Seeding Support for Entrepreneurship Across the Globe

Over the past several years, MIT’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has extended its reach far beyond the campus to encompass enterprises and their founders across the globe. Through education, mentorship, and collaboration, MIT is working with entrepreneurs in countries ranging from Chile to South Africa and from Malaysia to Saudi Arabia to solve the world’s greatest challenges.

The MIT Sloan School of Management opened its first office outside the United States in 2013, establishing the Latin America Office in Santiago, Chile. Two years later, MIT Sloan collaborated in establishing the Asia School of Business in Kuala Lumpur, helping to develop an MBA program from scratch. More recently, the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (MIT REAP) has worked to supply communities around the globe with evidence-based, practical approaches to developing innovation-driven entrepreneurship.

MIT’s Campaign for a Better World has provided resources to help expand these efforts. Today, MIT’s entrepreneurial reach extends to 38 countries on six continents.

MIT Sloan Global Programs reaches more than 70 regions worldwide.

MIT Sloan Global Programs reaches more than 70 regions worldwide.

Global Programs

Building on the rich legacy of worldwide engagement that is a hallmark of MIT, MIT Sloan Global Programs (GP) fosters multicultural collaborations, shapes perspectives, and influences policy. Focused on collaborating with public and private institutions to advance research and develop innovative leaders, GP’s leading initiatives include MIT REAP and the MIT Sloan Latin America Office.

MIT REAP is designed to help communities engage with MIT to create entrepreneurial initiatives. The program works with teams from regions around the globe to collaborate with MIT faculty over a two-year period. Together, the teams translate MIT research and insights into actionable strategic interventions, driving entrepreneurship and empowering local leaders to create long-term economic and social impact. In 2021, REAP has been working with teams from Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

“Our ability to shape and accelerate the growth and dynamism of these [entrepreneurial] ecosystems is what makes MIT REAP so impactful.”

—Scott Stern
MIT REAP Faculty Co-Director; David Sarnoff Professor of Management; and Faculty Director, Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship

Located in Santiago’s business district, the MIT Sloan Latin America Office (MSLAO) promotes MIT Sloan programs to faculty and potential students and facilitates enhanced research and corporate outreach throughout the region. During the Campaign for a Better World, MIT created a new endowment for the headquarters, assuring its growth going forward. In 2020 alone, the MSLAO hosted virtual events for more than 200,000 participants from 77 countries across seven continents.

“Latin America has enormous challenges ahead, which makes the role of the MSLAO more crucial than ever,” says Roberto Rigobon, faculty director of the MIT Sloan Latin America Office and the Society of Sloan Fellows Professor of Management

Action Learning

MIT Sloan Action Learning, a teaching philosophy that applies theoretical knowledge and team-focused work to real-life management challenges, is built on MIT’s mens et manus approach. MIT Sloan’s Global Entrepreneurship Lab (G-Lab) was founded over 20 years ago to engage students in the experiential study of entrepreneurial success.

“You cannot give [students] a book and say, read the book and then become an expert in dealing with uncertainty, ambiguity, and complexity; this is where Action Learning comes in.”

—Yasheng Huang
Faculty Director, MIT Sloan Action Learning; Epoch Foundation Professor of International Management; and Professor, Global Economics and Management

Today, Action Learning offers a portfolio of 20 courses centered on interdisciplinary topics such as analytics, health care, sustainability, and operations. Students work with local and global companies, including many entrepreneurs in emerging markets, helping them to build their networks while spreading MIT’s business acumen and philosophy. To date, Action Learning students and faculty have worked on more than 2,600 plus projects in the United States and around the globe.

Explore more
Action Learning Impact: Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in China

Global Startup Labs

The Global Startup Labs (GSL) program of the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) recruits undergrad and graduate students across the Institute to teach entrepreneurship around the world. Small teams of MIT students travel abroad to help other students develop tech-based companies. MISTI participants counsel startups, network with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, and teach real-world technology platforms. Initially launched in Kenya in 2000, MISTI GSL now offers programs in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

Over 200 MIT Global Startup Labs instructors have mentored more than 3,000 participants.

Over 200 MIT Global Startup Labs instructors have mentored more than 3,000 participants.

ASEAN Initiatives

Six years ago, MIT Sloan and Bank Negara Malaysia collaborated to create the Asia School of Business (ASB) in Kuala Lumpur—the largest international partnership in MIT Sloan’s history. ASB offers an award-winning experiential MBA program that enables working professionals to obtain cutting-edge knowledge and readies new leaders to enter Asia’s dynamic business world. An additional benefit to those at ASB is the membership gained to the global MIT network.

Thanks to the Campaign for a Better World, MIT’s presence in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region has continued to grow, promoting not only education but also rich research collaborations and other regional opportunities. Since 1999, 523 MIT Sloan Action Learning projects have engaged students across Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

“ASB brings together accomplished and inspiring students from all over the globe for an innovative and rigorous learning experience,” says Eric So, faculty director of the ASB Collaboration and the Sloan Distinguished Professor of Management.

A significant initiative has been the Thailand Summer Action Learning Internship, an alumni-funded program that provides MIT Sloan students with hands-on experience in business dynamics in the ASEAN region, while providing partner stakeholders a window into the management theory, frameworks, and tools taught at MIT Sloan.

This article was originally published in July 2021.

Share this story