It’s official: January 20, 2019 marks the 20th year that global entrepreneurs have descended on MIT Sloan Executive Education for the Entrepreneurship Development Program (EDP)-- an intense week of hands-on training in launching prosperous, innovation-driven ventures.
Drawing from MIT’s vast culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, EDP is packed with captivating lectures, guest speakers, group discussions, networking, and idea pitching—which is why Bill Aulet, the program's faculty director, has often likened the EDP experience to "drinking from a fire hose."
After 20 years, the tremendous impact and popularity of the globally-recognized program continues to grow. In the 2018 session alone, more than 20 industries and 30 countries were represented. These participants learned from 27 faculty members, guest speakers, and coaches; met with 18 innovation-based venture; and collectively presented 112 pitches to a panel of faculty and venture capitalists.
Entrepreneurs are not born—they are made
Since its inception, EDP has been driven by the philosophy that entrepreneurship can be taught. The program offers participants a structured and disciplined approach to start, grow, and scale their businesses, equipping them with the skills, tools, and techniques to identify and prioritize market opportunities and also avoid the pitfalls that can beset companies in growth mode. EDP connects participants to a global entrepreneurial network and gives them exposure to the greater Boston business ecosystem—including Cambridge, which is a world-renowned hub of innovation.
During his tenure as the head of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, Aulet has conceived, designed, and overseen the implementation of many new innovative programs, from the Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP) to the Founders Skills Accelerator to the Entrepreneurs Walk of Fame. Prior to joining MIT, Aulet had a 25-year track record of success in business himself. He has directly raised more than $100 million in funding for his companies and more importantly has led to the creation of hundreds of millions of dollars in market value in those companies.
In 2013, Aulet wrote Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Startup. His goal was to create a roadmap for academics that provided a framework, introduced a common language, and added rigor to the teaching of the subject of entrepreneurship to students. In the five years since its publication, the book has become a best-seller, has been translated into over 20 languages, and inspired a second title, the Disciplined Entrepreneurship Workbook. Better yet, Aulet’s vision has taken hold with scores of top global universities and business schools that use the book and its concepts as the foundational text for much of their entrepreneurship education and curriculum.
The concepts, tools, and frameworks covered in EDP—including Aulet’s 24 steps—enable participants to:
- Create, identify, and evaluate new venture opportunities
- Interpret customer needs and quantify the value proposition
- Start and build a successful technology-based company
- Understand how the process of starting new ventures may vary geographically and culturally
- Leverage new science and technologies from corporate or university laboratories
- Develop winning business plans
- Scale startups to be globally successful
- Navigate the venture capital investment process
- Obtain feedback on personal entrepreneurship skills
- Enhance and expand their networks
And, much like the field of entrepreneurship itself, EDP continues to evolve each year to reflect the new realities in the world and the new learnings of the MIT faculty. EDP is annually one of the highest-rated and best-attended programs in the MIT Executive Education portfolio with a proud, powerful, and well-connected alumni base.
“EDP blew through my very high expectations,” says Suraj Kripalani, Founder of BonBillo. “We heard from the best lecturers—industry experts and entrepreneurs who have made a big impact using the 24-step framework. Being surrounded by these participants and faculty gave me a lot of energy—I didn’t even feel the pace and the 14-hour days until the week was over. It was a life-changing experience for me.”
Thriving on collaboration
Teams of entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs are also encouraged to attend the program together with university staff and/or development professionals from their region. For example, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Scottish Enterprise (two Scottish economic development agencies) have sent cohorts to EDP since 2007. The agencies chose MIT for our vibrant entrepreneurial culture, our track record of working with countries around the world to inspire new ways of doing business, and for MIT’s world-class commercialization and technology transfer system. In addition, these government-sponsored economic development groups recognize that the program is instrumental in instilling a culture of ambition while equipping its country’s entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge needed to accelerate their growth potential.
“It has been such a joy to work with Scotland, and all parties have benefited greatly from this relationship,” says Aulet. “It is not just a few, but rather a vibrant and growing community of entrepreneurs in Scotland now who are highly skilled and share a common language, which will continue to pay enormous economic and social dividends well into the future.”
You can also learn more about the EDP experience from the perspective of your peers in these blog posts:
- Bringing the Disciplined Entrepreneurship process to Ireland: A Q&A with EDP participant Dr. John Breslin
- Entrepreneurship Development Program brings focus to 8D Technologies
- Interview with EDP participant and Administrate CEO John Peebles
- Program participant credits MIT Sloan's EDP for company growth
The 2019 session of the Entrepreneurship Development Program is offered January 20-25