Universities have long been cited as an important source of innovation and, more recently, a key cog in the American entrepreneurial ecosystem. Much of the attention has focused on intellectual property that a university licenses, including to start-up companies that take technology out of the university and into the marketplace. (Hence the moniker, technology transfer.)
"Rather than any single or narrow set of influences, the overall MIT entrepreneurial ecosystem, consisting of multiple education, research, and social network institutions and phenomena, contributes to this outstanding and growing entrepreneurial output. This ecosystem rests upon a long MIT history since its 1861 founding and its evolved culture of 'Mens et Manus,' or ' mind and hand' . . . [a] tradition of valuing useful work."