During January 2016, an all-star roster of speakers shared their insights and experiences with MIT student audiences in sessions such as “Funding Strategies from Seed to Exit,” “Why Do Startups Fail?” and “How to Market a Startup at Time t=0.” These were interspersed with guided activities such as “Customer Interview Simulation” and “What is Your Idea/Value Proposition?”
During Independent Activities Period, the rapid-fire schedule of StartMIT seeks to expose MIT undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs to all things entrepreneurial. An outgrowth of Start6—a program run by MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science—StartMIT is a not-quite-three-week, full-credit course during which students hear from and meet with leaders in innovation, participate in activities to refine their projects, and attend events with MIT alumni and other leaders in the Boston entrepreneurial ecosystem. In addition to sessions like those above, the program offers mentorship opportunities, meetings with MIT alumni, and field trips where students can experience startup culture firsthand. Many of the teams who have participated in StartMIT have gone on to start their own companies.
“StartMIT is basically a playground for aspiring entrepreneurs,” wrote one MIT undergraduate blogger following the 2016 session. She enthused: “We got to interact with some of the coolest and most forward-thinking entrepreneurs in their field. Imagine learning about marketing from someone who started a company to sell marketing software. Or getting pointers on how to commercialize research from someone who has done it successfully 10 times.… Dozens of experienced entrepreneurs, all in one place, willing to field questions from an overeager freshman? That’s an opportunity I couldn’t pass up!”