Entry Date:
May 6, 2014

MIT Global Startup Labs (MISTI)

Since 2000, MIT Global Startup Labs (GSL) has sent over 300 MIT instructors to teach thousands of students in more than 20 countries, resulting in the creation of businesses and the addition of course offerings at  partner universities.

MIT Global Startup Labs is a program of MISTI (MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives) that promotes development in emerging regions by cultivating young technology entrepreneurs. We partner with universities and organize advanced courses taught by MIT student instructors. Our courses focus on mobile and Internet technologies, and are structured so that our students are awakened to the commercial possibilities of the technologies. Components of the course include detailed technical curriculum, business competitions, guest lectures, and networking events, all to help our students develop and realize their ideas. Concurrent to its courses, MIT Global Startup Labs scales its impact by transferring teaching expertise to partner universities so that they can incorporate components of our courses with little intervention.

Since its founding in 2000, GSL has organized 85 programs in Africa, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. More than 300 adventurous MIT student instructors have taught thousands of students abroad. GSL alumni consistently report high levels of satisfaction from their experience. According to the most recent exit survey conducted in January 2020, among GSL students in Georgia, Brazil and Uruguay, 93 percent of respondents expressed that their experience in the MIT program had confirmed or increased their interest in entrepreneurship, or that it empowered them to pursue entrepreneurship on their own. Additionally, 78 percent of respondents were considering continuing with their GSL startup idea in the future. Regarding MIT instructors, 70 percent reported a greater interest in pursuing entrepreneurship as a career.

While the program continues to focus on the entrepreneurship and app development training, it, again, is exploring new directions. Global Startups Labs now offers hosts and partners programs built around particular theme (i.e. agriculture, artificial intelligence, and machine learning) while maintaining a foundation in problem solving, principles of engineering, and entrepreneurial thinking.