Entrepreneurial Walk of Fame Looking Real-September 16 Launch Targeted

7/5/11Follow @bbuderi

It’s an idea people love the instant they hear it: movies stars have their Walk of Fame out in Hollywood, so entrepreneurs should have one, too—and what better place than right here in Kendall Square, the most fertile, concentrated ground for entrepreneurship in the world?

Last August, Xconomy was first to report on the idea for an Entrepreneurial Walk of Fame—the brainchild of Xconomist Bill Aulet, managing director of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center. Now, almost a year later, I am pleased to report, the Walk has moved beyond the talking stage, it is walking the walk, so to speak. The idea has advanced in the Cambridge, MA, City Council, attracted at least one founding sponsor, nomination and selection committees have been formed—yours truly is an official curator, charged with nominating candidates for the Walk—and a launch date of September 16 has been targeted.

“The time has definitely come,” says Aulet. “The idea just resonates. Getting from idea to execution is always a challenge, but the idea has been so good that people have been lining up at all levels.” He says the first entrepreneurs selected would be given tiles in the plaza outside the Cambridge Marriott hotel, in the heart of Kendall Square.

There are still several moving parts to this, details being worked out (dare I say, nothing has been set in stone?)—including the definition of what, exactly, qualifies someone for the Walk, and how many inductees will be named this first year. But here are the key elements that appear to have been decided on so far:

—Each entrepreneur would get a tile, emblazoned with their name and a star. Aulet was vague about how big the tiles would be, whether the tiles would include a picture of inductees and what else would be listed—such as their company name, year it was founded, etc. One idea being considered, though, is that a QR code would be embedded in each tile, so that anyone with a smartphone camera and a reader app might be able to take a picture and have it open a web page with, say, the bio of the entrepreneur, videos of them in action, and other features. The design firm IDEO is working on the tile design now.

—The number of first-year inductees has not been set. But it could be as few as five.

—Aulet says 25 or so people have been named as curators, charged with nominating candidates for the Walk. I don’t have all their names, but here are some from the Boston area: Paul Maeder, general partner and co-founder at Highland Capital Partners; Joi Ito, the newly named director of the MIT Media Lab; Leon Sandler, executive director of the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT; John Harthorne, co-founder and CEO of MassChallenge, and Howard Anderson, founder of the Yankee Group.

—The selection committee, which will make final decisions about those who have been nominated, to date consists of seven people: Aulet; Desh Deshpande, founder of Sycamore Networks and chairman of A123Systems; Forester Research founder and CEO George Colony; Yankee Group chairman and former CEO Emily Green; Carl Schramm, CEO of the Kauffman Foundation; … Next Page »

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

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