Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been home to many inventions and well-known graduates, but the school is now making a push to foster entrepreneurship and become the leader when it comes to innovation.
“The facts are that until quite recently MIT didn’t do anything explicit to promote innovation other than the research and education part. The graduates who have been in the entrepreneurial world think MIT can do an even better job by being deliberate about entrepreneurship and not being derivative,” shares Ray Stata, MIT alumnus and co-founder of the computer chip manufacturer Analog Devices.
Rafael Reif, the new president of MIT, explains, “The Initiative will actively celebrate, support and intensify MIT’s culture of making, our faith in the creative power of mind and hand. To society’s boldest makers, we say: ‘If you want to change the world, make yourself at home at MIT.’”
A boot camp focusing on making start-up ideas come to life, called Start6, is already being offered to engineering students for academic credit. The students have the opportunity to discuss various topics with experienced entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to help prepare them to start their own businesses. MIT is also looking at other ways to create this culture, such as an innovation and entrepreneurship minor for undergrads, funding student businesses, and building creative spaces around campus where students and professors can brainstorm together.
An estimated 3 million people are employed by the 26,000 businesses that have already been created by MIT alumni, a study by the nonprofit Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has found, but they want to see that number grow. As Stata says, “More students from MIT will become entrepreneurs. For our country, and society, that will be good. And a lot of those will hang around Boston like I did and help the economy.”