MIT’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Yesterday, I wrote about my day exploring entrepreneurship in Fairbanks, Alaska.  Today, while reading MIT’s Technology Review (the paper copy – in the bathroom – where all paper magazines should be read) I came across a very timely article titled The Entrepreneurship Ecosystem.

One of my recommendations to the folks in Fairbanks was to rally around the University of Alaska Fairbanks as a focal point for entrepreneurial activity in the local community.  I used the examples of Route 128 / Cambridge / Boston (MIT, Harvard, BU) and Silicon Valley (Stanford, Berkeley) as examples of major entrepreneurial communities that grew up around great universities (Ed Roberts covers this issue extremely well in his seminal book on entrepreneurship titled “Entrepreneurship in High Technology: Lessons from MIT and Beyond.”)

The Tech Review article summarized – very effectively – the entrepreneurial ecosystem at MIT and how it works.  The print article also included the following links to resources at MIT that don’t seem to be included in the online article.

While this isn’t a comprehensive list of the MIT entrepreneurial ecosystem, it’s a good start.  It’s important to recognize that many of these organizations have been around for a long time, have ebbed and flowed in popularity and influence, but have clearly demonstrated staying power in the entrepreneurial action surrounding MIT.

  • As a participant and beneficiary of MIT’s entrepreneurial ecosystem (I began my third software startup there), I can attest to the effectiveness of this particular model. The big value (for me) was that it takes quirky, engineering types like me, that like to solve problems and puts them amidst other like-minded entrepreneurs. I’ve also had the privilege of taking an “innovation” course with Professor Ed Roberts (great guy!).

  • this is very sad, but last night I brought my laptop into the bathroom to “read” . . . I hope I’m not the only one. . . 🙂

  • It’s good to see the usual suspects. Like with anything cool, many people might not be aware that US researchers have cracked the code for how to support and multiply entrepreneurship. It wasn�t easy!

    For anyone interested, a good outline can be found in the “Successful Experiences of Entrepreneurship Center Directors” report by Nancy Upton.


    Many people might dismiss it as trivial, but the kinds of ecosystems in Boston, the Bay Area, Austin, Boulder and a few other places- don’t happen by accident. People like William Bygrave and Karl Vesper have spent careers setting up the infrastructure which makes America the (using the strongest words possible) absolute and unassailable leader in entrepreneurship- light years ahead of anyone.

    That said, even though we have the code for how to do entrepreneurship properly, there are going to be challenges…probably not for America though. You guys, seriously, have little to worry about compared to everybody else. But, if anybody’s up for it – the next step to developing entrepreneurs locally is to start exporting them. Anybody serious about US competitiveness has to put in a structure to start sending Americans to emerging markets in China, India and Eastern Europe.

    Putting in an infrastructure to send American entrepreneurs overseas, together with US venture capital is an exciting challenge for the future.

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