“The Deshpande Symposium is an annual gathering of like-minded practitioners focused on accelerating innovation and entrepreneurship across the college and university environment. The event seeks to bring the extended higher education innovation and entrepreneurship community together to share best practices, connect with colleagues and highlight all the terrific work being done on campuses across the country and around the world.”

Deshpande Symposium

June 2021 Symposium

Theme: Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Higher Education.


  • Entrepreneurship in the Curriculum
  • University Research Commercialization and Startups
  • Developing Entrepreneurial Universities, Culture & Ecosystems

Many of the conference panels highlight the importance of support systems for entrepreneurial education, for example:

  • Philanthropy as Ecosystem Builder
  • Catalyzing a Culture of Design, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education
  • Universities in Ecosystems: Principles for Engagement
  • University Innovation Impact Index
  • Developing and Pivoting Culture on an Entrepreneurial Campus in the New Normal
  • Best Practices in Coaching the Creation of Real Companies

Held for nearly a decade, the Deshpande Symposium seeks to “discuss an array of topics, including entrepreneurial culture and ecosystems, innovative entrepreneurship curricula, research commercialization, startups and emerging trends”. It has recognized the importance of experiential entrepreneurship education which involves practices such as role-play, empathy, creative sessions, rapid experimentation, and self-reflection.

While many panels and keynotes tend to be focused on STEM education and venturing, there is ample coverage of broader topics such as entrepreneurial culture, cognition, and communication.