Bruce Sommer

Director of Economic Development & Innovation, UIS

Bruce Sommer is the Director of Economic Development and Innovation at the University of Illinois Springfield where is also teaches Entrepreneurship and Innovation. His work on the economic impact of early-stage venturing has been published across professional journals and popular media alike. Bruce has worked with inventors, entrepreneurs, faculty, and institutional leaders from around the world assisting in ideation, design, and execution of a variety of applied innovations.

Bruce is a founding council member of the Illinois Innovation Network, a founding member of the Angel Capital Association, and a member of the National Commission on Innovation and Competitiveness Frontiers.

Additionally, Bruce is a startup entrepreneur and seed investor who founded three companies and led investments in a multitude of early-stage companies. He is the managing partner of NextGen Ventures, a closely-held private equity, and venture capital fund focused on nascent technology across a variety of industries. Locally, he is a co-founder of Innovate Springfield, Sangamon CEO and founder of Kindling Fund, missioned to build economically strong communities through individual empowerment and new venture creation.