Brandeis International Business School

Thinking beyond the next quarter

Asper Award winner Deval L. Patrick reflects on the future of capitalism, expanding access for diverse entrepreneurs

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval L. Patrick accepted the Asper Award for Global Entrepreneurship. Len Asper ’86 presented the award to him in a virtual ceremony.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval L. Patrick accepted the Asper Award for Global Entrepreneurship. Len Asper ’86 presented the award to him in a virtual ceremony.

Former Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick believes “short-termism” is threatening our economy, our politics and potentially our prosperity.

It's a conclusion that has long informed Patrick's leadership style as an attorney, business executive and public servant.

On April 22, Patrick reflected on the future of capitalism after receiving the 2021 Asper Award for Global Entrepreneurship. The ceremony was sponsored by the office of Brandeis University President Ron Liebowitz, who recognized Patrick for spearheading innovations in health care, clean energy, biotechnology and international trade while serving as governor of Massachusetts from 2007 to 2015.

“When you take account of the emphasis on short-term gains or ‘wins,’ both in our economy and in the way we govern ourselves, you begin to understand why economic mobility has stalled out, why until recently many have been barely conscious of the impact of climate change, why some of our business practices — from supply chain to hiring — have been so self-limiting,” Patrick said during a virtual conversation with Prof. Lisa Lynch. “I think all of it has to change, and as it does we save capitalism.”

Patrick said he is very hopeful about Generation Z, calling them “the generation I’ve been waiting for” to drive lasting change.

“They are very aware of the choices they make and what the impact of those choices have on the planet and other people,” he said.

Patrick previously chaired the advisory board of Our Generation Speaks (OGS), an incubator and fellowship program he co-founded with Brandeis International Business School graduate Ohad Elhelo ’16, MA’17. Patrick said the work of OGS continues to make a positive impact by connecting Israeli and Palestinian entrepreneurs.

“Those relationships will pay dividends for a long time,” said Patrick. “And the more relationships there are, the more opportunity there will be for understanding and prosperity. And those two things together can help build a bridge to a more hopeful future — one fellow at a time, two fellows at a time.”

After serving two terms as Massachusetts governor, Patrick joined Bain Capital to launch an impact investing fund. He said backing entrepreneurs from often-overlooked communities is an increasingly important aspect of impact investing.

“I love the idea of having incubators, for example, not just in Kendall Square or out in Silicon Valley, but in Roxbury and East Palo Alto and the South Side of Chicago,” said Patrick. “There is entrepreneurial activity there, and there is entrepreneurial history. But the idea of having coaching and exposure and capital and partnerships with folks that are outside the neighborhood is still relatively rare, but coming on strong.”

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