Zoltan Acs – Founder & President

Zoltan J. Acs, Ph.D., The Godfather of Entrepreneurship—author, writer, scholar, teacher social entrepreneur—is the leading advocate for the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation in economic growth and social development.

He is University Professor and Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Public Policy (CEPP) at George Mason University. He is also a visiting professor at Imperial College Business School in London and affiliated with the University of Pecs in Hungary and a full member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He is coeditor and founder of Small Business Economics a leading academic journal.

Previously he was a Research Scholar at the Entrepreneurship Growth and Public Policy Group at the Max Planck Institute for Economics in Jena, Germany. He has also served as Research Fellow at the U. S. Bureau of the Census, Chief Economist at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Associate Director of the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) at the University of Maryland, Research Fellow at the Science Center Berlin, Research Associate at the Institute on Western Europe at Columbia University and Scholar-in-Residence at the Kauffman Foundation.

For 30 years Dr. Acs has been a leading advocate of the importance of entrepreneurship for economic development. His research covers the intersection of innovation, technical change, regional economics, institutions, growth and entrepreneurship.  He received the 2001 International Award for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Research, on behalf of The Swedish National Board for Industrial and Technical Development. His research has appeared in the most important journals publishing more than 200 articles and 30 books. His most recent book Why Philanthropy Matters: How the wealthy give, and what it means for our economic well-being, 2013 (Princeton University Press) was finalist for the Academy of Management George R. Baker Prize for the best book in management in 2014.

He is the founder of The GEDI Institute and along with Dr. Laszlo Szerb the founder of the Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEI) that is the first tool to track entrepreneurship and economic development in the global economy.

He received the 2001 International Award for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Research, on behalf of The Swedish National Board for Industrial and Technical Development, is a Wilfred White Fellow, holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Pecs and is a full member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

His hobbies include cooking, skiing, collecting Contemporary Patrimonial Art, biking across America and driving fast cars.


Laszlo Szerb – Global Data Scientist

Dr. Laszlo Szerb brings a wealth of research and analytical expertise to GEDI and its partners. He is co-author (with Zoltan Acs) of the Global Entrepreneurship & Development Index. For more than 20 years, Dr. Szerb has conducted research and published works that qualify and quantify the factors that result in economic growth and high-impact entrepreneurship the world over.

Dr. Szerb is University Professor and Director of the Department of Business and Management Studies in the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Pecs, Hungary, and has been a visiting professor in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, the U.K. and the U.S.


Ainsley Lloyd – Executive Director

Ainsley holds a Masters of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and a Bachelors in Economics from the University of Arizona. She specializes in environmental and development economics, with expertise in composite indices and social and environmental indicators. She has contributed to projects for the Clean Technology Fund, Green Growth Knowledge Platform, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, World Bank and Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy. In cooperation with President Zoltan Acs, she oversees strategic planning, resource management, research, and outreach for the Institute.


Amundson_Family-1003-ZF-9755-04861-1-001-007Siri Terjesen – Project Director, Female Entrepreneurship Index

Siri Terjesen has been conducting comparative research in entrepreneurship, as well as issues of gender and the labor market,  for over fifteen years. She has published her research on entrepreneurship, strategy, and gender in leading journals, with press coverage in US News & World Report, Times (London), CNBC, and other media outlets. She is Associate Editor at both Academy of Management Learning & Education and Small Business Economics. She holds a Bachelors in Business Administration (finance, marketing, and international business) from the University of Richmond, a Masters from the Norwegian School of Economics, and a PhD from Cranfield. She is on the faculty at Indiana University and has been a Visiting Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute of Economics in Germany as well as Lund University’s School of Management and Economics in Sweden.

Sameeksha Desai – Project Director, Youth Initiatives356 cropped

Sameeksha Desai is an assistant professor at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and associate director of the Institute for Development Strategies at Indiana University. She conducts research on entrepreneurship under conditions of political instability, demographic change, and weak institutions. She is a co-chair of the Transatlantic Policy Consortium, an affiliated researcher with the Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum, and an Editor of Small Business Economics. Her work has been published in leading economics, political science and management journals, and has been commissioned by government and nonprofit organizations, and has been covered by a wide range of media outlets. Previously, she was a visiting scholar at the Kauffman Foundation, an associate fellow at the Ratio Institute, and a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute of Economics. She holds a PhD from George Mason University.

120312_2105~01Eva Komlosi – Project Director, REDI

Since 2012, Éva Komlósi has been working as research assistant in MTA-PTE Innovation and Economic Growth Research Group at University of Pécs. She directed the regional GEDI index project (REDI) at GEDI, where her principal focus has been to investigate the effects of institutional factors on entrepreneurship. Éva earned a PhD under the supervision of Prof. László Szerb in regional science from University of Pécs, Hungary.  Her dissertation deals with issues on contemporary Japanese regional development policy.