Back in 2011, MIT began a project, supported by Skolkovo Foundation, to benchmark the leading E&I (“Entrepreneurship and Innovation”) University ecosystems in the world. The final report is now ready. The project was executed by Dr. Ruth Graham under the guidance of Professor Charles Cooney, Founder of MITs Deshpande Center for Technical Innovation, and Jose Estabil, Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the MIT Skoltech initiative.


There is a huge amount of interesting data, tools and frameworks for universities seeking to build E&I initiatives and ecosystems.  Among the 200 universities globally analysed, and leveraging 130 global experts, the report highlights Aalto as one of the 5 members of an “emerging group of leaders” in entrepreneurship and innovation.


“Three universities –MIT (US), Stanford University (US), and University of Cambridge (UK), well known for ground-breaking research, teaching, and inventions that impact our daily life– stand out within the two hundred top universities identified by innovation thought leaders. However, an emerging group of leaders (EGLs), operating in more challenging environments, points the way to practical strategies applicable for regions with less-than-favorable innovation ecosystem conditions. Technion (IS), Aalto University (FI), University of Michigan (US), KAIST (SA), and the University of Auckland (NZ) were recognized as the core group of these EGLs.”


The case study on Aalto is the most detailed independent study of its ecosystem to date, documenting the growth and connectivity of many of its elements, as shown in the below image from the case study.


Aalto ecosystem according to MIT
The key success factors were noted as:
  1. An egalitarian grassroots movement led by talented individuals
  2. Engagement and strengthening of the local startup ecosystem
  3. Leadership by Aalto senior management
The Aalto Ventures Program is highlighted as one of the keys to success for the ecosystem to continue to thrive.  Since the study was executed, the number of students participating annually in our courses has risen from 350 in its first year, to over 550 during academic year 2013-14. In addition AVP has been able to build excellent selection of courses and other opportunities for both Aalto students and staff. We at AVP look forward to continuing to do our part to drive the Aalto University E&I ecosystem to new heights!


The findings were released on Friday July 25 2014, and are available here:
Executive Summary (19 pages)
Full Report (141 pages, including case study on Aalto from page 48-65)