Development

Iqbal Quadir's new Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT

TEDGLOBAL2005 speaker and GrameenPhone founder Iqbal Quadir is launching a new center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT, thanks to a $50 million structured gift from Legatum, a Dubai-based investment firm.

The Legatum Center “will help MIT students start enterprises in developing countries, to foster organic and durable economic growth and more equitable societies”, Iqbal told us in an e-mail. He will act as the Center’s Exec Director, while Prof. Alex Pentland, Director of the Human Dynamics research group at the MIT Media Lab, will be the Faculty Director.

“We will champion bottom-up economic growth, rather than the prevalent top-down, state-led, aid-funded projects that by and large have not worked”, Iqbal added. That was also at the core of his TEDGLOBAL2005 talk (on this topic, watch also the talks by Ashraf Ghani and Jacqueline Novogratz or several speakers from TEDGLOBAL2007 in Arusha). The Center’s primary activity (starting next Fall) will be running a fellowship program for MIT students who intend to create scalable, socially responsible enterprises.