When MIT tells how to create your own ecosystem, Part II
December 29, 2009 2 Comments
At the MIT ILP Regional Competitiveness Workshop Series we learnt how to create an ecosystem like they have in Boston.
In Part I, we have already seen what Educational Institutions, State & Local Initiatives and Entrepreneurship Support could or should do.
Other important elements are:
- Competitions. In Boston there is a competition for everyone. Are you a student? Have you got just what you think is a brilliant idea and you would like to test it in front of an audience and eventually to team up with other folks? Maybe, you have already created a team and have already built something to show. In the best case scenario, you have got a team, a prototype and a business plan too. Great, join the 100K competition. They have elevator pitch contest, executive summary context and, of course, the flagship business plan contest. It is 100% student-run (50 people involved) and 100% sponsor-funded. They claim 120 companies and 2500 jobs created so far. If you are not a student any longer, you may have your start-up. MassChallenge claims to be the world’s largest global start-up competition. You do not need to originate or headquarter in Massachusetts. You enter the competition and receive access to training, mentors, executives, other team members and sources of funding. You win and receive cash prizes and will qualify for privileged access to funding sources. It starts in Spring 2010.
- Corporate R&D labs. You need to attract them to attract not only their investments but also smart people wishing to work for them. Around Boston and Cambridge and along the Route 128 there are Microsoft, Google, Novartis, Pfizer and Nokia labs, to name a few. Wouldn’t be great to move here and be part of such a vigorous intellectual community, they say?
- Start-up companies. You cannot force start-ups to grow. A rich soil with an abundance of what we have said so far is required. Why are they very important for your environment? Because they tend to bring the youngest people with the freshest ideas. And, most importantly, bigger investment from bigger groups will come for the most promising ones.
For sure, there are some other elements needed to create your own ecosystem such as service providers, Law firms and traditional office space to name a few, regional publications, regional trade associations and, not to mention, investors; just scratched the surface.
In conclusion, my own takeaways:
- Entrepreneurship must be condidered as a social value, for it creates companies, jobs therefore wealth for the community.
- Academic institutions must be valued and ranked in terms of wealth creation too: number of spin-off companies, number of jobs created by them. Some more suggestions?
- Volunteering at some entrepreneurship support organization could be more significant and rewarding than you think.
- Give students or recent graduates the opportunity to show their ideas and, most importantly, reward the best ones by giving them money to create prototypes.