Northeastern wins top innovation prize

The Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange has recognized two student-run organizations — IDEA, Northeastern’s Venture Accelerator, and the Entrepreneurs Club — as the state’s top contributors to innovation in higher education.

MITX is a nonprofit trade association for the digital marketing and Internet business industry. Its annual awards recognize entrepreneurship leaders from across Massachusetts.

IDEA CEO Chris Wolfel and Cory Bolotsky, who runs the E-Club's Husky Start-Up Challenge, at the MITX awards reception.

[media-credit id=19 align=”alignleft” width=”350″][/media-credit]“When I came here as a freshman, the E-Club meetings were small, maybe 30 people at a normal one, and IDEA was just gaining steam,” said Matt Bilotti, club president and third-year student. “And just a few years in, entrepreneurship has really exploded at Northeastern and we’re being recognized as one of the top places for it.”

Northeastern beat out two other nominees for the top prize in a ceremony on Tuesday night — Harvard’s I-Lab and Boston College’s TechTrek East. Plastic cheerleading megaphones were presented to each winner during a lighthearted ceremony, because the official awards, custom-designed plaques, were lost in the mail.

Northeastern’s victory, said IDEA CEO Chris Wolfel, “proves that entrepreneurship starting from the bottom up works. In just a few years, we’re being recognized with the top tier of schools.”

Wolfel and Bilotti said Northeastern’s success hinges on the university’s student-centric approach to entrepreneurship, with a particular focus on building a robust support system that helps students navigate the business world and create new ventures from scratch.

“We do things differently than a lot of other schools,” Bilotti said. “We understand the fact that students want to have fun and enjoy themselves while still learning, so everyone is having a good time while building companies and developing new ideas.”