Course Overview

Have you ever wondered where to locate your startup? Have you thought about how you and your organization might improve your local innovation ecosystem? Have you asked what makes Kendall Square special as a place for entrepreneurial firms and what other regions might learn from our experience?

Innovation Ecosystems for Regional Entrepreneurship-Acceleration Leaders is a practical MIT course aimed at students wishing for a research-based but action-oriented understanding of how to accelerate innovation-driven entrepreneurship and build vibrant regional economies. It takes as its starting point the innovation-driven entrepreneurship ecosystems (iEcosystems) that have served as the foundation of many successful regions since the first industrial revolution, and now characterize places such as Silicon Valley, Boston/Cambridge, London, Israel and Singapore.

The course takes the perspective of five critical stakeholders: entrepreneurs, risk capital providers, and universities, as well as policymakers (government) and large corporations. It provides frameworks for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of innovation-driven entrepreneurship in particular regions, and then focuses on interventions – programs and policies – that can be designed and implemented across regional economies worldwide.


The course also takes a systematic approach to assessing the metrics of ‘innovation-driven entrepreneurship’ ecosystems (iEcosystems). Our recent Working Paper is published to seek feedback from researchers, practitioners, decision-makers, and students in our iECO4REAL class!

Course Design

We aim to have a strongly interactive class (with around 30 students) that meets once a week. There will be readings for each session and students will be expected to be prepared to make insightful and thoughtful contributions to class discussions.

Class sessions will take three different forms:

  • Focus on different approaches to entrepreneurial acceleration e.g. Porter’s cluster approach versus Feld’s entrepreneurs approach.
  • Case studies of different regions – either individual regions or as a paired comparison.
  • Analyses of specific programs and practices with examples e.g. design of accelerators

The course is open to students from across the MIT community and beyond. It is likely to be of particular interest to students from MIT Sloan (especially Sloan Fellows) and DUSP as well as the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) of Government and School of Business, as well as Wellesley College. Students in MIT’s TPP, EMBA, MBA, and SF programs will find this of particular interest. We believe that students engaged in the Legatum Center, D-Lab and IDEA Challenge will also be valuable contributors to this course. Remote class participation is possible, especially to accommodate eMBAs.

Students from a variety of different backgrounds and perspectives will benefit from the class.


Tuesdays in Spring, 5:30–8:30 pm


  • Professor Fiona MurrayMIT Sloan School of Management
    Co-Director, MIT Innovation Initiative, Associate Dean for Innovation and Inclusion
  • Dr. Phil Budden, MIT Sloan School of Management


For more information about the iECO4REAL course, please visit the MIT Innovation Initiative page.