We’re on Fire!

mittrustcenter2-bwMIT’s Martin Trust Center: Quietly Educating and Empowering Students to Positively Change the World

Our fantastic team at MIT’s Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship was recently selected for a BostInno 50 on Fire” award recognizing innovative individuals and organizations in and around Boston!

We were excited to join BostInno’s year-end celebration, held at the Moakley Courthouse on the waterfront, which recognized the city’s inventors, disrupters, luminaries, and newsmakers. Over 800 nominations were submitted for the awards, which were culled down to a list of 150 finalists. From those finalists, 50 were selected by a panel of judges to claim the title of “50 on Fire.” Here’s a list of all the winners, and the finalists in the Education category – our kudos to BUILD, Panorama, and Shorelight Education, the other winners in our category.

When MIT’s Martin Trust Center was announced as a winner, a cheer rose up from our staff. It was a powerful reminder that while we celebrate our students all year round, once in a while we need to celebrate the staff for the time and effort they put into creating and executing innovative and thought-leading programming.  A quick overview for those of you unfamiliar with the Trust Center …

The Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, as the name implies, fosters entrepreneurship at the Institute. It serves all students across all schools and disciplines.  At the Trust Center, we provide MIT students proven frameworks, a global network of experts and a dynamic home to develop their skills using our curriculum and programs. Our goal is to be entrepreneurial leaders by advancing the field of entrepreneurship at MIT and around the world.

In June, the center unveiled its remodeled and expanded co-working digs, which can better accommodate startups on campus, host larger events centered on entrepreneurship and has a new makerspace called Protoworks. The Trust Center is also home to “delta v,” MIT’s student venture accelerator. The accelerator provides a capstone educational opportunity for MIT student entrepreneurs preparing them to hit escape velocity and launch into the real world, culminating in the accelerator’s Demo Day.

Our team at the Trust Center includes: Bill Aulet, Alicia Carelli, Elaine Chen, Eliza Deland, Pat Fuligni, Sorin Grama, Donna Levin, Tommy Long, Leah Lovgren, Erin Martin, Nick Meyer, Laurie Stach, Marvin Wilma, Greg Wymer, and all those that have gone before us…. The center is a rotation of folks who bring fresh perspectives and raise the bar on our thinking.

We believe it is important to view entrepreneurship as a craft, and we provide apprentice-like experiences for our students. These students want to make a positive impact in the world, and we enable that through our innovative, well-executed programming, along with the community support that makes the Trust Center so special.  We don’t shed a spotlight on it too much, but once in a while it is nice to shine a light on a creative team that executes in a world-class manner…that is the Martin Trust Center, and I’m proud to be a part of it!  Entrepreneurship is a craft that can be taught. Want to see more? This video captures all the winners clowning around during the photo shoot. Thanks to BostInno for showcasing the innovative talent we have here in Boston!

P.S. I’d also like to give a shout out to friends of the Trust Center who were at the awards including Drift, Pill Pack, Melissa James, Coach Up, Paul English, and Katie Rae, just to name a few …

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Innovation in Real Estate: An Entrepreneurial Perspective

Presenting at MIT's Innovation in Real Estate Conference

Presenting at MIT’s Innovation in Real Estate Conference

I recently participated in the Innovation in Real Estate Conference at MIT, held at the MIT Media Lab. (If you don’t know the Media Lab at MIT, it is a magical place from the moment you step foot in the building. Art, Engineering Disciplines and Business are integrated into a place where creativity is encouraged and interdisciplinary work is the norm. I love it there!)

At the conference, a team from our summer GFSA Accelerator Program asked me to participate on a panel about the role real estate plays in innovation. Real Estate is essential in setting the right structure for an organization. For both businesses and institutions, space is often at a premium and you need ensure you use it wisely. This led me to think about the space we have at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship that houses the Accelerator program, and also the role of real estate and the workplace of the future in three of the start-ups recently launched.

MIT’s Martin Trust Center Expands to accommodate more Accelerator Teams

At the Martin Trust Center, we have an open area that also has conference rooms, phone rooms to make calls all over the world, office supplies and equipment … and all the coffee, Ramen Noodles, and oatmeal that students can eat! We are expanding our space, and with that expansion we hope to take in 50% more teams into the Accelerator. This is terrific news to the applicants where turned many teams away.

The Trust Center at MIT is a work space that is supported by mentors and staff who help enhance learning and enthusiasm. Speakers who present at the center are MIT faculty, community leaders, and practitioners. Both the space and the people at the center make it a vibrant place to work.

Why is the space special? It is a place where like-minded people can meet and share ideas, coffee, and work in a collaborative work space. It is also where some of the new ideas about what a workplace will look like in the future.

Workplaces of the Future

Real estate innovation also encompasses how spaces will be transformed to fit future needs. Four of the start-ups who were part of the Accelerator program look at space in a new and innovative ways.

Spyce is a healthy automated restaurant that fits into a 20 square foot area, Tekuma curates art for Airbnb’s unique places to stay (and our space as well!), Morphlab is another real estate related venture that brings robotic furniture to small spaces to increase functionality. And, finally Smarking addresses the real estate of parking spaces with an application that optimizes parking. These are just a few of the new projects that are bringing innovation to real estate.

The message at the conference came through loud and clear that innovation in real estate is here. On a personal note, I can tell you as we reconfigure our space at the Trust Center, optimization and utilization are important, but maintaining the collaborative and entrepreneurial culture is first and foremost.