Northeastern wins top innovation prize

June 14, 2012

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

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.”