Indian American named managing director of UChicago’s entrepreneurship center

Samir Mayekar. PHOTO:

Samir Mayekar, until recently the Deputy Mayor of Chicago, has been named managing director of the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, effective Nov. 6. The University made the announcement in a news report in UChicago News October 18, 2023.

As head of the Polsky Center, Mayekar is expected to play a pivotal role in advancing UChicago’s priorities in innovation, technology commercialization and entrepreneurship, the report said. He will foster connections across the University, the city of Chicago, the region and the world that will enable the Polsky Center to accelerate the commercialization of critical technologies, the University said.

As deputy mayor of Chicago, Mayekar focused on economic and neighborhood development, and is credited with initiatives like INVEST South/West initiative which supported growth of  commercial corridors across several South and West Side neighborhoods.

“Samir brings a marvelous energy to building partnerships and is creative and thoughtful in his approach to new business opportunities,” President Paul Alivisatos is quoted saying in the report.

“The Polsky Center is committed to solving humanity’s most significant problems through breakthrough innovation,” said Juan de Pablo, Executive Vice President for Science, Innovation, National Laboratories and Global Initiatives and the Liew Family Professor in Molecular Engineering. “I am confident that Samir will build on the accomplishments of the Polsky Center in technology commercialization, entrepreneurship, and innovation …”

“Samir has demonstrated throughout his career that he is a leader and a builder of organizations and initiatives in which ideas can grow and flourish,” said Madhav V. Rajan, dean of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the George Pratt Shultz Professor of Accounting. “We look forward to working with him to further promote innovation and collaboration and advance the Polsky Center’s ambitious goals.”

During the Obama administration Mayekar served in the White House’s national security team and the executive staff at the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation.

Mayekar cofounded and served as CEO of NanoGraf Corporation, a global manufacturer of advanced materials for the lithium-ion battery industry.

“I am excited to bring my civic, corporate and entrepreneurial experience to enhance the Polsky Center’s role as a platform to both support local economic development on the South Side and advance the commercialization of globally needed technologies to solve critical issues—from climate change to public health and responsible artificial intelligence,” Mayekar said.

Mayekar graduated from Northwestern, where he also earned an MBA, and served as a trustee. He is on the board of several community and civic organizations, plus serves as visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and is an alum of the Marshall Memorial Fellowship and the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans.

The Polsky Center was established in 1998 through Chicago Booth School of Business, and aims to provide training and venture support for students who plan to become entrepreneurs.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here