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People typically name Silicon Valley, New York or Boston as technology hubs. However, across the United States there exist pockets of influencers, forward thinkers, startup evangelists and entrepreneurs who are creating a movement and fueling their own eco-systems to develop innovation pathways within their communities.

Harrisburg University of Science and Technology’s Rigved Joshi thinks Pennsylvania’s capital could soon be part of that list, and he’s bringing his own ideas for how to get that done as Harrisburg University’s new Director for Accelerator and Entrepreneurship Programs.

“The people I’ve met here have the drive, passion, momentum and willpower that’s needed to be an entrepreneur, and HU along with its strategic partners will provide the platform to champion, accelerate and develop hi-tech startups into sustainable, scalable and investable businesses” he said.

Influencing the future

With more than 15 years’ hands-on experience in strategy, investment management, product development, and execution, Joshi stepped into his new role ready to guide aspiring entrepreneurs and founders through mentorship, programming and infrastructure support.

His many duties include delivering a positive impact on accelerating technology development and new venture creation. He helps provide strategies for students, founders, investors, mentors and other stakeholders.

Harrisburg University’s goals are to contribute toward building a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in the greater Harrisburg region, and Joshi takes the task to heart.

“If you look at Harrisburg’s connectivity with NY/NJ, D.C., Maryland, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, there’s so much prospect when it comes to enhancing entrepreneurship support through collaborative efforts,” Joshi said. “Additionally, this provides Harrisburg the opportunity to serve as technology corridor for the region thereby creating pathways for joint R&D, hi-tech talent acquisition, funding and programmatic support.”

A background of success

Joshi brought an experienced background to Harrisburg University when he first stepped on campus in September.

He worked at Vanderbilt University in Nashville as Manager of New Ventures, leading valuation of Vanderbilt’s IP portfolio in Digital Health, Healthcare IT, Diagnostics, Engineering and Information Technology.

His work resulted in the commercialization of 13 new technologies, as well as due diligence and valuation on 68 spin-off opportunities, which led to the formation of 22 startups since January 2013.

Before Vanderbilt, Joshi served as Senior Associate and Principal at International Innovative Investments, a Los Angeles- based venture fund focused on investing in e-media, Internet, software and health-care related businesses.

He also worked as a Senior Associate at Duke Equity, a private equity firm investing in emerging markets with a presence in Los Angeles, Dubai, and India and as Director of Venture Development at the Girvan Institute of Technology, a center for high-tech innovation, technology transfer and start-up accelerator founded and funded by NASA.

Collaborating on innovation

Joshi has seen the educational approach to entrepreneurship spread across the nation. From Vanderbilt to MIT and Carnegie Mellon, universities are looking for new ways to champion innovation, he said.

“The way that HU has set itself apart in its approach is to collaborate with like-minded entities who want to see Harrisburg as a technology partner,” Joshi said.

The HU entrepreneurship initiative will serve as a springboard for all students and faculty to collaborate and to benefit from HU’s network, corporate partners, the PA entrepreneurial community and beyond,” Joshi said.

“It is our goal to make the HU the primary focal point of contact for students, faculty and the larger entrepreneurial community interested in innovation and to make it a home for launching immersive experiences,” Joshi said.

Joshi plans to execute on HU’s vision to focus on “applied STEM” and grow an even more robust culture of innovation on campus by leveraging its unique industry focused approach to discovery and learning.

Joshi’s experience across all facets of new venture creation combined with work with researchers, students, entrepreneurs, investors, incubators, accelerators and other related entities in the entrepreneurial value chain puts him in a very unique position to lead our initiative at HU,” said Dr. Eric Darr, President of HU. “Rigved has the bandwidth, background, expertise and experience we want and need to accomplish our entrepreneurial goals and I am excited that he will be an integral part of our leadership core.”

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