The Entrepreneurship Ecosystem at MIT supports the creation of innovative technologies and provides the resources to bring them to the marketplace. The ecosystem is comprised of six individual programs and centers – including the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship – that can assist students at each entrepreneurial stage:
Entrepreneurs are supported by the Deshpande Center by moving technology from the labs at MIT to the marketplace. Since 2002, the Deshpande Center has funded more than 80 projects with over $9 million in grants. 18 Projects have spun out of the center into commercial ventures, amounting over $140 million raised in outside financing. The Deshpande Center supports a wide range of emerging technologies including biotechnology, biomedical devices, information technology, new materials, tiny tech, and energy innovations. Highly vetted group of individuals, dubbed Catalysts, have experience relevant to innovation, technology commercialization, and entrepreneurship; they provide individual contribution to the center and do not represent any company interests. The Catalysts and the program are central to achieving the Deshpande Center’s mission of helping MIT innovations achieve market impact. I-Team, short for Innovation Teams, is a unique MIT course that guides student teams as they undertake commercial due diligence for scientific and engineering breakthroughs from a range of disciplines.
Established in 2007, the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship was founded on the philosophy that economic progress and good governance in low-income countries emerge from entrepreneurship and innovations that empower ordinary citizens. The Center administers programs and convenes events that promote and shape discourse on bottom-up development; it also runs a highly competitive fellowship program intended to launch enterprises in low-income countries. The Legatum Center provides seed grants to students working on innovative, sustainable projects in low-income countries. The Center also host an annual conference that brings together thought-leaders and entrepreneurs from around the globe to discuss international development, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
The Lemelson-MIT Program believes that “invention is at the heart of a great society” and through that they are dedicated to honoring the acclaimed and unsung heroes who have helped improve our lives through invention. They encourage great inventors through various outreach programs such as InvenTeams, a non-competitive, team-based national grants initiative for high school students. The cornerstone of the Lemelson program is a prestigious awards program that includes the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize.
A lot of great innovations are developed at MIT, but not a lot of inventors many know how to adequately protect their technologies from intellectual property theft. MIT Technology Licensing Office (TLO) executes their mission of fostering commercial investment in the development of inventions and discoveries by assisting MIT inventors in protecting their technology, and in the licensing of that technology to existing companies and startups. The TLO also grants licenses for their patented and copyrighted inventions, to both existing and startup companies that demonstrate the technical and financial capabilities to develop their early-stage technology into commercially successfully products.
The Venture Mentoring Service was founded on the common vision to further MIT’s educational mission by providing entrepreneurs on campus with mentoring and assistance with developing and launching their enterprises. VMS supports innovation and entrepreneurial practices by pairing the MIT community with skilled volunteer mentors; a “team mentoring” approach of three to four mentors sit down with entrepreneurs to provide practical, day-to-day professional advice and coaching. Relationships between mentors and entrepreneurs are formed based on the needs of the entrepreneur and experience of the mentors.