Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab at MIT pilots innovation cohort to launch StartSmart programme

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

The Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL), a research centre at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has unveiled its new innovation collaborative to help aspiring entrepreneurial innovators to start smart. With three regions covered in a pilot phase – Central and Eastern Europe, Southern Europe and Saudi Arabia – the new collaborative will launch regional StartSmart programmes to nurture entrepreneurship learning and development in settings with a growing demand for innovation linked to technology. J-WEL is collaborating with the Foundation for Technology Entrepreneurship in Poland for Central and Eastern Europe; the Greek Technology Enterprise Forum in Southern Europe; and Bab Rizq Jameel in Saudi Arabia.

The StartSmart programmes seek to expand entrepreneurial innovation support across settings offering abundant opportunities for evidence-based, field-tested and academically grounded approaches that can prompt impactful innovation to reach members of the communities most in need while enhancing participants’ entrepreneurial capabilities.

The collaborative will leverage the partners’ track record of fuelling innovation in their regions and their extensive experience of working directly with aspiring entrepreneurs and corporate innovation processes.

Through J-WEL’s experience and extensive relationships with faculty and researchers from MIT and higher education institutions across the world, J-WEL will work with its partners to support student entrepreneurs and aspiring innovators across all life stages in learning about technology and entrepreneurial thinking.

Dr Anjali Sastry, faculty director of J-WEL and associate dean for open learning at MIT, said: “J-WEL’s innovation collaborative provides the MIT ecosystem with a new route for us all to learn as we support and study academically grounded innovation programmes in varied settings: Poland and Central and Eastern Europe; Saudi Arabia; and Greece and Southern Europe. StartSmart members are ready to inspire and equip a wide range of entrepreneurially minded learners who will put what they learn to use within their communities and regions. The careers they build, the solutions they develop, and the new businesses they create will benefit many.”

Nader Iskandar Diab, senior policy and operations officer at Community Jameel, said: “We are extremely pleased to see the launch of J-WEL's new innovation collaborative. Through their respective expertise and with the resources that will be availed to them through the partnership with MIT, we hope to see a strengthened base of support for aspiring innovators as they develop new solutions to existing challenges.”

J-WEL acts as a collaboration hub at MIT for educational innovators to explore new ideas and insights from across campuses and the world. J-WEL member organisations benefit from customised workshops, global linkages to like-minded educators, access to MIT resources and a curation of collaboration avenues to enable them to better serve learners.