The Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship
The Legatum Center empowers the MIT community to accelerate social and economic progress through innovation-driven entrepreneurship
The Legatum Center was founded on the belief that entrepreneurs and their market-driven solutions are critical to advancing prosperity within emerging markets. While global prosperity has in fact increased in recent decades, the progress is uneven, with the worst deprivations concentrated in specific geographies. The Center’s mission is to drive more inclusive prosperity by promoting principled entrepreneurship and innovation, and by building pathways for the next generation of entrepreneurs to build businesses in emerging markets that will create good jobs, transform systems, and improve lives.
We are a diverse team representing different geographies around the globe, and draw on the Institute’s talent, networks, presence and expertise to inspire and equip those who want to move their ideas toward scalable impact.
We offer a portfolio of programs that support students at every stage of their entrepreneurial journey, from those still discovering their path, to those exploring specific market opportunities, to those executing a plan that transforms opportunity into an innovative venture.
Discovery – For students that seek inspiration, we run a series of events including discovery sessions and ideation workshops. For example, we host faculty-led panels around topics like the UN Sustainable Development Goals and how emerging technologies are impacting frontier markets, as well as the opportunities and obstacles facing entrepreneurs who tackle these complex social challenges.
Exploration – For students exploring a specific idea for impact we offer limited travel grants so they can test their customer and product assumptions in the field. We also offer mentorship services through our Entrepreneur in Residence and professional advisory network. We encourage students to participate in student-led club activities as well as any activities we support as part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, like the “Get Good Stuff Done” workshops.
Execution – Our capstone program—a competitive Fellowship—is reserved for our most promising and committed students. Each year we build a cohort of 20-25 students who are dedicated to building and scaling ventures in the developing world. We provide them with tuition, travel, and prototyping support, as well as access to mentors, special seminars, and other cross-campus resources.
The Legatum Center provides channels for entrepreneurs across the world to access MIT resources and contribute to our community. We also provide opportunities for Legatum Center alumni to engage in our on-campus activities and global recruitment efforts through competitions, conferences, and other events. These programs enable students, alumni, and faculty to build and strengthen international partnerships and seek new research and business opportunities.
We learn much from our students and alumni as well as from the global entrepreneurship community. Leveraging this valuable knowledge allows us to advance research and thought leadership that can influence entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, and other stakeholders. Included in this thought leadership is our Legatum Center blog, podcast, and speaker series.
Our research agenda includes case studies highlighting the experiences of our alumni, working papers, support for and coalescence of existing MIT research efforts to understand the impact of innovation and entrepreneurship in the developing world, and research led by our Scholars in Residence, who are leaders in the field of social innovation and entrepreneurship.
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