Resources at MIT
We know that your projects are fostered and supported by so many departments and centers at MIT. We work closely with many colleagues across the institute to facilitate student development, including:
The new focus of the Carroll L. Wilson Award is to provide an opportunity for one or more recent MIT undergraduates to pursue a challenging international activity that would have excited the interest and enthusiasm of Carroll Wilson.
CoLab is a center for planning and development within the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. CoLab supports the development and use of knowledge from excluded communities to deepen civic engagement, improve community practice, inform policy, mobilize community assets, and generate shared wealth.
CITE is developing a rigorous methodology for evaluating technological solutions to challenges in the developing world to help donors and policy-makers identify and invest in the best of these solutions.
The MIT Clean Energy Prize is a catalyst to significantly accelerate the pace of energy innovation and entrepreneurship.
The D-Lab Scale-Ups Fellowship Program is an acceleration platform for innovators and entrepreneurs who seeking to turn appropriate technologies into scalable and sustainable social ventures. The fellowship is a 12-month program that provides a monetary grant and access to customized mentoring, skills building resources, and partnership cultivation opportunities.
Build prototypes, learn new skills, explore madcap ideas, and get advice and encouragement—the Edgerton Center is the place where mind and hand come together.
Teams present an education technology solution for the proposed challenge topic or location. Teams can present a solution that is already in the market (US market for example) or one that they or a startup is working on.
The Emerging Worlds initiative is a bottom-up innovation platform designed for addressing big challenges worldwide. Emerging worlds – cities, states, or regions – present great opportunities to test and deploy ideas. We convene people with diverse interests, skills and backgrounds – young engineers, business people and designers – to collaborate openly with government officials, business leaders and academics, as well as with Media Lab researchers.
The MIT Entrepreneurs Club is an academic club that focuses on helping to develop all aspects of science, engineering and technology business creation.
The MIT Food & Agribusiness Innovation Prize is a business-plan competition for university and graduate students, run by the Food & Ag Club.
The MIT Global Founders' Skills Accelerator is MIT's student venture accelerator, providing a capstone educational opportunity for MIT student entrepreneurs that prepares them to hit escape velocity and launch into the real world.
IDIN empowers a diverse, global network of innovators to design, develop, and disseminate technologies to improve the lives of people living in poverty. It is a five-year program led by D-Lab and implemented by a global consortium of academic, institutional, and innovation center partners.
The MIT Industrial Liaison Program (ILP) is dedicated to creating and strengthening mutually beneficial relationships between MIT and corporations worldwide. Established in 1948, the ILP continues to be a key player in making industrial connections for MIT.
The MIT Innovation Initiative is an Institute-wide, multi-year agenda to transform the Institute’s innovation ecosystem — internally, around the globe and with its partners — for accelerated impact well into the 21st century.
J-WAFS works towards environmentally benign, scalable solutions for water and food systems across a range of regional, social, and economic contexts by incubating technologies and fostering innovative regional collaborations.
The Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship catalyzes entrepreneurship for broad-based prosperity in low-income countries. The Center was founded on the belief that economic progress and good governance in low-income countries emerge from, and support, entrepreneurship and innovations that empower ordinary citizens.
The Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship provides the expertise, support and connections needed for MIT students to become effective entrepreneurs. We serve all MIT students, across all schools, across all disciplines. The Trust Center offers a fantastic range of regular programs and events.
MISTI works with MIT students, faculty, and international partners and sponsors to build strong intercultural connections, advance crucial research with global implications, and help MIT students develop into true world leaders capable of shaping the future.
Join at any stage – Pitch, Accelerate, or Launch. Dream Big. Create. Win.
Africa Innovate is an intimate showcase of the latest ideas and innovations in entrepreneurship, finance, healthcare, energy and education.
A Facebook forum where current MIT Undergraduate and Graduate students come to seek Co-Founders, offer expertise, and provide introductions to enable a healthy entrepreneurial environment.
A compass for students and alumni to navigate MIT's vast entrepreneurial network and find teammates, partners, and supporters. The site hosts an interest and idea sharing platform to connect people.
This organization, founded more than 30 years ago, serves as a platform for entrepreneurial networking, inspiration, and education. The Enterprise Forum's 24 chapters, open to alumni and non-alumni entrepreneurs alike, host 300+ programs annually.
The annual MIT FinTech Business Plan Competition is where the leading FinTech companies and business ideas developed by MIT and Harvard students are showcased to the FinTech ecosystem. A prestigious judging panel composed by faculty, professionals and investors choose the winners, which receive important cash prizes.
The MIT Global Startup Workshop (MIT GSW) was founded in 1997 when the MIT $50K (now $100K) Entrepreneurship Competition received numerous queries from around the world from organizations interested in starting and improving their own business plan competitions (BPCs).
The Inclusive Innovation Competition identifies and celebrates those organizations that are inventing a more inclusive, productive, and sustainable future for all. We're looking for applications in four categories: Skills, Matching, Humans + Machines, and New Models.
The mission of MIT Technology Review is to equip its audiences with the intelligence to understand a world shaped by technology.
LEAP stands for Learn, Explore, Act, & Prepare. These grants help students to do service work and to build their skills and knowledge to be effective at service work.
The Fellowships program supports MIT students working on capacity-building service projects around the world. Fellows work with community-focused organizations such as non-profits, government offices, international aid agencies, schools, grassroots groups, student-initiated service enterprises and even for-profit businesses if the business is using a social-entrepreneurship model to address the needs of an under-served community.
MIT Sandbox, open to all MIT undergraduate and graduate students provides: seed funding ($1K to $25K), tailored education through courses, workshops, events; advising/mentoring from entrepreneurs, industry experts, investors; and access to resources, including the hobby shop, maker spaces, materials, software.
StartMIT provides opportunities for MIT’s students and postdocs to dive into everything entrepreneurship. It is a two-and-a-half week course, for full credit, in which innovators and entrepreneurs from across the U.S. gather to share expertise with participants. StartMIT grew out Start6, a program run by MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Learn more in the video below.
MIT Startup Exchange (STEX) is a platform where the world's most innovative companies and startups can connect to collaborate or partner on new technologies and markets.
The Tata Center for Technology and Design trains and supports MIT researchers working to solve the toughest challenges facing communities in India and the developing world. A number of IDEAS projects have also been supported by Tata Fellowships.
VMS supports innovation and entrepreneurial activity throughout the MIT community by matching both prospective and experienced entrepreneurs with skilled volunteer mentors.
Intellectual Property, Patenting, and Legal Resources
Read more about the IDEAS program's policy on intellectual property of students here.
The Entrepreneurship, IP & Cyberlaw Program is a unique partnership between BU Law and MIT. Student entrepreneurs and innovators from MIT and BU are advised by BU Law students on the legal and regulatory compliance issues associated with their academic and extracurricular pursuits and their efforts to turn ideas into businesses. Hosted at the Martin Trust Center.
The Technology Licensing Office manages the patenting, licensing, trademarking and copyrighting of intellectual property developed at MIT, Lincoln Laboratory and the Whitehead Institute and serves as an educational resource on intellectual property and licensing matters for the MIT community.
The MIT libraries can also help you with Patent and IP issues, including showing you how to conduct a basic patent search to determine the originality and innovation of your project.
Legal Resources (non-MIT)
Want to know more about B(enefit) Corporations? Check out this website with rich information.
Echoing Green collects and shares general information about the types of social organizations that their fellowship applicants manage. They have produced several reports on “how for-profit, non-profit, and hybrid social enterprises have secured seed and early stage philanthropic and investment capital to building advice and perspectives on fundraising, negotiating, and blending capital from the entrepreneurs and funders.”
HLEP provides free legal research and analysis for entrepreneurs at Harvard and MIT. We match entrepreneurs with teams of several Harvard Law School students and leading startup attorneys from prominent law firms in the Boston area. Legal questions can cover a broad range of substantive subjects depending on the startup's needs. To apply for the free service, go to the site above.
We match Massachusetts nonprofits with pro bono lawyers and host legal workshops for nonprofits through the following programs: Legal Referral Program; Legal Assessment Program; Legal Workshops for Nonprofits; Access to Justice Fellows Program.
How to structure your venture for impact. Kyle discusses various types of legal statuses and raises questions to help teams consider which might be most appropriate for facilitating their work.
A platform to find qualified consultants to help your team with regulatory strategy & approval, HIPPA Regulations, audits, non-complicance, clinical trials, and more.
A resource for entrepreneurs and founders of startups in various stages of growth. A past IDEAS winner has used their services and reported that WilmerHale also has a deferred legal payment program for startups.
Workshops, Maker Spaces, and Co-Working
In 2016, a new resource called “Mobius” launched at MIT, as part of Project Manus. The MIT Mobius system is designed to help members of the MIT community navigate the vast array of resources used to 'make' or measure available on campus. MIT community members have access to this system via the Mobius app (iOS & Android).
Available only to qualified students (see website for details).
Available only to qualified students (see website for details).
The MIT Electronics Research Society is a student run EE lab, machine shop, and staging area for large projects.
Open to all MIT student teams working towards social impact. Come during regular business hours and talk to Jack Whipple.
Space outside of MIT
For a more complete list, visit the Boston Startup Guide. Also check out the StartHub Boston site, which lists spaces, incubators, accelerators, events, startups, etc. in the area. Other spaces that IDEAS teams have utilized include:
Artisan’s Asylum, Inc. is a non-profit community craft studio. Our mission is to support and promote the teaching, learning and practicing of a wide variety of crafts. Great amenities, trainings, storage space, and more. Monthly rates range from $60-150, depending on membership and access levels.
We enable entrepreneurs to solve big energy problems. Our mission is to enable a vibrant community of entrepreneurs to work on their visions and to provide access to the space, resources, and funding that allows their early-stage companies to thrive.
NGIN Workplace (Walking distance from Kendall)
Co-working space, printing, office & desk options, international calling, shuttles to Kendall/MIT, 24/7 access, and a café. Ask about discounted rates for MIT IDEAS – they offered them before.
Key MIT Offices
MIT has a web page with links to information on official MIT policy on a range of subjects. A number of MIT Offices will consult with students about issues relating to IDEAS projects. Their websites also contain useful information.
Federal mandate and longstanding MIT policy requires that the Committee on the Use of Humans as Experimental Subjects (COUHES) review and approve all research involving human subjects that is performed under the auspices of MIT.
Environment, Health & Safety at MIT – Protocols & Safety Plans
Before starting lab or other experimental work – whether at MIT or elsewhere – you will need to file a Safety Plan with us, which we need to be reviewed and approved by the appropriate DLC coordinator. Find our Safety Template here.
MIT Medical can advise you on general health policy and issues and travel health, and can also let you know what you are covered for by MIT’s medical insurance.
The Insurance office deals with MIT personal, property, and travel insurance. At the link above, you will also find more information about ISOS, the Travel Clinic, and Travel Risk Policy.
OGC offers legal services and counseling to the MIT community on MIT matters. They can advise you on issues of risk management and liability, amongst others, for student projects. However, they will not provide legal assistance for any legal entities students have created (e.g. non-profits, for-profits, benefit corporations, etc.) to implement projects.
The Travel Office website includes details of the MIT general travel policy, the travel risk policy, and travel insurance information. There are also lists of the countries that you cannot travel to using MIT funds.
Other Competitions, Incubators, and Accelerators
There are many other competitions that you could enter using your IDEAS application as a starting point; some are listed below. They all have their own requirements and guidelines so check out their websites for details.
Also check out the StartHub Boston site, which lists spaces, incubators, accelerators, events, startups, etc. in the area.
Youth Venture shares Ashoka vision of an Everyone A Changemaker™ world - a world that responds quickly and effectively to social challenges and where each individual has the freedom, confidence and societal support to drive change.
Big Ideas@Berkeley is an annual contest aimed at providing funding, support, and encouragement to interdisciplinary teams of students who have “big ideas.”
The Cartier Women's Initiative Awards are an international business plan competition created in 2006 by Cartier, the Women's Forum, McKinsey & Company and INSEAD business school to identify, support and encourage projects by women entrepreneurs.
The accelerator includes six months of clean tech-specific mentoring, visibility and networking to boost your startup to the next level.
Since 2010, the Cordes Fellows program has provided annual scholarships for 50 of the world’s most promising emerging social entrepreneurs to participate as full Delegates in the Opportunity Collaboration.
D-Prize is a call to the world’s boldest entrepreneurs. Can you design a new social enterprise and solve one of the distribution challenges we’ve identified? If selected, we will award you up to $20,000 to launch a pilot in Africa, India, or another other developing region.
Davis Projects for Peace typically offers a $10,000 fellowship for an MIT undergraduate student project that promotes peace, to be implemented in the summer. At MIT
Dorm Room Fund is a student-run venture firm that invests in student-run companies. Our team is all students and our mission is to inspire and support more careers in the startup industry.
Through the two-year Echoing Green Fellowship program, they provide start-up capital and technical assistance to help new leaders launch their organizations and build capacity of their social enterprise.
The P3 competition will provide grants to teams of college students to research, develop, and design sustainable solutions to environmental challenges.
Provides aspiring entrepreneurs with mentoring, exposure, and $50,000 in prizes to transform their ideas into businesses that will have positive real world impact. Teams must include a graduate business student from any business school in the world.
The Hult Prize Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to launching the world's next wave of social entrepreneurs. It encourages the world's brightest business minds to compete in teams to solve the planet's biggest challenges with innovative ideas for sustainable start-up enterprises. Annual Hult Prize winners can make their ideas reality with the help of USD1 million in seed funding.
IPA honors and encourages innovative achievements that contribute toward developing new products, increasing efficiency or saving cost in Africa. The prize also promotes among young African men and women the pursuit of science, technology and engineering careers as well as business opportunities with potential of contributing to sustainable development in Africa.
Each year, the James Dyson Foundation administers the James Dyson Award for undergraduate and graduate students to design something that solves a problem. The James Dyson Award is an international design award that celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers.
Prizes will be awarded to U.S.-based individuals or teams addressing this country’s most pressing needs through social sector innovation. The Prize seeks to support inter-disciplinary innovation in the fields of cultural heritage, human rights, the built environment, and the natural environment
MassChallenge is an opportunity to dramatically accelerate your business. Startups in MassChallenge receive free resources and opportunities, including mentorship, office space, and access to a global network. Finalist startups will also compete for millions in non-dilutive cash awards: over $1.5 million in MassChallenge Boston.
PROPEL is a startup acceleration program for prototype development. During the six-month program in Boston, startups will build their individual products toward integrated solutions and viable business models that can radically change how we interact with our environment.
The Rolex Awards are open to anyone over 18 years of age, of any nationality, whose ground-breaking project is helping to expand the knowledge of our world and improve the quality of life on the planet.
The Public Service Center has a strong relationship with several Rotary Clubs (with MIT alumni) who are excited to help support IDEAS projects. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. You must work through a Rotary Club to jointly submit a grant application.
Shell Ideas360 is more a global competition that connects students to develop ideas to tackle the pressures on the world’s Food, Water and Energy resources.
The organizers of this Challenge are really keen to see Stanford-MIT collaborations.
Techstars provides $118,000 in seed funding, intensive mentorship, and an amazing network of mentors and alumni for 7-10% equity in your company.
Unreasonable Institute gets entrepreneurs what they need to scale solutions to the world’s biggest problems. We identify entrepreneurs with the potential to address problems like poverty, lack of education, and social injustice at scale, and then work to help each of these ventures scale up to meaningfully impact the lives of at least one million people each.
VentureWell’s E-Team Program gives college students the chance to move new tech ideas out of the lab and classroom and into the marketplace. The three-stage program provides grant funding, experiential workshops, veteran coaching and a potential investment opportunity to help teams manifest their projects’ full commercial potential. Up to $75k for teams that are selected for all three rounds.
A Shot At $1M For A World-Changing Idea: The Verizon Powerful Answers Award is on the search for the most innovative solutions that could drive progress in Emergency Response, Internet of Things (IoT), and Transportation.