William R. Kerr

Professor of Business Administration

William Kerr is a Professor at Harvard Business School. Bill teaches in the MBA, executive education and doctoral programs at HBS. He is the faculty chair of HBS’ Launching New Ventures program, and he recently created an MBA course entitled Launching Global Ventures. He has received Harvard's Distinction in Teaching award.

Bill's research focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation. One research strand examines the role of immigrant scientists and entrepreneurs in US technology development and commercialization, as well as their  impact for the global diffusion of new innovations and ideas. A second research strand considers clusters and entrepreneurship, with special interest in how government policies aid or hinder the entry of new firms, cluster formation, and growth. A final interest area is entrepreneurial finance and angel investments.

In 2013, Bill received the Ewing Marion Kauffman Prize Medal for Distinguished Research in Entrepreneurship, awarded annually to one scholar under age 40 whose research has made a significant contribution to the literature in entrepreneurship.

Bill has worked with companies worldwide on projects related to entrepreneurship and launching new ventures, with particular emphasis on innovation and global dynamics. Bill has also advised several governments about deregulation processes and their investments in the innovative capacities of their nations.

Bill and his family live in Lexington, MA. They enjoy outdoor sports and trail running, are active members of their local church, and maintain close ties to his wife's home country of Finland. Bill grew up in Alabama and remains a passionate college football fan.

  1. Winner of the 2013 Ewing Marion Kauffman Prize Medal for Distinguished Research in Entrepreneurship, awarded annually to one scholar under age 40 whose research has made a significant contribution to the literature in entrepreneurship.

  2. Winner of the 2012 FPD Academy Award for Best World Bank Research in Finance and Private Sector Development.

  3. Winner of the 2010-2011 H. Gregg Lewis Prize from the Journal of Labor Economics for his paper with William F. Lincoln “The Supply Side of Innovation: H-1B Visa Reforms and U.S. Ethnic Innovation” (July 2010).

  4. Awarded the 2011 Marvin Bower Fellowship to support research by outstanding scholars.

  5. Awarded a 2009 Faculty Research Fellowship from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

  6. Awarded the 2009 Kauffman Foundation Junior Faculty Fellowship in Entrepreneurship Research.

  7. Named Harvard Business School MBA Class of 1961 Fellow in 2008.

  8. Named a fellow of the 2006-2007 Innovation Policy and the Economy Group at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

  9. Awarded a 2004 Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University.