STL Real Estate Entrepreneurship Competition

The STL Lab believes that now is the time for a new generation of young entrepreneurs to bring their creativity, enthusiasm, and ideas to redefine and transform the traditional real estate industry.

We hope to inspire young people to create new products and services that will generate real estate value and then utilize a portion of the newly created value for social benefits. The STL Real Estate Entrepreneurship Competition will strive to create a more human- and community-focused development model by:

Opening the real estate industry to entrepreneurs from all disciplines. The challenges facing today’s real estate industry are increasingly complex and multi-faceted, and traditional approaches of large-scale development are no longer sufficient to addressing community needs. We believe that harnessing the creative potential of young people across all disciplines will be key to pursuing innovation in the real estate industry. This includes but is not limited to design, planning, architecture, economics, finance, engineering, humanities, and the arts.

Opening the real estate industry to the experiences of all people and all communities. We believe that the inclusion of more diverse and community-based perspectives can lead to new approaches for addressing the challenges facing the real estate industry today. Therefore, this competition is open to all people regardless of age, race, education, background, financial status, or gender.

Opening up the real estate industry to innovation in all aspects of the field. While development has traditionally been the focus of the real estate industry, we believe that there is also much innovation needed in real estate design, financing, sales & marketing, management, operations and other real estate-related services. Through challenging this norm we aim to promote a new definition of “real estate.”

Fostering socially responsible real estate entrepreneurs of the future is a core value of the STL Lab. Through the STL Open Real Estate Competition, we hope to encourage young entrepreneurs, from all disciplines and backgrounds, to build innovative real estate-related solutions for the challenges facing their built environment.


Contest Overview

The Samuel Tak Lee MIT Real Estate Entrepreneurship Lab (STL) works to bring together the academic and industry resources necessary to support young entrepreneurs to imagine and realize socially responsible real estate solutions. The STL Lab, a part of MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning, partners with leading real estate academics and industry leaders to provide competition participants with financial and educational resources and mentoring opportunities to fulfill their dream of becoming entrepreneurs.

Phase 1: Innovative Ideation

Share your ideas that will “redefine” real estate!

What challenges does your community face? How do you think you can solve these problems? How can your idea advance practices of the real estate industry? Submit your story and ideas to the STL Open Real Estate Competition!

Teams must identify a real estate-related problem and propose an idea that can help address the problem in a socially responsible way. All teams who wish to participate in the STL Open must submit an idea in Stage 1.

Submissions will take the form of a 3-minute video and 10 pages of accompanying visuals. These will be shared via MIT’s website to create a platform of innovative real estate concepts.

Phase 2: Action Model

Get your idea ready to come to life in the real world!

How might your idea become reality? Teams must now take their initial idea and formulate an action model. The STL Lab will provide resources to support teams in this process.

A team of judges will select five finalist teams, and the final competiton will be held at MIT during STL’s 2016 China Real Estate Innovation Conference in late 2016.

Phase 3: Make it Happen

Put winning ideas into action!

How might you secure the resources and support to implement your action model?

Prior to the final competition, finalist teams will come to MIT for a 2-week intensive workshop to be coached by experienced entrepreneurs in designing pitches to present to seasoned entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. 

The final winning team will receive a reward of $20,000 plus two six-month STL Open Fellowships at MIT to further refine their action plan for actual implementation.


To be notified when STL Competition’s Request for Proposal is released, please sign up for STL’s newsletter using "Join mailing list" on the right and scan the QR code below to join our WeChat group!


Related News & Events

The first National Real Estate Innovation Competition was held by the Higher Education Steering Committee for the Discipline of Real Estate Development and Management and Property Management, co-hosted with the Samuel Tak Lee MIT Real Estate Entrepreneurship Lab (STL Lab), the Real Estate Research Institute of Tsinghua University School of Civil Engineering, and the Housing and Community Research Institute of Tsinghua University School of Architecture. The Competition was sponsored by the STL Lab, and was supported by the Beijing Municipal Institute of City Planning and Design.