Samir Mayekar to helm the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at The University of Chicago


He brings a marvelous energy to building partnerships and is creative and thoughtful in his approach to new business opportunities

Our Bureau

Chicago, IL

Samir Mayekar, an Indian American and accomplished leader with a track record of driving innovation and impact across the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors, has been named managing director of the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, effective Nov. 6, 2023.

As head of the Polsky Center, Mayekar will play a pivotal role in advancing UChicago’s ambitious priorities in innovation, technology commercialization, and entrepreneurship. 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.

“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,” said Samir Mayekar.

The Polsky Center was established in 1998 through Chicago Booth to provide training and venture support for students pursuing opportunities in entrepreneurship. The Polsky Center is also home to the University’s technology commercialization office.

Mayekar earned his bachelor’s degree and MBA from Northwestern and is a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Most recently, Mayekar served as deputy mayor for the city of Chicago, where he focused on economic and neighborhood development. A driving force behind initiatives such as the city’s INVEST South/West initiative, he marshaled resources from across city departments, community organizations, and corporate and philanthropic partners to support commercial corridors across several South and West Side neighborhoods.

Prior to working for the city of Chicago, Mayekar served in the Obama administration, where he was part of the White House’s national security team and the executive staff at the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation.

“Samir brings a marvelous energy to building partnerships and is creative and thoughtful in his approach to new business opportunities,” said President Paul Alivisatos. “The University and the Polsky Center will benefit from his talent, experience, and commitment,” he added.

Mayekar’s work in both high-tech innovation and urban economic development is well-matched to the Polsky Center’s goals and mission, including the advancement of a wide range of technologies — from clean energy and life sciences to quantum, information sciences, and data science, as per the University.

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