Entrepreneurial Walk of Fame May Bring Stars to Kendall Square

Stars will soon brighten the sidewalks of Kendall Square if the proposed "Entrepreneurial Walk of Fame" becomes a reality.

Located in what planners call the densest area of innovation in the world, the proposed sidewalk would honor local entrepreneurs to promote a culture of creativity and risk-taking, as well as increase job opportunities in the area.

William K. Aulet '80, a lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, first conceived of the Walk of Fame when he witnessed a celebration after a bull fight in Andalusia, Spain. Aulet, who travels around the world to lecture on entrepreneurship, decided to change the focus of his speech: he encouraged the celebration of entrepreneurs—similar to the honoring of matadors in Spain and movie stars in Hollywood.

"Look at the people who created the companies," said Aulet, who directs the MIT Entrepreneurship Center. "It’s about intrepid people who go out there with nothing in front of them, and they create something that inspires people."

Aulet presented his proposal for the Entrepreneurial Walk of Fame before Cambridge’s Economic Development, Training and Employment Committee last week. He named Mark E. Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, and Mitch Kapor, the founder of Lotus Development Corportation, as two possible stars for the walk.

"[Kapor] created a company that changed the whole mindset of Kendall Square," Aulet said. "We saw the guy driving around every day. He was like a rock star."

"Encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation is a terrific thing for Cambridge to do," wrote Kapor, whose company created the spreadsheet software Lotus 1-2-3, in an e-mail. "I’d be honored to have a star."

At the committee meeting, Aulet discussed what he calls the seven elements of the entrepreneurial ecosystem: government, demand, invention, funding, infrastructure, entrepreneurs, and culture. He emphasized culture as the key component to promoting innovation.

"You need the spark that celebrates entrepreneurship, fundamentally changing the culture so people are willing to take the risk and become an entrepreneur," Aulet said.

City Councillor Leland Cheung, one of Aulet’s former students, will lead the task force to discuss the project and bring it before the City Council by December. Cheung said that he had approached Aulet last month for ideas to promote entrepreneurship.

"As the chair of the Economic Development Committee for the city, one of my major concerns is promoting economic growth," said Cheung, a student at Sloan and the Harvard Kennedy School. "How can we promote entrepreneurship to increase jobs in Cambridge?"

Capital partners, representatives from Xconomy, Microsoft, and the Cambridge Innovation Center were also in attendance at the committee meeting.

Tags