The last two decades have seen a rapid rise in innovation-driven entrepreneurship ventures born in academia. And while the path from classroom to commercialization is a long and winding road, a common-held belief in academic entrepreneurial circles is the assumption that faculty advisors are most often the primary traveler on the road to entrepreneurial success. New research suggests, however, that student innovators—who have more time and flexibility than faculty— drive the momentum of successful entrepreneurial ventures outside of school. (Learn more about the drivers of innovation-driven entrepreneurship in this innovation@work webinar with MIT Sloan Professor Bill Aulet.)
At the same time, studies show that these student innovators are heavily influenced by their faculty advisors, and the success of the academic entrepreneurial venture is largely determined by the students relationship dynamic with their faculty mentors. Lastly, studies also show that the relationships students form in competition greatly influence the success of their venture outside of academia.
What makes regions more or less successful when it comes to entrepreneurship? What about Kendall Square has made the area such a powerful entrepreneurial hotspot? These questions and others like them are considered during the new MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP), currently offered as a joint program between MIT Sloan Executive Education and the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship.
Created in part to address the concerns of organizations that want to emulate the entrepreneurial spirit encompassed by MIT and the surrounding area, 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. For example, during the REAP 2012–2013 pilot program, cross-functional teams from Hangzhou (China), Finland, New Zealand, Veracruz (Mexico), Scotland, Andalucia (Spain), and Turkey conducted an action project focused on assessing the current state of entrepreneurship in their regions.