Nish Acharya


Nish Acharya is the Chief Executive Officer of Citizence & The Equal Innovation Institute. He is also a Senior Fellow at American Progress. Equal Innovation, LLC, is a strategy consulting and investment group working with universities, governments, foundations, and companies to assist them with innovation, entrepreneurship, and globalization strategies. He is also currently advising Northeastern University on its global education strategy.
Nish just left the Obama administration, where he was appointed by President Obama as the director of innovation and entrepreneurship and senior advisor to the secretary of commerce, where he led the president’s efforts to nurture economic growth through innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialization. As part of his work, Nish managed the president’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship—a group of nationally known investors, entrepreneurs, and university presidents. Nish also engaged with 26 federal agencies to provide more than $100 million in funds to universities, research centers, and companies to increase the commercialization of federally funded research. He engaged with more than 500 universities and colleges across the United States to boost their programs supporting innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialization.
Prior to joining Commerce, Nish served as executive director of the Deshpande Foundation, a prominent American philanthropy focused on innovation, entrepreneurship, and scalability around the world. Nish led the foundation’s strategic planning, grant-making, evaluation, and advocacy efforts. Under his leadership, the foundation’s “Sandboxes

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