Undaunted by global pandemic, MIT REAP’s strategy to accelerate innovation-driven entrepreneurship nimbly adapts and thrives

September 2, 2020

MIT REAP program and virtual events are reimagined to empower key stakeholders to rapidly address COVID-19-driven economic challenges.

In June 2020, the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (MIT REAP) convened its two current cohorts from 13 global regions for its first fully virtual Bridge Event. MIT REAP, a MIT Sloan Global Programs initiative that engages with communities around the world to strengthen innovation-driven entrepreneurial (IDE) ecosystems, has historically gathered teams on the MIT campus for an impactful, two-day drink-from-the-firehose learning, strategy, and networking event. Driven by COVID-19 health concerns and travel restrictions, the Bridge Event was redesigned to provide this critical springboard for success within a virtual environment. To facilitate the adaptation of the program to pandemic-driven challenges, timely new research was shared by MIT REAP faculty leaders Fiona Murray, Scott Stern, Phil Budden, Shari Loessberg, Bill Aulet, and Michael Cusumano, exploring the emerging role of innovation and entrepreneurship in the public health and economic crises, as well as strategies the teams can test as they design their program and policy interventions for innovation and entrepreneurship growth. With success metrics in hand, MIT REAP looks forward to multiplying the positive outcome at their Digital Overlap Workshops in September.

“Although MIT REAP has always employed virtual communication technologies for global collaboration, we’ve traditionally harnessed MIT’s unparalleled convening power to host four annual in-person workshops, per cohort, that facilitate learning, strategic networking, and productive collaborations between regions,” said MIT REAP Director, Travis Hunter. “To replicate this successful in-person convening model in the virtual environment, and to adapt to new challenges, MIT REAP leaned on recent research and insights from its MIT Sloan faculty leadership.”