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From the president

Infinite entrepreneurship

A startup mindset plays a big role in delivering ideas to the world.

January 4, 2024
Sally Kornbluth
Gretchen Ertl

Before I came to MIT, I was certainly aware of its reputation as one of the best universities for entrepreneurs, but nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to experience. Entrepreneurship, MIT style, is built into the way everyone, from first-years to faculty to alumni, gets their ideas out into the world.

At my inauguration, a fantastic panel of faculty speakers, from every school and the college of computing, talked about their research and its potential to help solve the biggest global problems. Most of these faculty members had a startup—in some cases more than one.

But I’ve been excited to find that at MIT, entrepreneurship is about a lot more than startups. At the Martin Trust Center, and in an almost infinite number of programs, classes, and events across the Institute, it’s taught as a craft, a set of skills that can be applied to any type of venture. 

Students learn a step-by-step framework to guide them in creating new products that are not only innovative and useful but consistent with their values. And they learn how to get past obstacles along the way. This makes the entrepreneurship education offered at MIT just as valuable for future leaders of large, established organizations as for trailblazers looking to launch their own companies.

It has been thrilling to see MIT’s entrepreneurial spirit in all its variety—from the thousands of industry partnerships the Institute has built since its founding to the practiced pitches delivered by fired-up young founders at the Trust Center’s Delta V Demo Day. I wasn’t surprised to learn that 61% of Delta V companies are still operating or have been acquired, collectively raising more than $1 billion in funding. And ideas for new ventures come from everywhere—not just biology and computer labs but art studios and athletic fields. 

MIT’s singular passion for entrepreneurship is inspiring, energizing, a little bit exhausting, and a whole lot of fun. It’s also an essential element of our strategy to organize for positive impact and transform our world.


Editor’s Note: As this issue went to press in November, developments related to the Israel-Gaza war were rapidly evolving. For up-to-date communications from MIT and President Kornbluth on these issues and how they affect the MIT community, please see web.mit.edu/updates-from-campus.

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