Northeastern wins top innovation prize

The Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange recognized IDEA and the Entrepreneurs Club as the state’s top contributors to innovation in higher education.

The Mass­a­chu­setts Inno­va­tion and Tech­nology Exchange has rec­og­nized two student-​​run orga­ni­za­tions — IDEA, Northeastern’s Ven­ture Accel­er­ator, and the Entre­pre­neurs Club — as the state’s top con­trib­u­tors to inno­va­tion in higher education.

MITX is a non­profit trade asso­ci­a­tion for the dig­ital mar­keting and Internet busi­ness industry. Its annual awards rec­og­nize entre­pre­neur­ship leaders from across Massachusetts.

“When I came here as a freshman, the E-​​Club meet­ings were small, maybe 20 people at a big one, and IDEA hadn’t even started,” said Matt Bilotti, club pres­i­dent and third-​​year stu­dent. “And just a few years in, entre­pre­neur­ship has really exploded at North­eastern and we’re being rec­og­nized as one of the top places for it.”

North­eastern beat out two other nom­i­nees for the top prize in a cer­e­mony on Tuesday night — Harvard’s I-​​Lab and Boston College’s TechTrek East. Plastic cheer­leading mega­phones were pre­sented to each winner during a light­hearted cer­e­mony, because the offi­cial awards, custom-​​designed plaques, were lost in the mail.

Northeastern’s vic­tory, said IDEA CEO Chris Wolfel, “proves that entre­pre­neur­ship starting from the bottom up works. In just a few years, we’re being rec­og­nized with the top tier of schools.”

Wolfel and Bilotti said Northeastern’s suc­cess hinges on the university’s student-​​centric approach to entre­pre­neur­ship, with a par­tic­ular focus on building a robust sup­port system that helps stu­dents nav­i­gate the busi­ness world and create new ven­tures from scratch.

“We do things dif­fer­ently than a lot of other schools,” Bilotti said. “We under­stand the fact that stu­dents want to have fun and enjoy them­selves while still learning, so everyone is having a good time while building com­pa­nies and devel­oping new ideas.”