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          2012 Jury Member

          The Rolex Awards for Enterprise

          Location: India

          Gururaj "Desh" Deshpande
          India, Born 1952

          Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande is recognized worldwide for pioneering new technologies and turning them into successful businesses, earning a reputation as a visionary innovator. After studies at the Indian Institute of Technology — Madras and at Queen’s University in Canada, where he earned a Ph.D, Deshpande moved to Boston in the 1980s to start the first of his many enterprises. 

          He is currently chairman of five technology companies, among them Sycamore Networks, which he co-founded in 1998, a venture that Fortune magazine predicted would “do nothing less than change the nature of the Internet”.

          Over the past decade, the global philanthropist has donated millions of dollars to non-profit initiatives. The Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT has awarded more than 80 grants to promising start-ups, while the Deshpande Center for Social Entrepreneurship in south-west India has supported a wide variety of education, health and agriculture programmes. In 2010, he launched a centre for social innovation at the University of Massachusetts. In recognition of these undertakings, he was appointed co-chairman of the U.S. National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

          For Deshpande, a successful entrepreneur must, above all, “demonstrate inner strength, take risks, tolerate pain and face challenges”.

          Other 2012 Jury Members