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Mayor Walsh urges entrepreneurial thinking

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said on Saturday that he wants to bolster interaction with the city’s young residents through social media; foster new ideas, such as introducing later night life; and bring fresh faces into the city’s administration.

“It’s important to move government along,” Walsh told a crowd of more than 50 young people in the Roxbury Community Center’s track center. “One thing that sets us back collaboration-wise is not having everyone on the same page, in the same mind-set.”

Walsh was one of five panelists at Talk Back Boston, a forum organized by a group of friends in their 20s that focuses on entrepreneurship in the local creative industry. Other speakers included Michael Monestime, from the Institute of Contemporary Art; Dan Natola, founder of the Bodega sneaker and clothing shop ; Matt McArthur, founder of the nonprofit recording studio The Record Co.; and Eileen Riestra, chief executive of DYAStudio design firm.

Walsh told the group he wanted to encourage startups and to shake up how the public sector hires employees, moving away from an old model favoring people familiar to officials.


“My vision is to have young people work for the city and work their way up, and to use it as an opportunity to take that experience elsewhere and be successful,” he said. “That could bring a lot of value to a new business.”

Other panelists said starting their own business in Boston was rewarding but also tumultuous and unsure, citing funding issues and a massive population of college students who come and go as semesters end.

“It’s a big risk when you work for yourself,” Riestra said. “You have a lot of responsibility. People are going to follow you, and listen to you. You have to act accordingly.”

But Walsh and other panelists still encouraged Boston’s youth to view entrepreneurship positively, citing Boston as a booming hub of innovation.


“It’s OK to fail,” Walsh said. “Follow your dream. If I didn’t follow my dream, I wouldn’t be the mayor of Boston.”

Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com.