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Challenges and solutions for women entrepreneurs

In a recent report from The Daily Finance, Dell had successfully launched its first female global entrepreneurship and development index, or GEDI, created to measure high-potential female entrepreneurship based on individual aspirations, business environments, and entrepreneurial ecosystems. According to the female GEDI, the U.S. was ranked the best country—number 1 out of 17 countries indexed—to be a female entrepreneur.

According to Professor Fiona Murray of MIT Sloan, however, women still have a long way to go. In an interview with Rob Matheson of MIT News, Murray expands on the specific inequalities in female entrepreneurship and what businesses and higher education can do now, to build a better future for female entrepreneurs.

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REAP: A global program that addresses the intricacies of entrepreneurship

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.

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Studies show gender gap still exists on scientific advisory boards

While the number of women holding positions on scientific advisory boards (SAB) is increasing, it may come as a surprise that those numbers are still low.

According to the U.S. National Science Foundation, although the proportion of women in industrial and academic science is on the rise—women make up 25 percent of tenured academics in science and engineering and more than 25 percent of industry scientists in research and development—when it comes to women serving on SABs, the numbers aren’t as positive. And, women are losing out because of it: membership on these boards is not without its advantages, including access to promising research, consulting opportunities, and monetary rewards.

A paper published last October by MIT Sloan Professor Fiona Murray, along with Toby Stuart at the University of California, Berkeley, and Waverly Ding at the University of Maryland in College Park, examined the gender gap in corporate SABs. As part of the study, they reviewed a national sample of 6,000 life scientists whose careers span more than 30 years. In addition, the group looked at all publicly available lists of U.S. biotech SABs, including about 500 companies.

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