The three-week course Start6 pairs engineering students with mentors (like McKinsey & Co's Delphine Zurkiya, far right) who teach them what’s needed to launch a successful startup. Photo: Patsy Sampson/EECS
The three-week course Start6 pairs engineering students with mentors (like McKinsey & Co’s Delphine Zurkiya, far right) who teach them what’s needed to launch a successful startup. Photo: Patsy Sampson/EECS

MIT has a long record as an innovation-centric community, armed with the tools, spaces, culture, and values that promote problem solving—and that enable the formal and informal social connections so critical to innovation, from our classrooms to our residence halls.

See an illustration in the Spring 2015 isssue of Spectrum: “Innovation Resources Abound at MIT”

Classes

There are more than 50 innovation and entrepreneurship classes across all five schools at MIT.

More than 3,000 students—out of 11,000—take an innovation or entrepreneurship class each year. Programs and classes include:

  • Start6 is a two-and-a-half week Electrical Engineering and Computer Science workshop for entrepreneurs and innovators that teaches students how to launch and run a successful start-up.
  • Entrepreneurship Lab (E-Lab) is a course for student teams to apply academic knowledge to real-world problems faced by start-up entrepreneurs.
  • Innovation Teams (I-Teams) brings together student teams from MIT Sloan, MIT School of Engineering, and beyond to assess the commercial feasibility of novel MIT technologies.
  • Innovation@ONE is an entrepreneurship boot camp and pitch breakfast in Civil and Environmental Engineering that brings teams of students and postdocs to present business ideas to a panel of successful entrepreneurs.
  • Health Sciences and Technology Maker Lab aims to teach affordable prototyping and design strategies for health technology and medicine that can be applied to improve patient care in both low and high-income economies, at patients’ homes and in hospitals.
  • Global Entrepreneurship Lab (G-Lab), an internship course at MIT Sloan, links MBA students with entrepreneurs in more than 20 countries to share their talents.
  • New Enterprises is a course covering the process of identifying and quantifying market opportunities, then conceptualizing, planning, and starting a new, technology-based enterprise.

Competitions and Hackathons

  • The MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition attracts more than 1,000 students and more than 250 teams each year and challenges them to turn their energy and ideas into leading firms.
  • The MIT IDEAS Global Challenge is a program of the MIT Public Service Center, an annual competition for innovative service projects affecting underserved communities.
  • MADMEC is an annual competition in Materials Science and Engineering, where students develop and build prototypes to provide solutions for energy storage, building efficiency, transportation, and other critical need areas.
  • The MIT Clean Energy Prize, sponsored by Eversource and the US Department of Energy, is a student-run business-plan competition aimed at meeting the world’s energy challenges.
  • The Lemelson-MIT National Collegiate Student Prize honors undergraduate and graduate students for great inventions.
  • Hacking Medicine connects the best minds across MIT and the health ecosystem to solve health care challenges around the world.
  • At HackMIT, hundreds of undergraduates from around the world converge at MIT to create, innovate, and build software and hardware projects over 24 hours.

Student Organizations and Clubs

More than 40 clubs are committed to innovation and entrepreneurship, including:

Mentorship Opportunities

Centers, Labs, and Organizations

Maker Spaces

  • Beaver Works is a joint center between MIT Lincoln Laboratory and MIT School of Engineering where innovation and project-based learning come together.
  • The Edgerton Center supports engineering competitions, engages students in service projects in developing countries, and offers hands-on classes and workshop space.
  • The Hobby Shop is part of MIT’s culture of innovation and hands-on making, a place to build, invent, prototype, or launch a start-up.
  • MIT.nano will support making and prototyping, as well as facilitate outreach to innovation communities beyond MIT, joining more than 2,000 MIT researchers and external collaborators.
  • Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL) is an interdepartmental laboratory that supports research and education in micro- and nano- systems, devices, and materials.

Programs

  • Translational Fellows Program is a competitive, nomination-based, year-long postdoc program based in the Research Laboratory for Electronics that funds fellows one day a week, giving them a chance to pursue commercialization of a technology that originated in MIT research.
  • The MIT IMPACT Program advances the ability of postdoctoral researchers to identify, create, and shape career opportunities in academia, industry, and entrepreneurship.
  • MISTI provides students with internship opportunities—many with an innovation and entrepreneurship focus—in countries around the world. The new innovation diplomacy program supports their engagement with the innovation ecosystem in the countries they visit.
  • The Undergraduate Professional Opportunities Program (UPOP) attracts 50% of MIT sophomores to pursue experience in industry during the summer and/or academic year. Many opportunities link students to start-ups and innovation projects in established businesses.
  • The Gordon Engineering Leadership Program is a two-year program that develops the character and initiative of more than 20% of engineering undergraduates.
  • The Global Founders’ Skills Accelerator is a competitive, structured summer program that gives student teams the resources and education they need to make significant progress on a start-up.

Global Activities

  • The Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP) is a global initiative linking MIT to regions around the world for a two-year program, which enables them to accelerate economic growth and job creation through innovation-driven entrepreneurship.
  • MIT Global Start-Up Workshop is a student run program that organizes a conference each year in a different country to share insights on how to build strong, student-driven entrepreneurial communities.
  • The Enterprise Forum is a global 25-chapter network, inspired by MIT and led by Technology Review, to accelerate the creation and growth of world-class technology companies.
  • G-Lab, D-Lab, and MISTI are among MIT’s many courses and programs that enable students to engage with innovation-driven activities around the world.

Moving Ideas to Market

  • Twenty percent of incoming students expect to launch a company or nonprofit during their undergraduate years.
  • More than 100 start-ups are founded by current MIT students each year.
  • MIT faculty launch companies, too. More than 300 patents submitted by faculty were issued for MIT technologies in 2013. About 20 of these are licensed to start-ups each year.
  • The MIT Technology Licensing Office offers MIT students and faculty advice on licensing their technologies and executes invention disclosures and patents across campus.

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