Creative Arts Competition Honors Arts-Focused MIT Entrepreneurs


University Fellowships pic


For more than three decades, Jean-Jacques Degroof has held leadership roles as a banking executive, corporate board member, and entrepreneur. A former researcher and Sloan Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management, Jean-Jacques Degroof has since been involved with the university as a mentor and member of entrepreneurial and alumni groups.

Though MIT is most commonly associated with the technology, engineering, and business worlds, the school has also played a prominent role in the arts and culture of both the Boston area and the United States. To further support the intersection of the arts, technology, and entrepreneurship, the school organizes an annual Creative Arts Competition that recognizes MIT students who develop innovative projects in this sphere. All business ideas entered in the competition must either use the arts or creative disciplines in conjunction with technology and entrepreneurship.

Winning teams receive a $15,000 grant, plus additional support and mentorship through the START Studio and the Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship at the Sloan School of Management. First prize in the 2018 competition went to Hapticomix’s Project Daredevil, which creates virtual reality experiences for visually impaired individuals, while second prize went to a project that develops abandoned sidewalk shops into artists’ studios.


MIT’s IWER PhD Program for Work and Employment Study


IWER PhD Program pic

IWER PhD Program

Jean-Jacques Degroof is the holder of a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management. When pursuing his Ph.D., Jean-Jacques Degroof took courses in the school’s Institute of Work and Employment Research (IWER).

IWER was established to address the concerns of the 21st century workforce in light of generational, technological, and economic changes. It is a collaborative hub for the study of work and employment. Here, MIT faculty educate researchers on how to improve the way Americans work. The Institute does this through weekly seminars and a comprehensive PhD program.

IWER’s PhD program combines institutional knowledge with training on social-science practice. It is designed for students seeking advanced training in human resource management, labor-relations management, public policy, conflict management, sociology of work, and best employment practices. Coursework covers such topics as labor economics, collective bargaining, industrial relations, and the political economy. On top of these, students can attend related classes at MIT, including those on economics, anthropology, and political science.

MIT’s Creative Arts Competition Accelerates Art-Focused Ventures


MIT’s Creative Arts Competition  pic

MIT’s Creative Arts Competition

A venture investor, Jean-Jacques Degroof helps grow startups into successful companies. A former affiliate researcher at the MIT Industrial Performance Center, Jean-Jacques Degroof was in subsequent years involved in supporting MIT’s Creative Arts Competition as a sponsor and a member of its jury.

MIT’s Creative Arts Competition is an year-long program put together to accelerate startups focused on the intersection of the arts and technology. The competition is open to founders who have one or more MIT students on their teams and have ventures that have arts at their core – those that address the needs of artists, producers, and other arts stakeholders.

Participating teams enjoy benefits such as access to MIT’s START studio specialized programming and MIT’s arts entrepreneurship incubator. The teams also participate in workshops at the Sloan School in which students receive mentorship from past winners of the competition and from distinguished MIT alumni. The mentors cover topics such as pitch preparation, customer development, and business plan creation.

Participating teams are expected to develop viable business plans to be judged based on their focus on the arts, potential for impact, and sustainability. The winning team receives a cash prize of $15,000 presented as a grant.

Creative Arts Competition Spurs Innovation at MIT

As a respected entrepreneur and alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Jean-Jacques Degroof sponsors the annual Creative Arts Competition and is a member of the jury.

This years event is set for April 30 and is designed for young entrepreneurs in an effort to generate startup businesses focused on the arts. Teams comprised of graduate and undergraduate students from MIT pitch a panel of judges with a bevy of ideas that represent how art and business can join forces in a collaborative effort. The 2017 winner, Roots Studio, is a perfect example of the competition’s mission. They digitally transform art from rural villages into high-end products, thus taking away the burden of a costly supply chain through licensing.

Co-founded by CEO Rebecca Hui in 2011, they are able to connect rural artists around the world with design hubs who use the authentic designs to reach out to a multi-billion dollar market.

The first place prize for the 2018 competition will receive $15,000. For more information, go to



The 2017 Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference


Babson College pic

Babson College

An expert in entrepreneurship and innovation management, Jean-Jacques Degroof has taught at multiple European business schools. In addition, Jean-Jacques Degroof has contributed to a number of academic gatherings, including the Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference (BCERC), where he presented a paper in 2003.

Established by Babson College in 1981, BCERC has evolved into the world’s premier conference for papers on entrepreneurship research, attracting more than 350 scholars who hear more than 220 papers. Held each year in conjunction with an entrepreneurial studies doctoral consortium, this event unites entrepreneurial scholars with successful business leaders.

The 2017 BCERC took place from June 7-10 at the University of Oklahoma (OU) Michael F. Price College of Business and OU Innovation Hub. Sessions covered subjects ranging from the effect of corruption on international entrepreneurs to strategies for managing work-life balance for entrepreneurs. OU business professors Lowell Busenitz, Will Drover, and Jeremy Short delivered the conference’s final remarks.

The MIT Sloan Mentoring Program


EWB-USA Receives IKEA Foundation Grant




An alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management, Jean-Jacques Degroof has devoted more than 17 years to venture investment. In addition, Jean-Jacques Degroof served as a sponsor to the (MIT) chapter of Engineers Without Borders in 2010.

In 2017, Engineers Without Borders USA (EWB-USA) was able to secure a grant from the IKEA Foundation to support efforts to fight climate change in parts of Africa and Asia. The grant covers a three-year period and will see EWB-USA give technical advice to partners in the relevant regions regarding energy efficiency, renewable energy, the risk of flooding, and water supply.

In her comments regarding the award, the EWB-USA executive director, Cathy Leslie, referred to the organization’s role in the creation of sustainable solutions that took climate change into consideration and to its partnership with the IKEA Foundation. She stated that her organization was eager to help marginalized communities push back against climate change.