When MIT tells how to create your own ecosystem, Part I
December 23, 2009 5 Comments
Last November I had the chance to do a study tour at MIT. I attended the 2009 Research and Development Conference and the probably more interesting MIT ILP Regional Competitiveness Workshop Series. Here, I will report about the latter, even though it was terrific to listen to leading scientists such as Daniel Nocera and Angela Belcher. In fact, the aim of the workshop was to tell the audience how it could be possible to re-create somewhere else the Boston eco-system, i.e. that environment “fostering Innovation and encouraging entrepreneurship and job creation”.
According to MIT, there are several elements needed to create and to make such an environment self-sustaining. The most important are probably:
- Educational institutions such as MIT. Well, they claim, their students, graduates, researchers and professors are more than encouraged to create companies based on their activities in classes or labs. That could sound a bit kind of conceited, but let me give you some (amazing) numbers: in February 2009 there were 25,800 currently active companies founded by MIT alumni, they employed 3.3 milion people, their revenues would make the 17th largest economy in the world and their annual sales even the 11th. But, why does it happen? Well, this could probably be discussed in the next coming posts, if you wish. For now, you can download the executive summary of the research giving these figures in the Box.net widget on your right: MIT_Kauffman_Report.pdf.
- State & Local Initiatives. The Executive Director of the Massachusetts Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship had done a talk and I picked up the following suggestions: provide infrastructures as well as cinemas, they are both needed to build vital communities therefore prosperity; support no-profit entrepreneurship consulting firms; encourage film or TV productions in your area. Surprisingly to me, he was so proud of the fact that the Boston area has recently outranked Paris in terms of money spent by film studios and producers.
- Entrepreneurship support. It seems that around Boston there are plenty of people giving such a support for free. It says that they have received so much by this place that they are just happy to give something back now. Well, I’m pretty sure some of them hope to come across the next big thing but the point is that they are there for you. At MIT you can count up to 5 different organizations offering kind of add-as-you-grow services: the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation and the MIT Entrepreneurship Center are worth a look.
In Part II, there will be Competitions, Corporate R&D labs and Start-up companies. By the way, would you add some other element?