Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Trish Cotter

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Company: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Entry Submitted By: Doyle Strategic Communications
Company Description: The mission of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century. We are also driven to bring knowledge to bear on the world’s great challenges.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Mentor or Coach of the Year – Government or Non-Profit

Nomination Title: Trish Cotter, Associate Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, MIT

Describe for the judges the nominated individual's activities and accomplishments that supported women in business since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):

Over the past year and a half, I’ve shifted my focus from being an entrepreneur in the business world to teaching hands-on entrepreneurship in academia – specifically at MIT’s accelerator program for student entrepreneurs. The Martin Trust Center at MIT has played a pivotal role in fostering a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship among the student community.

In this role, I have the opportunity to mentor young women (and men) who are taking their shot at building startups. I guide them through the planning stages with our “boot camp” program and help them hit “escape velocity” and successfully launch their businesses. Some of these businesses will meet with tremendous success, and others will become a stepping stone along the way. I’m honored to be able to channel my own entrepreneurial skills learned on-the-job and transfer these into MIT’s student accelerator program. Every day I have the opportunity to coach students as they work to become effective entrepreneurs.

Our motto is: “We don’t create companies; we teach people how to create companies.”

According to reported estimates at the end of 2014, 30,200 active companies were founded by living MIT alumni—employing 4.6 million people and generating annual world revenues of nearly $2 trillion. The revenue from these MIT alumni startups is comparable to the GDP of the 10th largest economy in the world.

Numbers like these are astounding. My goal on a day-to-day basis is to mentor and coach the next generation of MIT entrepreneurs, and they certainly have a bright future ahead of them. We encourage women to join the GFSA program at MIT and help them excel once they are accepted into the program.

The 12-week program includes mentorship and coaching, peer learning, simulated board meetings, guest talks and seminars, and culminates with Demo Day where the teams pitch their startups to investors and members of the press in Boston, New York, and San Francisco. By the end of the program students were ready to fly the coop and spread their wings.

Two of the startups in our 2015 GFSA class were led by women. Both companies looked at important societal problems and approached them in a unique way – and they are already meeting with success:

• Khethworks makes reliable, solar-powered irrigation systems designed for small-acreage farmers that enable their customers to cultivate year round. Khethworks already has multiple pilot sites on the ground in east India.

• Emma is based in Mexico City and provides companionship and mobility assistance for the elderly generation. It connects decision makers, such as son or daughter, with a companion that best fits their love one’s needs. Emma won the National Student Entrepreneurship Competition in Mexico and was a finalist in the Global Entrepreneurship Competition.

This year, we have three women-led companies in our accelerator program: Solstice, which provides community-shared solar power; uLink, which provisions on-demand low-cost electricity; and Armoire, a closet-as-a-service for today’s busy woman.

As enter my second year at MIT, we’re shaping the accelerator program to make it even more successful, including more one-on-one time for mentoring. I look forward to seeing what these students will create for our world.

Provide a brief biography of the nominated individual (up to 125 words):

Trish Cotter is Associate Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at MIT, and Director of the Global Founders’ Skills Accelerator (GFSA) where she mentors students through the accelerator process for their start-up ventures. In addition, she lectures at the MIT Sloan School of Management on entrepreneurship.

Trish was previously an executive at two emerging companies which she helped to bring public (Netezza in 2007 and Visual Networks in 1998). She has a background in engineering and held engineering and management positions at Honeywell, Computervision, Sun Microsystems and Stratus.

Trish holds a BA in business administration from Boston College, an MBA from Northeastern University, an AMP from Harvard Business School, and a MEd and EdD from the University of Pennsylvania.