Eric Paul Smith
Eric blends technological, legal, and policy expertise with collaborative design to build innovation ecosystems in which entrepreneurs thrive and companies grow. As Director of the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the U.S. Economic Development Administration, he oversees a $325+ million grant portfolio and the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which advises the Commerce Secretary on accelerating innovation and technology entrepreneurship.
A computer scientist and lawyer, Eric practiced as in-house counsel in fintech before joining the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, focusing on technologies that power the Internet of Things and wireless communications. During his first tour at EDA, he helped establish OIE’s programs, manage NACIE, and build EDA’s digital infrastructure.
Before returning to EDA, Eric led digital transformation as Chief Customer Officer of NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transition Programs. Eric’s team built software to manage $200+ million in annual small business-led R&D.
Born and (mostly) raised and educated in Indiana, and a member of the New York bar, he earned a J.D. from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and a B.S. in computer science and mathematics, along with a technical translation certificate in German, from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.