MIT is committed to working with others to bring knowledge to bear on the world’s great challenges. In the course of innovating solutions, the Institute and other leading research-based universities play a significant role in stimulating and sustaining economic growth. By attracting research grants to solve complex problems and supporting an entrepreneurial ecosystem that brings solutions to market, MIT is playing a fundamental role in advancing Cambridge’s innovation ecosystem.
In 2017, MIT was awarded $719.5 million in funding to conduct research on its Cambridge campus. Across all sites, MIT received a total of $1.7 billion in research funding.
Of companies founded by MIT alumni are based in Massachusetts. Cambridge boasts the highest proportion of MIT alumni–founded companies in the world, with 8% of the total.
Inventions were disclosed by MIT in 2017 with 296 patents issued. Reflecting the volume of research on campus, the Technology Licensing Office has seen a 40% increase in disclosures over the last 10 years.
Companies collaborating with MIT faculty and students on projects of mutual interest—500 of them are within walking distance to MIT.
The pathway from idea to impact
The journey from groundbreaking idea to market is not a straight line—entrepreneurs can take many different routes to find resources and mentoring to fit their specific needs. At MIT, there are a number of programs, classes, student groups, and competitions to help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into marketable products.
MIT Classes & Coursework
Last year, MIT offered more than 60 entrepreneurship courses as well as not-for-credit boot camps. Courses like “2.009 Product Engineering Processes” encourage students to invent a product and pitch it to an audience of potential investors.
The campus is home to 130,000 square feet of makerspace that offers tools, training, and networking to encourage students to tinker, prototype, and invent.
Even the best ideas need to go back to the drawing board.
Students organize and run specialized groups to connect with one another based on topic and interest.
More than 80 resources at MIT foster entrepreneurship and innovation, including:
- Lemelson-MIT Program
- MIT Enterprise Forum
- MIT Innovation Initiative
- MIT Sandbox
- Venture Mentoring Service
- Martin Trust Center
- Deshpande Center
- Legatum Center
Programs like the $100K Entrepreneurship Competition have given rise to over 160 companies, including Akamai and HubSpot. Others, like the IDEAS Global Challenge, encourage social entrepreneurship. Competitions pair inventors with mentors and can be catalysts for growth.
Incubators and Coworking
Nearby Lab Central and the Cambridge Innovation Center offer startup space and networking opportunities for small companies and local inventors.
The Engine, built by MIT, helps founders create the next generation of world-changing companies by providing access to long-term capital, helping founders navigate the nuanced process of commercialization, providing access to specialized equipment and labs, and creating a community of like-minded individuals to advise leaders of Tough Tech companies.
Clinics and programs throughout the Boston area help entrepreneurs. For example, Boston University’s Entrepreneurship & IP Clinic advises MIT students about legal issues associated with entrepreneurial efforts.
Each entrepreneur’s path is unique and presents different challenges. At the end of this nonlinear process, some ideas will successfully reach the market. MIT offers many resources to support the entrepreneurial journey.