13th Annual Symposium
Save-the-date: June 12-14, 2024 | College Park, MD

VentureWell Enters Agreement to Manage the Deshpande Symposium

Lowell Ma, Jan 27, 2022 – The Deshpande Symposium, founded in 2012 by the Deshpande Foundation and the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell), is excited to announce a deepened collaboration with VentureWell, a national non-profit organization on a mission to cultivate a pipeline of inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs driven to solve the world’s biggest challenges and to create lasting impact, to house and support the operational management of the Symposium in the Summer of  2022 following the upcoming event in Cleveland.  VentureWell’s stewardship of the Deshpande Symposium will ensure its continuing success in years to come.

Since its inception, the Deshpande Symposium has been run completely by a volunteer team, with operational support from UMass Lowell, and has served over 3200 attendees while establishing a respected and influential profile for its convening and awards highlighting entrepreneurship and innovation in higher education. This agreement will better position the Symposium for longer term sustainability and growth supported by VentureWell’s decades of commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship, its strong operational team, and a solid track record of managing creative and effective convenings. 

“As a founding member of the Symposium Steering Committee, I have seen firsthand the important role it plays in convening the university innovation community to share ideas, experience and emergent practice on how universities can partner effectively in their communities to drive entrepreneurial, science based prosperity. We look forward to supporting the success, evolution and growth of the Symposium,” said Phil Weilerstein, CEO and President of VentureWell.

As VentureWell takes the lead in organizing future Symposiums, the Deshpande Foundation and UMass Lowell and the existing Steering Committee will continue their collaboration and support. “UMass Lowell is truly excited and honored that VentureWell understands and appreciates the value the Deshpande Symposium brings to our many entrepreneurial institutions and communities each year,” said Steven Tello, Vice Provost at UMass Lowell and founding partner of the Symposium. “This agreement ensures the Symposium will continue to thrive as our VentureWell colleagues bring their experience and network to our focus on promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education across the Americas and beyond.”

“As a longtime and enthusiastic participant in the Deshpande Symposium community, we are excited to know that our powerful learning network will be well-positioned to expand its audience and influence through this strategic collaboration with VentureWell,” noted Deborah Hoover, President of Burton D. Morgan Foundation and Co-Chair of Deshpande Symposium. “We will welcome our colleagues to Cleveland in June for Deshpande Symposium 2022 and be greatly honored to celebrate the launch of this dynamic next chapter.”

We are excited to share this future vision and direction at the next Deshpande Symposium in Cleveland in June and look forward to your participation, feedback and support going forward.

About The Deshpande Foundation

The Deshpande Foundation, founded by Jaishree and Gururaj ‘Desh’ Deshpande, has supported centers and programs that deliver sustainable, scalable social and economic impact through innovation and entrepreneurship in the United States, Canada, and India. www.deshpandefoundation.org

About UMass Lowell

UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be leaders in their communities and around the globe. www.uml.edu

About VentureWell

VentureWell is a nonprofit organization that supports an emerging generation of science and technology inventors and the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems critical to their success. The organization fosters collaboration among the best minds from research labs, classrooms, and beyond to advance innovation and entrepreneurship education and to provide unique opportunities for STEM students and researchers to fully realize their potential to improve the world. Since its founding in 1995, they’ve supported more than 12,000 early-stage innovators and helped launch over 2,300 ventures that have raised $1.8 billion in funding. These ventures have reached millions of people in over 50 countries with technological advancements in fields such as biotechnology, healthcare, sustainable energy and materials, and solutions for low-resource settings. Visit www.venturewell.org to learn more.


What will be the role of the Steering Committee in the future?

  • We anticipate the Deshpande Symposium Steering Committee to continue its critical role, serving as the voice of the customer, helping spread the word with their peers and providing valuable input on the content and structure of the Symposium.

Will the Deshpande Symposium continue to be separate from VentureWell’s other conferences?

  • The Deshpande Symposium serves a unique audience in the higher education community that is focused on the implementation and practice of innovation and entrepreneurial programs within campuses as well as communities and broader ecosystems. This is distinct from OPEN which is geared towards Innovation & Entrepreneurship education, focusing on tools, trends and strategies to support earliest stage innovators for an ever-changing world.

Will the Symposium be changing its name?

  • The Deshpande Symposium will continue for the foreseeable future with the existing name but will appropriately highlight the role VentureWell plays in managing it. It retains the right to modify the name should future needs or conditions change.

Will the content or audience change?

  • The Deshpande Symposium will continue to focus on innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education and, as in the past, continue to solicit feedback and input from the higher education community on topics of interest and focus. The participatory panel based focus that has made the Symposium a key network enabling event, will continue.