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Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship dedicated

Martin Trust Center

Newly named and redesigned center to foster entrepreneurship at the School and around the world

Last fall, MIT celebrated the dedication of the Martin Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, which provides students and faculty across the Institute with programs and space to transform their ideas into new business ventures. The Martin Trust Center, which is located in the Muckley Building (E40), is named for Martin Trust, SM ’58, an entrepreneur, business leader, and philanthropist.

Last fall, MIT celebrated the dedication of the Martin Martin (1958) Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, which provides students and faculty across the Institute with programs and space to transform their ideas into new business ventures. The Martin Trust Center, which is located in the Muckley Building (E40), is named for Martin Trust, SM ’58, an entrepreneur, business leader, and philanthropist.

“Invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship are the oxygen of a thriving economy,” said MIT President Susan Hockfield. “By making possible this marvelous new space, Martin Trust and his family are opening new doors of possibility and growth for MIT’s aspiring entrepreneurs. The Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship will give them the skills and confidence to launch, lead, and scale up the new enterprises our economy urgently needs.”

Trust, a visionary entrepreneur, is the founder and president of Brandot International, an investment firm that focuses on joint-venture partnerships with apparel and textile companies. He started his first business, Mast Industries, in 1970 with a modest $1,000. In 1978, his company—a contract manufacturer, importer, and distributor of clothing—emerged with The Limited Stores, now Limited Brands. Trust has served as an advisor to both the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Trade Advisory Committee on Africa. He is a board member of Virtusa, the information technology services company, and a past board member of Staples.

“MIT is rich in people who have ideas and who are willing to take the risk of starting a business,” Trust said. “My hope is that the center becomes a beacon for those young people, and a place where students can learn from others who have done entrepreneurial work and have been successful at taking an idea and turning it into a business.”

David Schmittlein, John C Head III Dean, called the new Trust Center “the heart and home of entrepreneurship” at the Institute.

“The Martin Trust Center gives us the people, the programs, and the place where our alumni, faculty, and students can invent the future,” Schmittlein said.

The Martin Trust Center supports all five schools at MIT. The center’s activities and services bridge academic disciplines, and its programs are available to entrepreneurs across the Institute, including undergraduate and graduate students and faculty.

The structure of the Martin Trust Center encourages creativity, collaboration, and the sharing of skills and ideas. Many interior walls are made of glass, allowing students to see what is going on around them. Hallways and conference rooms are coated with IdeaPaint, allowing people to write and sketch on them as if they were dry erase boards. There are a large number of partitioned spaces and work areas with easily moveable furniture that can be reconfigured for impromptu brainstorming sessions.

MIT students start companies at a prolific rate. According to a study conducted by Edward Roberts, David Sarnoff Professor of Management of Technology and founder and chair of the Martin Trust Center, there are 25,600 companies in existence founded by living MIT alumni that employ about 3.3 million people worldwide. Those companies generate annual revenues of $2 trillion, producing the equivalent of the 11th-largest economy in the world.

“That’s an accomplishment that 20 years of our entrepreneurship programs at MIT have very strongly helped to encourage,” Roberts said. “Now we have a new beginning in the Martin Trust Center. It poses a new challenge: What do we do for encores? I believe the future holds the possibility of dramatic increases of what we have accomplished thus far.”