MIT’s entrepreneurial network thrives on connections around the world, and it is growing even more robust with the Hong Kong Innovation Node. The Node connects the MIT community with unique resources—including local alumni, entrepreneurs, and advanced manufacturing capabilities—in Hong Kong and the neighboring Pearl River Delta. Its first program, MIT Kickstart, begins in June 2016, with 12 students participating from both Hong Kong and MIT. This seven-day hardware accelerator will immerse students in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, where they can pitch their ideas and expand their international network. The Node will offer a broad spectrum of programs, from weeklong workshops with local businesspeople to summer-long internships.
“A major reason MIT chose Hong Kong is that it provides ready access to a unique manufacturing infrastructure that encourages rapid prototyping and scale-up,” says Charles Sodini, the Clarence J. LeBel Professor of Electrical Engineering who will serve as faculty director at the Node. “Manufacturers in Shenzhen, a city about an hour’s commute from Hong Kong, have mastered the ability to take a prototype device to unit quantities in the hundreds overnight.”
The Node will foster closer communication between the MIT campus and manufacturers and students in the Hong Kong region, creating a lively and rapid innovation loop in which a medical device prototyped in Cambridge could be tested in Hong Kong, and then manufactured in Shenzhen.