Category: Entrepreneurship

Interview with EDP participant and Administrate CEO John Peebles

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 7 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.

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

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 months and 18 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.

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MIT REAP helps London scale its innovation ecosystem

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 5 months and 9 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'")

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

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 5 months and 16 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.

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

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 7 months and 17 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.

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

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 8 months and 1 day 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."

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MIT in Asia: Two new collaborations

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 11 months and 26 days ago

MIT brings REAP to Singapore

The regions selected for the third year of MIT's Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP) include Singapore, the first Asian country to participate in REAP.

REAP is a multi-year program designed to help regions promote economic development and job creation by teaching participants how to implement a more robust, innovation-based entrepreneurial ecosystem. The program was created in part to address the concerns of organizations that want to emulate the entrepreneurial spirit encompassed by MIT.

"Singapore has a great opportunity to really build its entrepreneurial capacity and to build innovation-driven businesses," said Fiona Murray, Associate Dean for Innovation and the Co-Director of the MIT Innovation Initiative. Singapore has doubled the number of startups in its country, from 24,000 in 2005 to 55,000 in 2014.

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MIT and Cambridge: Working hand-in-hand to foster innovation

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 year and 2 months and 11 days ago

Walk down Broadway Street in Kendall Square today and no matter where you turn there is something exciting brewing: a new biotech company, a trendy restaurant, or a venture capital-funded think tank.

Galaxy Sculpture Kendall Square

However, four decades ago that wasn't the case. If you drove down Main Street in the 1970s, you were more likely to find abandoned buildings and empty factories. In contrast, today the area is a hotbed of innovation, entrepreneurship, and cutting-edge technology--as well as home to more than 150 high-tech companies, including global corporate giants like Genzyme, Google, Microsoft, and Biogen Idec. Another "giant" in the city—and one of the main reasons the area is known as an innovation hub--is MIT, the institution that has collaborated with the city to revitalize the area and has played an integral part in the area's resurgence.

"Kendall Square is the epicenter, but the reach is all around the edge of campus, "says MIT Provost Martin Schmidt, who is also Co-Chair of the MIT Building Committee.  According to Schmidt, there’s a plan afoot to create "a gateway and a sense of destination" in Kendall Square. In 2013, the City of Cambridge approved MIT's petition to transform 26 acres of Institute-owned property in the Kendall Square/East Campus area. The new zoning will preserve existing academic development potential and enable the creation of new housing, retail, lab and commercial space, as well as more engaging open space. Schmidt says future plans also include a new home for the MIT Museum, as well as more academic space, graduate dormitories, and a childcare center.

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