Entrepreneurship + Impact: Fireside Chat with Dr. Desh Deshpande

Wednesday, May 17, 2023 at 11:30am to 1:00pm

MIT Museum, Sharpe Room
314 Main Street, Gambrill Center, Cambridge MA 02142

**NEW DATE**Event had originally been scheduled for March 23

Join entrepreneur, investor, author, advisor, philanthropist, and MIT Corporation Life Member Dr. Desh Deshpande for an informal lunch reception and fireside chat on Entrepreneurship + Impact: Preparing a New Generation for Tomorrow’s Challenges. On campus and virtual participation is available.

Humanity faces pressing challenges including climate, sustainability, clean energy, fresh water, food for all, cancer, and infectious disease. We are also challenged to help build a more inclusive and equitable world, transforming ideas to achieve commercial and societal impact.

In his 2016 book, “On Entrepreneurship & Impact”, Dr. Deshpande offered perspectives on for-profit and social entrepreneurship. A new and increasingly diverse generation of students are applying a range of entrepreneurial models with a passion for impact, working across disciplines, accelerating the translation of their ideas, and navigating a changing funding environment.

How might we evolve and strengthen our world class innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) programs and ecosystems to better prepare and support a new generation of entrepreneurs, including underrepresented founders, as they find their paths to impact and success?

Join host Don Shobrys, Director of the MIT Venture Mentoring Service (VMS), for this informal session. Lunch will be available for in-person attendees. Virtual attendance will be via zoom.

Dr. Desh Deshpande

Dr. Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande is an entrepreneur, investor, author, advisor, philanthropist, and trustee who was involved as the founder, founding investor, or chairman of companies including Cascade Communications, Sycamore Networks, Coral Networks, Tejas Networks, Cimaron, Webdialogs, Airvana, Sandstone Capital, A123 Systems, and Curata.

His Deshpande Foundation works to foster entrepreneurship and innovation at universities in India, United States and Canada. The Foundation also supports social and economic impact through entrepreneurship and innovation, including community programs such as EforAll. Foundation support helped launch Mass Challenge, NSF I-Corps, and MIT UPOP Programs.

Desh lives in Boston and serves as a life member of the MIT Corporation. He holds a B. Tech. in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology – Madras, an M.E. from the University of New Brunswick in Canada, and a Ph.D. from Queens University in Canada.

Dr. Donald Shobrys

Dr. Donald Shobrys is the Director of the MIT Venture Mentoring Service (VMS). His career has centered on accelerating business decision making, with a focus on supply chain management. Don has served as a Member of the MIT Corporation, President of the MIT Alumni Association, and Chair of the Annual Fund. He holds a SB in Civil and Environmental Engineering from MIT, MS from Northwestern in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Ph.D. in Operations Research from Johns Hopkins.

About VMS

VMS is a free and confidential service for the MIT community that provides mentoring, programming, and expert resources with access to VMS alumni founders. Over 200 mentors give their time so that others may succeed. Since 2000, over 4,300 entrepreneurs have been mentored by VMS. Since 2022, over 1,250 members of the MIT community have registered for new VMS programming on Building and Funding Startup Ventures with Impact. On April 11th, VMS will host the 2023 VMS Demo Day, showcasing rising MIT ventures and founders.

About Deshpande Center

Established in 2002 — through a generous gift from philanthropists Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande and his wife, Jaishree — the center empowers some of MIT’s most-talented researchers to make a difference in the world by developing innovative technologies in the lab and bringing them to the marketplace in the form of breakthrough products and new companies. In turn, those innovations can help solve large and daunting problems in health, information technology, energy and other fields.

About NSF I-Corps New England Regional Innovation Node

The National Science Foundation I- Corps New England Regional Innovation Node offers programs, support, and seed micro-grants to innovators and entrepreneurs from across New England. I-Corps programs will help you explore the potential impact of your new technology; assess the market opportunity and pathway for your invention; get entrepreneurial training and support; work towards a $50,000 grant for customer discovery; and strengthen your SBIR/STTR proposal if pursuing a startup.

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