Sept. 19, 2011
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The entrepreneurial spirit took over Kendall Square this past weekend. After years of planning, Cambridge officials unveiled the Entrepreneur Walk of Fame next to the Kendall Square/MIT MBTA station. The walk honors seven legends of innovation, including Thomas Edison, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and Apple's Steve Jobs.
Leland Cheung is a Cambridge City Councilor and President of the Entrepreneur Walk of Fame. He said that the walk is meant to celebrate future innovators as well as pioneers of the past.
"I really hope that we show kids who are thinking what their careers should be,a path to stardom that's not based on Internet celebrity or YouTube videos, but that's based on innovation and hard work and trying to build something great," Cheung said.
Kendall Square is the densest hub of innovation and entrepreneurial investment in the country, and Tim Rowe, CEO of the Cambridge Innovation Center, says he wants to keep it that way -- but knows aspiring entrepreneurs need encouragement.
"The path of entrepreneurship is a risky one, and it's not an easy one. Someone doesn't write you a check every month, and here's your salary and do these things we ask you to do. You have to figure it all out, so it's hard, and yet it's what grows our economy. So we want more of those bright young people from around the world to say, you know what, 'we're going to build businesses, we're going to do it here.' That's where the jobs come from," Rowe said.
Meanwhile, a few blocks away at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Johnson Athletic Center, new and veteran entrepreneurs spent the weekend at the t=0 festival, to meet, brainstorm and build business models.
Emma Liu, an MIT graduate student attending the festival, said it's time for more women to become entrepreneurs, and that one day, she'd like to see herself immortalized on the Entrepreneur Walk of Fame.
"I should have that goal — to be on the Walk of Fame someday — maybe sooner than we think, maybe five-to-ten years, or maybe two years," Liu said.
If Liu and her team can build a feasible business model in a weekend, anything seems possible.