This June, MIT’s 2018 International Workshop on Innovating (IWI2018) attracted more than 30 entrepreneurs from Portuguese and other European universities.

IWI is a residential, hands-on program, supported by the MIT Portugal Program (MPP) and co-organized by MIT and MPP faculty, focused on exposing participants to critical elements that lead to an understanding of innovation and mastering of entrepreneurial challenges that are central for translating innovation into solutions for real-world problems and demands. The workshop is primarily designed for aspiring entrepreneurs who are planning to start entrepreneurial activities in the near future and entrepreneurs who have started or are in the process of starting their business.

Instructors and participants from ten different nations, representing novel entrepreneurial ideas as well as emerging and new start-ups, jointly transformed the classroom into a space of collaborative exchange and translational innovation, combining entrepreneurial theory and practice through interactive seminars, hands-on exercises, and selected guest lectures by entrepreneurs and visionaries, who have successfully brought ideas to market. More than twenty of the participants were from Portugal and MPP, including current MPP students and alumni.

Thiago Sobral Marques da Silva, an MPP PhD student in Transportations Systems, was one of the participants and commented that “IWI was a great opportunity for me to learn and practice tools for developing and pitching my business idea. It was highly valuable to have a team of instructors and speakers who have actual hands-on experience in translating research and ideas into innovation and startups. I found the workshop to be of great value for those who wish to start a company as well as for those who plan stay in academia and foster partnerships with companies.”

The International Workshop on Innovating is one of the many annual activities supported by MPP to strengthen Portugal’s innovation ecosystem and jumpstart new entrepreneurial initiatives. Over the years, MPP has been inspiring, stimulating, and facilitating the formation of more than 80 start-ups in Portugal through different channels, a testimony of the strong commitment of the program to innovation and entrepreneurship in Portugal.

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