Sameeksha Desai is the director of knowledge creation and research in Entrepreneurship at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where she embodies strategic and visionary leadership by anticipating trends and identifying patterns in data and evidence to shape the Foundation’s entrepreneurship strategy. Desai leads the design and implementation of the Foundation’s research-based thought leadership strategy in entrepreneurship, identifies knowledge gaps that must be closed in order to advance entrepreneurship and conducts actionable and practical research that can inform programmatic strategies.
Concurrently to working for the Kauffman Foundation, Desai is a tenured associate professor at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the associate director of the Institute for Development Strategies at Indiana University, where she teaches and conducts research related to entrepreneurship, economic development and public policy. She also is a consultant for The World Bank Group in Washington, D.C.; a project director of youth initiatives for the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute; an editor for Small Business Economics; affiliate researcher for the Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum in Stockholm, Sweden; and the co-chair of the Transatlantic Policy Consortium. Earlier, Desai was a visiting researcher at the Technical University of Lisbon in Portugal; an associate fellow for the Ratio Institute in Stockholm, Sweden; a visiting scholar for the Kauffman Foundation; an assistant professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Bloch School of Business for the University of Missouri—Kansas City; and a research assistant for the Center for Entrepreneurship and Public Policy at George Mason University.
Her forthcoming publications include: “Economic effects of terrorism,” Geography Compass; “What drives high-growth firms in transition economics?” Small Business Economics; “Destructive entrepreneurship and security context,” Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy; and “Creativity, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development: City-level Evidence on Creativity Spillover of Entrepreneurship,” Journal of Technology Transfer. Her past publications include: “Taxes, corruption and entry,” Small Business Economics, 2016; “Entrepreneurship and Economic Development in Cities,” Annals of Regional Science, 2015; “Regulation, Entrepreneurship and Firm Dynamics,” European Journal of Law and Economics, 2015; “Does Corruption Matter for International Entrepreneurship?” International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 2015; “A Model of Destructive Entrepreneurship: Implications for Conflict and Postconflict Recovery,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 2013; among others.
Desai earned a Doctor of Philosophy in public policy from George Mason University, a Master of Science in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University and a Bachelor of Science in sociology from Northwestern University.