Each year, Forbes publishes a list of the 50 Most Entrepreneurial Universities in the United States based on the number of alumni and students who have identified themselves as founders and business owners on LinkedIn. This year, bay state universities dominated the list with eight schools making the cut, three of which are in the top 20.
From on-campus incubators to startup challenges, learn how Massachusetts universities are fostering entrepreneurship in education and supporting students in launching ventures.
#2 – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT offers a range of entrepreneurship courses for students ranging from introductory concepts to advanced topics. The epicenter of the university’s focus on entrepreneurship is The Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, which provides the expertise, support and connections to enable MIT students to become successful entrepreneurs. The state-of-the-art center located in Kendall Square provides collaborative workspaces and hosts speaker series and roundtable sessions. MIT's student venture accelerator, The MIT Global Founders’ Skills Accelerator, provides a capstone educational opportunity for student entrepreneurs with access to resources such as equity-free funding, subsidized housing, and dedicated workspace.
#13 – Northeastern University
A newcomer to the top 20, Northeastern empowers students to innovate, start new companies, and become leaders in the innovation economy through a series of integrated programs spanning from the classroom to co-ops to on-campus venture incubation. IDEA, Northeastern University’s student-led venture accelerator, has more than 100 active ventures with over 30 undergraduate-initiated ventures that have collectively raised nearly $30 million in startup capital over the past three years, and graduate ventures that have raised almost $50 million. Various student-led groups provide services to support IDEA ventures, such a branding, web development, and legal guidance. In addition to IDEA, Northeastern’s Entrepreneurship Club boasts over 1,500 members. The entire ecosystem is guided by the Northeastern University Center for Entrepreneurship Education, which recently received the Deshpande Foundation Award for Excellence in Student Engagement in Entrepreneurship.
#16 – Clark University
Clark University surpasses some of its Ivy League neighbors in Forbes’ list with their vigorous entrepreneurship program that enables students turn their ideas into businesses. Clark’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Minor is available to students from any major, combining real-world entrepreneurship alongside their area of study. Each year, the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Program sponsors the U-reka! Big Idea Challenge to help students improve Clark or the community, offering funding for the top three ideas.
#25 – Harvard University
It is no surprise that Harvard has a robust entrepreneurship program, but it may surprise you that startups were forbidden for Harvard undergraduate students until 2000: Harvard Business School had startup research and teaching for many years but it was not, and is largely still is not, available to undergraduates. Harvard has heavily invested in expanding its undergraduate entrepreneurship offerings over the past decade, and now offers a plethora of innovation and design thinking courses. The Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard (TECH)’s Startup R&D education program offers a capstone experience for student startup founders who are able to work on their startups for course credit while learning about development practices. TECH also runs the College’s premier undergraduate innovation challenge, provided the first incubator space for students, and runs an innovation fellows program that brings leading academic and industry innovators to the classroom. In 2011, Harvard recently launched the Harvard Innovation Lab, a designated co-working and networking space that is available to all Harvard students.
#26 – Boston University
Boston University’s campus is buzzing with entrepreneurship: BU’s center for entrepreneurship, The Buzz Lab, houses all entrepreneurship programs, faculty, student clubs, and startups. The Buzz Lab offers resources such as mentorship, coworking, and rapid prototyping space, and community events that engage alumni and accelerate learning. In addition to the lab, BU offers an entrepreneurship ecosystem that allows both undergraduate and graduate students to learn about, interact with, and launch ventures.
#37 – Brandeis University
Brandeis University’s International Business School hosts the Asper Center for Global Entrepreneurship as the school’s platform to examine and understand key trends affecting entrepreneurship across cultures and borders. The center provides a diverse range of learning experiences through courses, seminars, internships, competitions, and networking events.
#40 – Tufts University
Tufts’ Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies program (ELS) offers an innovative curriculum and programming that aims to deepen students’ knowledge of core business concepts and provides a wealth of hands-on experiences to put this knowledge into practice in the real world. The program is highly customizable and open to students from all schools and majors, allowing students to select individual classes as electives or work with an ELS advisor to structure a minor tailored to a student’s specific goals. Tufts encourages students to bring what they learn in the classroom into the startup world, providing early-stage startups with mentorship, funding, and support services. Early stage businesses can compete in The Tufts Idea Competition, awarding winners $1,000, mentorship, and invitations to startup-related workshops. Ventures can also apply for the $100k New Ventures Competition, one of the top entrepreneurship competitions in the US.
#47 – Boston College
Boston College is joining other top universities in the race to become a more entrepreneurial campus as they plan to open the new Edmund H. Shea Junior Center for Entrepreneurship. The center, slated to open this winter, will be space for undergraduate and graduate students to study entrepreneurship, prepare for starting their own companies or joining startups after graduation, and become a focal point for entrepreneurial research. Despite its current lack of a centralized entrepreneurship center, BC students have already launched some successful startups, including liquor-store delivery app company Drizly which has secured over $100 million in funding.
Sarah Urbonas is a Contributor for VentureFizz, a student at Northeastern University and currently an Integrated Marketing Co-Op withVMware in Palo Alto, CA.