Announcing MIT REAP Cohort 5, 2017-2019

June 22, 2017

MIT REAP Announces Global Cohort from Ecuador to Lebanon


June 22, 2017

MIT’s Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP) announces the acceptance of its 5th Cohort of international regional teams from Algeria, Ghana, Australia, Ecuador, Lebanon, and others on the heels of the successful graduation of Cohort 3 teams from Saudi Arabia, Israel, Thailand, China, Chile, Norway, Japan, and Wales. As Cohort 3 joins the ranks of MIT REAP Alumni in the MIT Global Innovation Network (GIN), the new set of regional teams, comprised of up to eight team members representing government, risk capital, academia, corporate and the entrepreneurial community, are entering a two-year learning engagement with MIT.

“It’s very important for all five of these stakeholder groups to be represented throughout the program to create a shared vision for the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” says MIT REAP Director, Sarah Jane Maxted.

Through the program, teams will learn and adapt the frameworks developed by MIT to accelerate Innovation-Driven Entrepreneurship (IDE) in their region. The teams will be working from July until September 2017 to formalize the roles of each team member, analyze the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, and determine some of the team’s high-level goals for the two-year program.

“Each region has applied to MIT REAP with a particular ‘urgency for change’ or problem area in their region’s overall system that they want to see addressed,” says Maxted.

Each team is required to identify a regional challenge that is hindering the growth of IDE. The MIT REAP faculty will then work with the teams to identify their region’s comparative advantages and the acceleration mechanisms that the team can deploy to promote IDE.

The strategic interventions that teams typically choose to implement range in scope from accelerator programs and regional prizes to entrepreneurial education within local technical universities. Each of these mechanisms is intended to leverage the region’s unique history and strengths to spur economic and social progress. Examples of strategic interventions teams have previously constructed include an online platform connecting entrepreneurs to resources in Wales, the creation of a program to help early stage businesses in London scale-up, and an open entrepreneurship and innovation center in Tokyo for regional university students, faculty and researchers to engage with one another. Many of these interventions contain elements of programs that have been proven successful at MIT and in the Boston/Cambridge entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Each partner region that participates in Cohort 5 will also be working in conjunction with a wide range of other peer partner regions including the following:

  • Algeria – led by Yassine Djeridane of CDTA Incubator
  • Ghana – led by Ussif Mustapha, Executive Director of the National Service Secretariat
  • Lebanon – led by Bassim Halaby, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Benchmark International
  • Melbourne, Australia – led by Ben Rimmer, CEO of the City of Melbourne
  • Queensland, Australia – led by Professor Arun Sharma, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
  • Quito, Ecuador – led by Professor Andrés Robalino-López, Innovation & Technology Transfer Coordinator of Escuela Politécnica Nacional
  • Yakutia, Russia – led by Tatyana Bravina, Deputy Minister of Sakha Republic , and Investment Development Agency of the Republic of Sakha
  • King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia – led by Dr. Abdullah Alsagheir, Vice Governor of the SME Authority and Osama M. Ashri, Head of SMEs and Entrepreneurship at King Abdullah Economic City

The overlapping regions from Cohort 4 and Cohort 5 will allow the newer teams to learn from and be mentored by the Cohort 4 teams who have begun to implement some of their strategic interventions. In addition, the Cohort 5 teams will have the opportunity to be mentored by the MIT REAP Alumni in the Global Innovation Network. These Alumni REAP Teams are continuing to implement their long term strategies and can provide deep insight into shared opportunities and challenges. By using IDE as a catalyst, each of these teams will find new ways to solve some of the region’s deepest challenges.

MIT REAP is part of MIT Sloan Office of International Programs.


Authors: Sarah Jane Maxted, Director of MIT REAP and Travis Hunter, Program Manager at MIT REAP