The MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP) is a capstone global initiative, which helps regions accelerate economic growth and promote social progress through innovation-driven entrepreneurship (IDE). Partner regions form multi-disciplinary teams and commit to a two-year learning engagement during which teams work with MIT faculty and the broader MIT REAP community to build and implement a custom regional strategy for enhancing their IDE ecosystems.
MIT REAP participants are comprised of a team of 5–8 leaders drawn from 5 key stakeholder groups (government, risk capital, universities, entrepreneurs and corporates). These stakeholders work collectively with others from their region and with MIT thought leaders to build out their action-based strategy for change. The team does so by deploying MIT framework to assess the region’s capacities and comparative advantages and how they influence the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The information derived from this assessment serves as a foundation for the team’s strategy and the implementation of that strategy.
The program participants attend highly interactive two-and-half day educational workshops twice each year where they work directly with MIT faculty and coaches to develop their regional strategy. The workshops are completed with a collection of 7–15 other global teams, which allows for a deeper understanding of economic development around the world. Between workshops, the teams engage in significant action-oriented activities in their region and leverage faculty coaching along the way. Each team determines its own “Must Win Battle” and begins the implementation of this project over the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Action Phases. Another component that teams are able to take advantage of during this time is the Global Innovation Network, an online community hosting the latest discussions, articles and research papers produced by MIT and partner regions. The online community enables regions to more effectively share analysis, execute action plans, and sustain impact.
The MIT REAP program emphasizes the distinct, yet interdependent, roles of innovative capacity and entrepreneurial capacity as it relates to an ‘innovation ecosystem’. The program does so by enabling regional team members to learn from MIT experts, catalyze regional action, and leverage global best practice through cross-regional collaboration. This hybrid educational and economic development program ultimately enables regional stakeholders to further social progress and accelerate economic growth at its core.