The Deshpande Center helps MIT faculty and students commercialize breakthrough technologies and inventions by transforming promising ideas at MIT into innovative products and cutting-edge spinout companies. Toward this end, the center makes modest but pivotal investments in research that is being done by some of MIT’s most talented scientists and engineers.
The Deshpande Center’s Ignition Grants and Innovation Grants are open only to MIT faculty and students; grant applications must be submitted by MIT employees with Principal Investigator (PI) status.The grants allow MIT researchers to bridge a funding gap that relegates many worthwhile projects to obscurity: the gap between government support for basic science and the availability of private-sector funding for emerging innovations
Beyond funding grant recipients’ research, the program helps academically oriented scientists and engineers at MIT develop a more business-minded perspective on their work—which is essential when exploring potential markets and applications. An immersive experience exposes grantees to a rich network of experts—including other MIT researchers, venture investors and executives with experience in early-stage companies—as well as events sponsored by the center and MIT’s startup-friendly culture.
A volunteer Catalyst/mentor is assigned to each funded project. These seasoned entrepreneurs provide the research team with ongoing guidance as they assess market opportunities, commercialize their inventions and launch startup companies.
The MIT Venture Mentoring Service (VMS) is an organization formed to support entrepreneurial activity throughout the MIT community and, thereby, to further the educational mission of MIT. VMS believes that the active support of entrepreneurial activities contribute to the entrepreneurship education of the MIT community, strengthens MIT's role as a world leader in innovation, and broadens MIT's base of potential support. The VMS Service matches prospective entrepreneurs with volunteer mentors who can boost the probability of a startup's success. Budding entrepreneurs who apply to be VMS mentees are assigned to a team of 3 to 4 mentors who provide practical, day-to-day professional advice and coaching. The mentoring service is open to MIT faculty, students, alumni and staff and licensees to MIT technology, who reside in the Boston area.
The Entrepreneurship Center’s mission is to educate, inspire and coach new generations of entrepreneurs.The Center offers courses on all aspects of business and entrepreneurship that are open to MIT students. Many of the courses are also open to others via the Center’s executive education program. Some of the most popular student courses include:
- Innovation Teams (i-Teams) in which students develop commercialization strategies for technology breakthroughs, most of which stem from current Deshpande Center projects.
- Entrepreneurship Lab (E-Lab) in which students work one day a week in a start-up company
- Global Entrepreneurship Lab (G-Lab) in which students work on a 4-month, mini consulting project for international, entrepreneurial firms.
The E-Center also hosts networking events throughout the year to bring together its extensive network of CEO's, alumni, students, faculty and venture capitalists.
The Engine is an innovation accelerator built by and around MIT to drive breakthrough innovations. The Engine is enabling efforts of startups in Kendall Square and across Massachusetts, targetting transformative technologies to solve global problems. To fuel The Engine, MIT is seeking to attract hundreds of millions or dollars of support and to provide hundreds of thousands of square feet of space for entrepreneurs in Kendall Square and nearby communities.
The MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition is a leading-edge forum for students and researchers in the MIT community to act on their talent, ideas and energy to launch tomorrow’s leading firms. A year-long educational experience, the MIT $100K brings together a network of resources (feedback from top venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, media exposure, mentors, educational guidance, networking and more than $350K in cash and prizes) to help participants through the new venture construction process. As such, the competition is structured across three contests: (a) Pitch; (b) Accelerate; and (c) Launch. In the more than 20 years that the Business Plan Competition has been active, it has facilitated the birth of over 120 companies.Teams for the Business Plan and Executive Summary contests must contain at least one currently registered MIT student.
For over 30 years, the Enterprise Forum has been offering networking and educational programs about technology entrepreneurship. These activities are offered via the Forum’s many regional chapters, such as the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge. Enterprise Forum programs are open to anyone interested or involved in technology entrepreneurship.
MIT boasts a number of student-run, business and professional clubs that provide educational and networking opportunities for all members of the MIT community. These include:
- Entrepreneurs Club (EClub), open to MIT, Harvard and Wellesley students, faculty, staff, alumni and select professionals. The EClub hosts weekly club meetings and periodic networking and educational events, including the annual IAP class: The Nuts and Bolts of Business Plans
- MIT Sloan Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club seeks to reignite the spirit of entrepreneurship and to offer an intimate support system for entreprenuers at the Sloan School. The club offers programs and events to its members, including IdeaStorm, externships with start-ups, local start-up treks and workshops
- Science and Engineering Business Club (SEBC) provides members with an extensive selection of educational events, an expansive business network and a solid mentorship base, enabling students to fully utilize their academic backgrounds in launching strong business careers. The Club is open to MIT undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and membership extends across the Sloan School of Management and the MIT science and engineering community to draw a diverse collection of perspectives, ideas and talents.
- Venture Capital and Private Equity Club (VCPE) is one of MIT’s largest and most visible cross-campus organizations. Its mission is to provide members with opportunities to learn about the venture capital and private equity industries, to interact with leading professional investors and business executives and to develop relationship with members of the MIT community who share similar interests.
The Lemelson-MIT Program is dedicated to honoring the acclaimed and unsung heroes who have helped improve our lives through invention. It awards a $500,000 prize annually to an outstanding mid-career inventor who has made a significant contribution to society as well as undergraduate and graduate prizes.
Technology Showcases are usually industry-specific events in which entrepreneurs can pitch their startup ideas and technologies to potential investors. Several such showcases are hosted each year by non-profit entities like the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC), the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio) and The Capital Network (TCN). These events and institutions are part of the broader, state-wide ecosystem for supporting entrepreneurial activity and can be a rich source for education and networking.
For more information:
Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC): http://www.mattcenter.org/
Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC): http://www.masscec.com/
Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio): http://www.massbio.org/
The Capital Network (TCN): http://www.thecapitalnetwork.org/
Technology Transfer Organizations
The Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) is an international professional association which provides current news, training, and networking events in the tech transfer profession.
The Licensing Executives Society International (LESI) is an association of 32 national and regional societies, each composed of men and women who have an interest in the transfer of technology, or licensing of intellectual property rights - from technical know how and patented inventions to software, copyright and trademarks.
- Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership “sponsors education, training and research initiatives targeted to the needs of adult entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship support systems.”
- U.S. Small Business Administration: Provides financial, technical and management assistance to help Americans start, run, and grow their businesses. SBA is the nation's largest single financial backer of small businesses.
- Galaxy Search Engine: Business and Commerce. A commercial search engine focusing on Industry.
- FDA Regulations
- Kuester Law - The Technology Law Resource is an award-winning comprehensive resource on patent, copyright, and trademark law.
- Federal Laws relating to patents, trademarks and copyrights
- The U.S. Copyright Office has extensive information and downloadable forms.
- U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database is now available for free searching.
- Source Translation Optimization (STO) provides patenting information: economics, legal analysis, statistics, court rulings, patent analysis tools and more.
- Bayh-Dole Act
- The U.S. Copyright Office has extensive information and downloadable forms