Guraraj "Desh" Deshpande, a local entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist, has been named the 2013 Person of the Year by the India New England newspaper.
In an article posted Tuesday, India New England cited Deshpande's "continual influence in innovation and entrepreneurism.''
". . . unlike the serial entrepreneurs who repeatedly start and sell one cutting-edge company after another, Deshpande's efforts now are focused on helping others succeed in the startup world,'' India New England wrote, noting that he has helped create at least 100 companies.
His legacy includes the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT. According to his biography, the Deshpande Foundation "has helped establish three other centers; Deshpande Center for Social Entrepreneurship in India, Merrimack Valley Social Entrepreneurship Sandbox in Lowell/Lawrence Massachusetts and Pond-Deshpande Center at the University of New Brunswick in Canada.''
He is listed as President and Chairman of Sparta Group LLC; Chairman of A123 Systems (AONE), Sycamore Networks (SCMR), Tejas Networks, and HiveFire.
Deshpande and his wife Jaishree have also donated millions to causes, including the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. The Deshpande's Peabody Essex donation, coupled with a second donation from another contributor, nearly tripled the area for Indian art at the museum.