, nearly half of queer people who come into contact with the police experience harassment and misconduct. 

So for what strides have been made since Stonewall, movements and governments around the world continue to be hostile toward queer people. Pride is commonly seen as a celebration, and for many it is - it's an opportunity for gays to take a day off work or school, hang out and drink, wear cute outfits, and be their biggest selves - but the importance of pride is a demonstration of queer culture in public. It is meaningful expressly because queer people still face violence and oppression.


To me, Stonewall represents the power that we have in community. It took a concentration of marginalized queer folks of color to feel strong enough to do what was necessary and fight back. As queer people, we often have to build a chosen family of people we know will support us and fight for us, in good times and bad.


I was in Florence, Italy when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in Obergefelle v. Hodges. From my window I could hear the American students at the bar down the street celebrating. Someone lit fireworks left over from Florence's Saint Day. I felt overwhelmed -- with sadness, being so far from home at such a special moment; with relief, to be free from one of the remaining legal discriminations against my community. Four years almost to the day from then, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the protests at the Stonewall Inn. 

The Stonewall Inn welcomed the members of the LGBTQ+ community who were least able to conform to straight norms -- trans people, gender non-conforming people, drag queens -- and was frequently raided by police. On June 28, 1969, one of these raids started a revolution in the LGBTQ+ community.

This Stonewall anniversary reminds me that our community is not a monolith -- it is inclusive of a broad range of genders, sexualities, and identities, which can't be distilled into one voice. We are a community but not a singularity. There is infinite diversity among us and I am proud to see new voices gaining strength.

CIC Philadelphia Celebrates Black History Month

A strong innovation economy cannot thrive without diversity.

Towards our mission to support entrepreneurs in fixing the world, CIC’s goal is to continually work towards equity in entrepreneurship by uplifting all of our members, our communities, and providing access to key resources and opportunities. 

In this spirit, CIC Philadelphia hosted a Black History Month celebration on February 27, 2019. Spoken word performances were accompanied by bites from Eatible Delights and Lokal Artisan Foods and booths featuring local businesses and art vendors from within the CIC community and beyond, including The Enterprise Center, Coded by Kids, Akwaaba, The Sex Exchange, Open Access Philly, and Higher Than 7.

“We believe in building strong community partnerships with local businesses, vendors, and creatives,” says Sally Guzik, Senior Community Engagement Lead at CIC Philadelphia. “Art is a powerful connector to our communities, and we are thankful to the Higher Than 7 team for sharing their talents and creativity with us.”

Located at 3675 Market Street, CIC Philadelphia is proud to call West Philadelphia home.

Featured local performers included:

Eli & Lu Bevins - The twins are a performing duo who won First Place in the CMF Hollywood Elfenworks Social Justice Film category in 2014 for their spoken word short, "Systematic Living.” They star in the phenomenal stage play Broken Tables and will be releasing a cinematic spoken word mixtape, Sound Mind, in Spring 2019.

Pastor Jul - From 2014 to 2016, Pastor Jul was part of the IUP Artistry Movement (I AM) at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In 2018, partook in the Steel City Grand Slam and placed fourth, earning him a spot on the Pittsburgh national slam team. He also starred in the phenomenal stage play Broken Tables.

Maverick The Poet - Hailing from North Philadelphia, Maverick The Poet is a poet, artist, and visual artist who delivers mind-bending, thought-provoking truth in his words and art. The winner of the Poetry vs. Hip Hop Show, Maverick’s poetry is inspired by his art design, and pain. His art work is a mixture of graffiti, realism, and bright colors.