J-WEL Webinar, "From Idea to Implementation: How Universities Can Foster Student Entrepreneurship and Innovation," with Claude Grunitzky, Feb. 4, 2020 | MIT J-WEL

J-WEL Webinar, "From Idea to Implementation: How Universities Can Foster Student Entrepreneurship and Innovation," with Claude Grunitzky, Feb. 4, 2020


J-WEL Webinar, "From Idea to Implementation: How Universities Can Foster Student Entrepreneurship and Innovation," with Claude Grunitzky and Erdin Beshimov

Date and Time
February 4, 2020, online
9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time

How to join:
This webinar is exclusive to J-WEL members. If you are J-WEL member but haven't received an email with information on how to register 10 days prior to the webinar, please email us at jwel AT mit DOT edu

Webinar description

Universities want their communities to innovate, creating start-ups and implementing fresh ideas. Many university leaders wonder if their universities should form new centers, hire entrepreneurship experts, or devise a new curriculum. But what can universities actually do to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship among their students? In this webinar, Claude Grunitzky, MIT alum, entrepreneur, and founder of TRACE and TRUE Africa, will discuss several case studies from MIT that provide lessons that can be applied to other universities and contexts outside of the United States. Our moderator for this webinar will be Erdin Beshimov, Founder and Director of MIT Bootcamps, intense week-long new ventures leadership programs that challenge participants to develop a sustainable new venture in a week.

Intended learning outcome: Obtain a detailed picture of the role that MIT had in the startup journeys of two successful entrepreneurs. 

Intended audience: University leaders, faculty, and staff interested in entrepreneurship in higher education settings

About Claude Grunitzky

Claude Grunitzky is the founder of TRACE and TRUE Africa, a media-tech platform championing young African voices all over the world. In November 2016, TRUE Africa was funded by Google’s Digital News Initiative. In February 2003, Grunitzky and two business partners completed a multimillion-dollar financing deal led by Goldman Sachs Group. As a result, the TRACE brand is now being leveraged globally across various television, event and interactive platforms. TRACE, which now reaches an audience of more than 200 million people across 150 countries, was successfully sold to a French investor group in July 2010. Grunitzky was raised between Lomé, Togo; Washington, DC; Paris and London. Growing up, Grunitzky, who speaks six languages and carries three passports, was exposed to many different cultures. These foreign interactions shaped his transcultural philosophy and informed the creative energy of his media ventures.

A graduate of London University and MIT, Grunitzky is also a trustee at MASS MoCA, a museum in Massachusetts which is one of the world’s liveliest centers for making and enjoying today’s most evocative art, and at Humanity in Action, a foundation that works internationally to build global leadership, defend democracy, protect minorities and improve human rights. The recipient of many distinctions, Grunitzky is an MIT Sloan Fellow and a French American Foundation Young Leader, and was named a finalist for the Ernst & Young ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award in 2007. He has served as a Harvard Kennedy School Hauser Visiting Leader at the Center for Public Leadership and Visiting Social Innovator with the Social Innovation and Change Initiative, where he continues to provide coaching and expertise to student social innovators. In 2019, he announced the launch of TRUE Africa University, an online platform currently incubated at MIT J-WEL.

About Erdin Beshimov

Erdin Beshimov is a Lecturer at MIT and a Founder and Director of MIT Bootcamps. At MIT Erdin was also the founding Director of the MITx MicroMasters Program, which pioneered the model of “inverted admissions,” and the Incubation Group in the Office of Digital Learning. He co-created MIT’s first massive open online courses on entrepreneurship, which have enrolled hundreds of thousands of learners from every country in the world. Guided by the philosophy that MIT is not just a university but a global innovation community, Erdin’s focus at MIT is on building new pathways for learners worldwide to study innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship.

Erdin is a graduate of the MIT Sloan School of Management. For his work in entrepreneurship and contributions to student life at MIT, Erdin was awarded the Patrick J. McGovern Entrepreneurship Award, the Carol and Howard Anderson Fellowship, and the MIT Sloan Peer Recognition Award. Before returning to MIT after graduating, Erdin served as Principal at Flagship Pioneering where he focused on ventures in water, energy, and materials. Erdin also co-founded Ubiquitous Energy, a solar technologies spinout from MIT, and evaluated energy efficiency innovations at Venrock Associates.

In addition to an MBA from MIT Sloan, Erdin holds an MA in Area Studies of the former Soviet Union from Harvard University, where he studied on full scholarship, and a BA (first-class honors) in Development and Peace Studies from the University of Bradford, where he was awarded the International Student Scholarship and the James O’Connell Scholarship for Peace Studies.

Erdin was born in a country that no longer exists, the Soviet Union. The experience of growing up in a country on the ashes of another offered him a vision to an independent life in an uncertain world for many millions of people just like him through entrepreneurial thinking, the pursuit of knowledge, and a global mindset. His mission is to contribute to a model of the world in which there are no barriers between motivation and opportunity.

Date & Time: 
Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - 09:00