Category: Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship: Why we need to keep calm and trust the process

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 month and 22 days ago

An interview MIT Sloan ACE holder Mia Hemmi

Long before Shark Tank was a popular hit TV series, MIT was encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit through its five-day Entrepreneurship Development Program, led by Bill Aulet, MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer and Managing Director of The Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. The annual program has been the impetus behind many successful companies that got their start at MIT. Aulet explained the fundamental idea of entrepreneurship in a recent NECN T.V. interview and said, "You need to keep calm and trust the process." While ideas are necessary, said Aulet, they are overrated. "It's much more important to figure out who the customer is; figure out the process and what makes that into a business," adding that "it's even more important to have a great team."

Aulet explains that the EDP program--which attracts 100-plus people from as many as 25 different countries each year--is challenging. In just one week, participants are asked to work with people they don’t know and build a new business from an idea they didn’t have before coming to campus. According to Aulet, "There is a process to help them do that, and that's what participants learn during the program." He adds, "There is a methodology that helps you optimize your chances of being successful."

Entrepreneurship means changing the existing order of things

Aulet often talks about the mindset of entrepreneurs. In his recent interview with NECN, he explained that great entrepreneurs have to be willing to be different, willing to swim the other way, and not accept the existing order of things. Aulet says MIT is great at that, and compares this mindset to his experience as an undergraduate at the other well-known school down the street. "Harvard was the establishment. MIT was not the establishment. It was immigrants and immigrants’ kids being trained for the industrial revolution. They've always been willing to swim the other way and get by on the size of their brain."

However, adds Aulet, changing the existing order of things alone isn't enough. Rather, successful entrepreneurs require execution skills. Aulet remembers his 11-year stint at IBM where he felt like "the most disciplined person in the world," until he moved to a startup. "It was a whole other level at the startup. At IBM, we always made payroll. In a startup, if the customer doesn't like the product or you don’t get the order, then you don’t make payroll. An entrepreneur has a level of internal discipline that is so high."

Continue reading

Entrepreneurship Center expands to better serve its mission

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 6 months ago

MIT's Entrepreneurship Center expands to better serve its mission

With its reputation as an entrepreneurial hotbed, it’s no surprise that MIT has recently invested approximately $10 million to expand and renovate the 26-year-old Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, located at One Amherst St. in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The center is responsible for entrepreneurship across all five schools at MIT starting with education but also extending well outside the class room with student clubs, conferences, competitions, networking events, awards, hackathons, student trips, and most recently accelerators. Last year, students who work at the center started more than 50 new companies.

An additional 2,700 square feet were added for a total of 7,200 square feet of space dedicated to all things entrepreneurial in the heart of Kendall Square. The redesigned center now features an expanded maker-space workshop (ProtoWorks), event space, nine conference rooms equipped with wireless presentation systems, a café, and phone booths that provide free international calling. The Center is equipped with room scheduling software created at the nearby Cambridge Innovation Center.

"The thoughtfully-designed space will enable new and expanded collaboration across campus, with students from all parts of the Institute exploring entrepreneurial interests in a dynamic environment," said MIT Sloan School of Management Dean David Schmittlein, who added that the space was designed to accommodate the need for creativity and collaboration.

Continue reading

Interview with EDP participant and Administrate CEO John Peebles

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 8 months and 4 days ago

John Peebles

We recently interviewed John Peebles, CEO of Administrate and a 2014 participant of the Entrepreneurship Development Program, via Skype. Below is a transcript of our conversation. His company, Administrate, offers an integrated, Software as a Service (SaaS) management system for training providers. The company went to market in 2012 and has customers such as PwC, Elsevier, Scania and learndirect. It’s based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

What led you to the MIT Sloan Entrepreneurship Development Program?

Let me start by saying that, honestly, I have never really enjoyed the academic setting. During college, I was always kind of tinkering, consulting [as a programmer]--I was learning concepts from those experiences more than in the classroom. Classes were boring to me, and I didn’t like the homework. Getting out of college was great--it was a miracle that I graduated, actually. For the most part I consider myself a self-taught programmer, despite having a computer science degree.

Back in early 2014, a colleague gave me a brochure about EDP, and I said no way. But people here in Scotland kept saying how great it was and when I heard it described as many semesters of info presented in a week-long crunch, I thought, that’s actually an environment I might enjoy!

Because I have a computer science degree (not business), despite having a lot of on-the-job experience running companies, I have always felt there were gaps in my understanding of business concepts. I was looking for this program to address some of those, and I felt pretty confident it could be in part because I had read Professor Aulet's book, Disciplined Entrepreneurship, shortly before the application period.

Also it's important to note that entrepreneurs here receive a lot of support from the Scottish government, and they covered most of the cost of the program and travel for me to attend, which was incredible. Without that, I wouldn't have been able to go.

Tell us a little bit about your company, and the stage it was in at the time you enrolled.

The Administrate team back then was 10 or 11 people. We were a small start-up that had spun out of a training company, where they had developed software to manage training workflow and measure training results. Turns out there was a lot of demand for access to this tool--training organizations and HR traditionally get no love in the software space--so Administrate was built to address the pain points of training managers and senior executives.

Continue reading

HUB iLab Veracruz—an outcome of MIT REAP—is recognized with a national entrepreneurship award

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 11 months and 15 days ago

iLab

HUB iLab Veracruz, an entrepreneurship booster organization launched in Veracruz, Mexico, was recently recognized by the Mexican Government with the 2015 Mexican National Entrepreneurship Award. iLab is a successful innovation‐driven program to enhance entrepreneurship throughout Veracruz and is an exciting outcome of the 2012-2014 MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (MIT REAP).

MIT REAP is a capstone global initiative designed to help regions accelerate economic growth and social progress through innovation-driven entrepreneurship (IDE). Partner regions form multi-disciplinary teams and commit to a two-year learning engagement with MIT. During this engagement, teams work with world-renowned MIT faculty and the broader REAP community through a series of action-learning activities to build and implement a custom regional strategy for enhancing their IDE ecosystems.

Partner regions engage leaders from five stakeholder groups--government, risk capital, universities, entrepreneurs, and corporates--with MIT faculty over a two‐year period to leverage MIT expertise and frameworks, develop a customized IDE acceleration strategy and start the implementation process. One such partner region was Veracruz, which participated in the first two-year cycle of the program (2012-2014). Team Veracruz, led by Victor Hugo Moctezuma Aguirre, looked closely at the large industries that dominated their state and evaluated their current entrepreneurial ecosystems with the goal of implementing a strategic framework for driving regional IDE impact.

Continue reading

MIT REAP helps London scale its innovation ecosystem

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 year and 1 month and 6 days ago

Contributed by MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer, Dr. Phil Budden.

REAP London small

MIT's Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP) is fostering a worldwide innovation and entrepreneurship movement helping regional ecosystems. The latest region to take its REAP learnings to the next level is Team London, which is one of the regions in REAP's Cohort Two (essentially, the second round) which comes to a close this June 2016.

REAP is MIT's unique, two-year global Executive Education initiative designed to help regions around the world, with an average of eight teams per Cohort, to accelerate economic growth and job creation through "innovation-driven entrepreneurship" (IDE).  Each team has to include representatives of the five key stakeholders in an "innovation ecosystem," and must work together--with the help of MIT faculty and their research--to analyze their region’s strengths, determine a strategy based on their regional comparative advantage, and then implement a first step to achieving that strategy. Teams attend four workshops over the two-year program and must collectively achieve a great deal in the action phases before and after the workshops.

Team London's stakeholders, after participating in three REAP workshops (2014-2015), determined that their region produces a lot of start-ups but not enough of these scale to their full potential. This insight confirmed that efforts by a variety of stakeholders--including the UK Government of Prime Minister David Cameron--had successfully accelerated the innovation-driven enterprises in their ecosystem, which early insights had highlighted. With "London calling," MIT responded with its insights from Kendall Square, and then a place for London--following the visit of the British Prime Minister to MIT--in its second REAP cohort. (See "London's tech hub looks to capture 'MIT magic'")

Continue reading

The Entrepreneurship Development Program at MIT Sloan: "Shark Tank," minus the sharks

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 year and 1 month and 13 days ago

Once each year, MIT Sloan Executive Education offers the Entrepreneurship Development Program, which draws participants from around the world to learn how to develop ideas into successful businesses. The week-long course includes lectures by senior MIT faculty, visits to high-tech startups, live case studies presented by successful entrepreneurs, and culminates with small group projects and Shark Tank-like judging of business pitches. But instead of aggressive feedback edited for prime-time television, the judging is led by Bill Aulet, Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan and Managing Director of The Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and includes other MIT Sloan faculty, students, and alumni.

Program participants are tasked with coming up with a viable business idea, developing a business plan, and presenting the concept to the other participants and judges, pitching it as they would to a venture capital firm. The teams work on their businesses over lunches and in the evenings across the five program days. Each team is given a coach who provides feedback throughout the process and with whom they rehearse aspects of their pitch during the first four days of the course.

The teams are tasked with determining their business's product, target customer, value proposition, and competitive advantage. They must also create a business model, including:

  • Pricing
  • The lifetime value of an acquired customer (LTVOAC)
  • A go-to-market plan
  • The cost of acquiring a customer (COCA)
  • Financial projections
  • Funding strategy
  • Exit strategy

Once they reach Friday, the teams have to present their business ideas, complete with a business name, a product name (if different from the business), and even a logo. After the initial judging and feedback, four teams are selected to be finalists. These finalists pitch again, and ultimately one business is selected as the winner.

Continue reading

MIT entrepreneurs: The world's 10th-largest economy

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 year and 3 months and 14 days ago

Living MIT graduates who have started and built for-profit companies do not qualify as a nation. However, if they did, they'd be the world's 10th largest economy, with gross revenue falling between the GDP of Russia ($2.097 trillion) and India ($1.877 trillion), according to a report released earlier this week.

"The report confirms what has long been clear: Our community's passion for doing, making, designing and building is alive and growing," President L. Rafael Reif wrote in an email to the MIT community. "As we do our part by continuing to foster our students' natural creativity and energy, it is inspiring to see the potential our alumni hold to extend MIT's power to do good for the world."

As of 2014, the report estimates, MIT alumni have launched 30,200 active companies, employing roughly 4.6 million people, and generating roughly $1.9 trillion in annual revenues.  An update to a previous reported authored in 2009, the new report outlines key entrepreneurial trends, such as the declining age of entrepreneurs, and alumni contributions to company growth and innovation, such as patents filed. Other key results for entrepreneurial impact and trends:

  • 25% of alumni have founded companies, with more than 40% of these labeled as serial entrepreneurs
  • 11% of alumni who have graduated in the 2010s have already founded companies, compared with 8% who founded companies within five years of graduating in the 1990s, and 4% in the 1960s
  • 80% of alumni-founded companies have survived five or more years, while 70% have survived 10 years. (Across the U.S., roughly 50% of all new companies last five years, while only 35% last 10 years.)
  • MIT entrepreneurs favor the East and West coasts: More than 30% of all the surveyed companies are located in Massachusetts, with 8% in Cambridge; 20% are located in California. Approximately 23% operate in other countries.

Continue reading

Is Greece missing an opportunity to turn to innovation-driven entrepreneurship?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 year and 3 months and 26 days ago

Projections for the economy in Greece are dire. Economic recovery is not certain, and when it comes, it will certainly be long and painful. And despite BloombergView stating, "While not out of the woods, Greece’s large banks seem to be showing signs of life," there’s still widespread unemployment and an overall bleak outlook.

Phil Budden, Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan, argues in Fortune that the current fiscal crisis can be turned into an opportunity for the country. Budden recommends the country and its people follow the advice of Winston Churchill by "never letting a crisis go to waste." Greece might follow the example of other countries that have struggled economically, and it could begin to "gradually shift its focus away from macroeconomic problems and toward the task of creating an innovation ecosystem."

Continue reading

Search innovation@work Blog

Subscribe to Blog by Email

Cutting-edge research and business insights presented by MIT Sloan faculty.

Interested in writing a guest post?