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MIT Educator Seeks Stars For Local Entrepreneurs

Bill Aulet heads MIT's Entrepreneurship Center. He's proposing an Entrepreneurial Walk of Fame -- similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame -- be built at Kendall Square in Cambridge. (Kirk Carapezza for WBUR)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Seeking to emulate Hollywood’s starry Walk of Fame, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology educator has a proposal to honor successful local “geeks” and “suits.”

The Entrepreneurial Walk of Fame is an idea from Bill Aulet, a senior lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and the managing director of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center. The Cambridge City Council is now weighing the proposal.

“We need to celebrate entrepreneurship,” Aulet said on a recent walk through Kendall Square. “We retire uniforms for the Boston Celtics. I think we should be retiring Mitch Kapor’s number here, because Mitch Kapor was a great entrepreneur who started Lotus Development Co., which revitalized this entire area and has created millions of jobs and hope and spirit for a lot of other entrepreneurs.”

(Photo illustration by Jesse Costa/WBUR)

No set criteria for a star has been established, but Aulet says the walk of fame should recognize a local who has started a substantial company — or, perhaps preferably, more than one — and is a role model for existing and aspiring entrepreneurs.

In addition to honoring past entrepreneurs, Aulet believes the walk would encourage future ventures.

“This is what we’re trying to do,” he said. “We’re trying to promote the culture of entrepreneurship. And culture is about beliefs, but it’s about stories, it’s about role models you have. And we need to promote these people, and when we do, then people will want to become entrepreneurs.”

Though the proposed stars wouldn’t be confined to MIT entrepreneurs, Aulet says the school’s academic focus would make Kendall Square the perfect location for the walk of fame.

“You have the premier engineering school in the world right over here, which is where the technologists (are), or the ‘geeks,’ as we like to call them from an honorific stand point,” he said. “And then you have over here the MIT Sloan School of Management, which is one of the top business schools in the world — they’re the ‘suits,’ they’re the business people. And when these people come together they tend to create great companies.”

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