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Our 2019 speakers

will dazzle you

Constantijn van Oranje

Special Envoy TechLeap.NL

Panel Discussion – Building start-up ecosystems and fixing climate change around the globe
Constantijn van Oranje is Special Envoy for TechLeap.NL (formerly: StartupDelta). He is appointed by the Netherlands Government to make The Netherlands the European epicentre of innovation, with the best climate for entrepreneurs to start, build, grow and internationalize their businesses.

He also advises companies and the European Commission on their digital innovation strategies. He is a regular speaker at national and international tech conferences and holds a number of positions in both the public and private sector.

Constantijn is Director Digital Technology & Macro Strategy at Macro Advisory Partners in London and New York and Edge Fellow at Deloitte Centre for the Edge.

Marjan Minnesma

Director Stichting Urgenda

Keynote speaker
Marjan was named most influential person working in the field of sustainability in the Netherlands for three years in a row. In 2015 she was declared a ‘leading global thinker’ by the American magazine Foreign Policy.

She is co-founder of Urgenda, the front-running organization that coordinated the first citizen’s collective solar-panel buying initiative and introduced the first electric car produced in series to the Netherlands in 2008. She rallied almost 900 citizens and took the government to court to demand more effective action against climate change, and won. Twice.

Marjan studied business administration, philosophy and international law. She has worked for the Dutch government, Greenpeace Netherlands, and at leading universities.

Mridula Ramesh

Executive Director Sundaram Textile & Cleantech Investor

Panel Discussion – Building start-up ecosystems and fixing climate change around the globe
Mridula Ramesh is the author of critically acclaimed, ‘The Climate Solution – India’s Climate Change Crisis and What We Can Do About It’. She is founder of the Sundaram Climate Institute, which focuses on waste and water solutions and education. She is an active angel investor in cleantech start-ups, with a portfolio of over a dozen start-ups. Mridula sits on several angel management groups, including the Indian Angels and the Chennai Angels, and is involved in several initiatives to spur entrepreneurship to build climate resilience.

A graduate with distinction of Cornell University (with majors in Chemistry and Microbiology), with an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Mridula worked at McKinsey in Silicon Valley before returning to India. Leveraging on her two decades of management experience, she teaches a postgraduate class on climate change at the Great Lakes Institute of Management and is a regular columnist for Firstpost on Climate Change and has written for the Hindu, Live Mint, Bloomberg Quint and Conde Nast. She is the Executive Director of Sundaram Textiles and lives and experiments in Madurai in a net zero-waste house with her husband and two children.

Kevin Kelly

Ireland's Ambassador to the Netherlands

Before being appointed as Ireland’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, Kevin served as Director for OSCE, Council of Europe, UN Coordination and Conflict Resolution in the Political Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dublin.

Prior to that, Kevin was Director for Humanitarian Affairs in the Development Cooperation Division of the Department (2011-2014).

Between 2007 and 2011, Kevin served as Ambassador to Uganda and Rwanda based in Kampala. Before that he worked as Director for Africa in Political Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs, as Head of Development in the Embassy of Ireland in Ethiopia and as Senior Governance Adviser for the World Bank in Addis Ababa.

In 2019 Kevin was appointed Special Envoy of the Government of Ireland to Africa for Ireland’s Campaign for election to the UN Security Council 2020.

Kevin holds two Masters Degrees, from the Queens University Belfast and University College Dublin and has experience of working with civil society organisations in Ireland, UK and Botswana. He has also been responsible for the planning and implementation of non-formal human rights and global education programmes with the National Youth Council of Ireland.

Kevin is married to Pamela Uwakwe and has two children, Maya aged 24 and Noah aged 14.

In his free time, Kevin enjoys reading and running.

Edward Mungai

CEO Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC)

Panel discussion on Building start-up ecosystems and fixing climate change around the globe
Expert session on Start-up recruitment: how to get more ClimateLaunchpad start-ups in your country
Mr. Edward Mungai is the Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC). He leads the team across focus areas and crafts unconventional strategies to drive innovation and entrepreneurship in climate change.

Mr. Mungai has a multifaceted background in business advisory, entrepreneurship, and investment management, having worked with the Danish International Investment Funds (IFU) as an Investment Manager in Copenhagen as well as in Africa where he was the head of the regional office for IFU. Edward holds an Executive MBA as well as a Business Management degree from Moi University, Kenya. He has huge interest in corporate sustainability and has been involved in high level discussions of the topic across Africa and the USA. Edward is a 2016 Eisenhower Fellow and a published author of the book “Impact Investing in Africa”.

Focco Vijselaar

Director-General for Enterprise and Innovation

Focco Vijselaar is Director-General for Enterprise and Innovation at the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. Prior to this role he was Chief Economist at the same Ministry and also worked as Director for Foreign Finance Affairs at the Dutch Ministry of Finance.

Marieke van Doorninck

Alderman for Sustainability and Urban Development for the City of Amsterdam

Marieke van Doorninck is Alderman for Sustainability and Urban Development for the City of Amsterdam. From 2006 until 2014, she was a member of the Municipal Council for the GreenLeft party, of which she was the party chair since 2009. Before that, she worked for different organisations focusing on refugees and women’s rights.

Himanshu Malik

Co-Lead of AGNii and Invest India

Expert session on Cleantech Innovations: The New India Story

Himanshu co-leads the National Technology Commercialization Program of the Govt. of India. Named AGNIi (Accelerating Growth of New India Innovations), the program aims to support ongoing efforts to boost the innovation ecosystem India by introducing innovations from across the nation for wider adoption by the industry, development agencies, government departments, small and medium enterprises etc both domestically and internationally.

A business graduate with over a decade-and-a-half of experience in leading business development and strategy initiatives for several global MNCs, Himanshu is also a mentor to startups and an angel investor.

Beth Gardiner

Environmental journalist

Keynote speaker
Beth is an environmental journalist and the author of Choked: The Age of Air Pollution and the Fight for a Cleaner Future. Her writing regularly appears in publications such as the New York Times, the Guardian, National Geographic and the Washington Post. She has discussed her work on NPR, the BBC, MSNBC and Britain’s Sky News and LBC radio. She is a former long-time Associated Press reporter.

Lisa Ann Pinkerton

Founder & President at Technica Communications

Keynote speaker & panel

From the newsroom to the boardroom, Lisa Ann Pinkerton has used her keen analytical skills to share cleantech stories with the world for nearly two decades. Most recently she was named a Women of Influence by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Lisa Ann is founder and President of Technica Communications, founder and Chairwoman of Women In Cleantech & Sustainability, co-founder of the Global Cleantech Cluster Association, an international speaker and moderator and documentary filmmaker. Lisa Ann started her career as a broadcast journalist for nearly a decade. Her work has been broadcast on National Public Radio, PBS Television, NBC and other US news outlets. Lisa Ann holds the degrees Bachelor of Fine Art and Master of Art Management and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

Arnaud de la Tour

CEO & Co-founder of Hello Tomorrow

Expert session on ‘How Hello Tomorrow is shaping the world’s Deep Tech’
Arnaud de la Tour is CEO and Co-founder of Hello Tomorrow. Prior to that, he completed a Ph.D. in the photovoltaic industry, then worked for 2.5 years in management consulting at the Boston Consulting Group.

Kirsten Dunlop

CEO at EIT Climate-KIC

Keynote speaker
Kirsten Dunlop joined EIT Climate-KIC in January 2017, from Suncorp Australia, where she was Executive General Manager Strategic Innovation. At Suncorp Kirsten founded and led a bespoke division focused on managing and responding to strategic risk through innovation, transforming core business and industry models from within. Prior to roles in Second Road, KPMG and Suncorp, Kirsten worked in the UK and Italy for 15 years.

Frans Nauta

Founder ClimateLaunchpad

Frans founded ClimateLaunchpad in 2014 as a European competition with 11 participating countries. Amazing things happened and the programme is currently live in 53 countries across the globe.

All Frans’ work is always about innovation & entrepreneurship, with a focus on cleantech. He loves to teach, train and give lectures. He helps his clients to grow the innovation capability of their organization and develop innovation ecosystems.

Not only did he start ClimateLaunchpad, he also set up the Climate-KIC Start-up Accelerator program (around 1.000 startups enrolled and >600 M€ attracted in funding), the Innovation Platform chaired by the Dutch Prime Minister and Knowledgeland (a think tank on social innovation and knowledge economy).

Frans holds an MA in Political Sciences.

Paris Thomas

Co-founder Chrysalis Leap

Expert session: Tame your interview gremlin: How to structure your customer conversations 

Paris Thomas is a business model architect, strategy designer and communication specialist conducting training and consulting interventions that improve communication and entre- and intrapreneurial skills.

Paris is also co-founder and CEO at Chrysalis Leap, Cyprus’ first accelerator programme specialising in cleantech. It is a private initiative aimed at helping entrepreneurs tweak, pivot, pitch and grow their ideas into investment-ready business opportunities. As a lead trainer and member on the Board of Directors, some of his responsibilities include the delivery of training modules on the “Business Model Generation”, “Pitching to Investors”, and coaching the teams through their start-up journey to success.

As such Paris is also one of the ClimateLaunchpad Boot Camp trainers.

Hans Westerhof

EIT Climate-KIC Entrepreneurship Lead Benelux

Expert session: ClimateLaunchpad trainers sharing lessons learnt during their own start-up adventures
Hans is a start-up trainer, general manager, consultant and entrepreneur with a background in a broad range of industries and environments. His current focus is cleantech start-up acceleration through entrepreneurship education, coaching and financing. Experienced in directing large projects and programs (US 100 million +).

Hans is one of ClimateLaunchpad’s Boot Camp trainers.

Chretien Herben

Business Coach for Cleantech start- & scale-ups

Expert session: ClimateLaunchpad trainers sharing lessons learnt during their own start-up adventures
Chretien has 10 years of experience as a business coach in the Life Sciences & Medtech and has mentored over a 100 companies through his LifeSciences@Work program. Next to that he is an experienced as business coach/trainer/mentor in the Climate-KIC Accelerator and ClimateLaunchpad.

Chretien has a background in Physics and Optoelectronics and started ThreeFive Photonics, a company designing and manufacturing complex optoelectronic chips for telecom applications, in 2001 from his PhD research at the TUDelft. He has experience in translating complex technologies into business, building high potential business based on breaktrough science, typically requiring venture capital.

Mike Goodfellow-Smith

Senior Research Fellow, Quantum Technologies in Infrastructure, University of Birmingham

Expert session: ClimateLaunchpad trainers sharing lessons learnt during their own start-up adventures
As Director of QUEST for Future Solutions Mike has internationally recognized experience in regional energy, construction, environmental assets and infrastructure, transport, housing, planning, waste, resource efficiency and environmental business support. QUEST provides strategic direction for sustainable development; sustainable innovation; sustainable procurement; management, reporting and training programmes.

Mike holds a BA in Geography. An Msc. In Land Resource Management and is a PHD researcher on Sustainable Cities Value Capture modelling.

Pratap Raju

Founder of PR Climate Studio

Expert session on what do cleantech investors look for
Pratap has been an entrepreneur in India for nearly 20 years, from IT to Bollywood to Solar. Since 2015, he has been helping building up the climate and cleantech startup ecosystem in India and South Asia and aims to help support the entrepreneurs in the SubContinent who are looking to solve our many environmental problems with innovative ideas, hard work, and risk-taking. Pratap has a AB in Math from Harvard University and an MSc in Economics for Development from Oxford University.

Alex Khripko

Expert Start-ups & Innovation
Expert session on ‘our vision on Clean Mobility’
Since 2016, Alex has worked on building up the Start Up Energy Transition platform at the German Energy Agency (dena) in Berlin. Working as a start-up expert in the Renewable Energies and Mobility department, Alex is responsible for the implementation of the annual SET Award and for supporting and coordinating the global partners of SET. Originally from Toronto, Canada by way of Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Alex holds an academic background in international public policy, with a particular passion for sustainable development, gender equality and innovation.
More on the SET Platform here:

Hira Wajahat

Programmes & Projects team at Stimulus

Expert session on Start-up recruitment: how to get more ClimateLaunchpad start-ups in your country

Leading the Programmes & Projects team at Stimulus with a focus on sustainability, clean-tech and innovation, Hira is also the Pakistan National Lead for ClimateLaunchpad, a global green business ideas competition. She is actively engaged as a business mentor and coach, consulting with and facilitating trainings for start-ups and new business ventures.

Hira brings with her vibrant experience of working with an array of organizations across industries: FMCGs, pharma, healthcare, education, media & NGOs/NPOs. She has been involved in the initiation of two entrepreneurial ventures: AsaanMove (packing and transportation solution) and Print&Co (a complete design and print house) that are running successfully. Her simultaneous exposure to corporate, government, education and development sectors has led her to believe in the importance of systems thinking and benefits of partnerships for value addition.

Hira is also engaged as visiting faculty at SZABIST, Karachi, teaching the course “Sustainability and Technology” to undergraduate students.

Joachim Blazer

Founder, investor and valuation expert

Expert session on how to value your start-up
Joachim Blazer is a longtime founder, investor and valuation expert. He is the author of The #1 Guide to Startup Valuation: How to Value Your Startup in 12 Easy Steps. And he writes columns on startup valuation for Dutch publication Sprout.

Lawrence Thiga

Business Mentor & Trainer

Expert session: ClimateLaunchpad trainers sharing lessons learnt during their own start-up adventures
Lawrence’s main goal is to empower people within start-ups and small & growing enterprises. He helps business grow and expand their impact. For the past 8 years he pursued various entrepreneurship training certifications and he is a certified business mentor in Kenya. Since 2017 he has been involved with Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) at Strathmore Business School and a Germany based organization (SEED) for Africa.
Lawrence holds a B.A in Psychology and he is the founder of Novell Arch Enterprise, a training and consultancy firm for micro, small and medium sized enterprises. He joined ClimateLaunchpad in 2019. His approach to training does not only guarantee a steep learning curve, you should also brace yourself for a lot of fun during his Boot Camps.

Mehreen Shoaib

CEO and Founding Director, Stimulus

Panel Discussion – Building start-up ecosystemsand fixing climate change around the globe
Mehreen Shoaib is a change agent and seasoned facilitator on challenging private/corporate and social development sector assignments. Her areas of expertise include designing and implementing change management initiatives, institutional capacity diagnostics, value-chain analysis and development; competency assessments, private and social sector partnership development, and sustainability, governance and socio-economic impact evaluation and monitoring.

Having successfully facilitated projects across the private & public sectors, with multi-level stake-holder involvement, she embarked upon her agenda of pursuing effectiveness & efficiency in the social sector, by creating Stimulus, as a for-profit, social enterprise, offering innovative sustainability solutions to the social development community as well as private corporations, on the mandate of corporate social responsibility, governance & sustainability.

Mehreen is known for her persistent prowess at strategic partnership development, cause-marketing & negotiations and social impact evaluation with the objective to establish synergistic, long-term, mutually value-adding, sustainable alliances and associations.

Eva de Mol

Venture Capital | Scientist

Expert session on Female Founders
Eva is a scientist and an investor. She is the founder of CapitalT, an early stage venture capital fund investing in early stage technology companies with diverse founding teams. She has a PhD in economics from the VU University and University of California – Berkeley Haas Business School. Her research focuses specifically on entrepreneurship and teams – she collected data of 1000+ entrepreneurs to discover patterns of the most successful teams. Eva’s work is published in top tier scientific journals and she’s also a frequent writer for the Harvard Business Review. Eva is a strong advocate of diversity is venture capital and is one of the co-founders of #Fundright

Jop Blom

Impact accelerator

Expert session on an Impact Accelerator model for high performance and long term leadership & value creation
During this expert session Jop Blom (international serial social entrepreneur, CSR expert and national lead for CLP Colombia) will take you through his Impact Accelerator model for high performance and long term leadership & value creation. The model gathers 2 decades global leadership & entrepreneurship experience, working with thousands of passionate change-makers on 4 continents, by holistically combining the 5 key pillars; purpose, sustainability, a winning culture, leadership and talent engagement. This expert session is relevant for ambitious innovative green & social start ups with a growth mindset ready to change this VUCA world by turning challenges into opportunities.

Beñat Egaña

Entrepeneurship Co-lead Climate-KIC

Expert Beñat has ten years of experience managing innovation and entrepreneurship programs to tackle our world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges. After working in multiple transformational technology areas with EU programs at VDI/ VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH and working on a diverse set of initiatives at social impact GmbH around inclusive/ social entrepreneurship and social innovation, he is now focused at addressing his generations’ most pressing challenge, climate change. At EIT Climate-KIC he is co-leading all entrepreneurship programs and experimenting with ways to force systems transformations using entrepreneurship as the key ingredient for significant and positive climate impact.

Stelios Procopiou

Co-Founder and the Managing Director of Chrysalis LEAP

Expert session on Sponsors and donors: how to build lasting support for ClimateLaunchpad in your country

Stelios Procopiou is a Co-Founder and the Managing Director of Chrysalis LEAP, the first cleantech accelerator in Cyprus and Regional Partner of EIT Climate-KIC.

He is a First-Class Honours graduate of Imperial College, London, a Fellow Chartered Accountant, Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW), a holder of the Chartered Wealth Manager Qualification and Chartered Fellow Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI) and a CFA Charterholder and Member of the CFA Instititute.

He has extensive experience in the financial sector and is actively involved in initiatives promoting entrepreneurship and innovation.

Lucas Nieto

Project manager at Climate Ventures

Expert session on Start-up recruitment: how to get more ClimateLaunchpad start-ups in your country

Project manager at Climate Ventures, Lucas stimulates a healthy growth of the sustainable ecosystem in Brazil. He guides startups and cleantechs into refining their projects in order to achieve a more significant impact. Lucas is also the Brazilian National Lead for ClimateLaunchpad – a global green business ideas competition – and What Design Can Do – an international platform on the impact of design. With a professional background that includes working in a
multinational company, a local family business and as an entrepreneur twice, he has gathered the best of all worlds and applies his knowledge into creating new social economical dynamics, favouring the green economy. His passion for human interactions and development has lead him into graduating in ESPM with a Communications degree and later achieving a Sustainability masters at FGV. His drive for literature and history, together with a French citizenship, resulted in a semester of literary studies at Lycee Claude Monet in Paris. More than once, he has dedicated his time volunteering in third sector projects. Lucas, unconditionally believes on the cliche of making the world a better place, and orients his career with this in mind, putting his productive capacity at service of building a more balanced society.

Some previous speakers

These great thinkers already rocked our stage (and our minds)

Nicola Sturgeon

First Minister of Scotland

Dane Boysen

Entrepreneur, former ARPA-e and Cyclotron Road

Puon Penn

EVP/Head of Technology Capital Wells Fargo

Dawn Lippert

CEO Elemental Accelerator & Innovation

Peter Mathieson

Principal and Vice Chancellor University of Edinburgh

Eugene Kandel

CEO Start-Up Nation Central

Monika Tomecka

Founder & CEO UFraction8

Jan van der Tempel

Founder & CEO Ampelmann

Ed Craig

Deputy Director & Head of Innovation ECCI

Pedro Pinto

CEO & Co-founder Fibersail

Gareth Roberts

CEO Cambond

Pinar Guvenc

Founder & CEO Sponge

Douglas Martin

CEO MiAlgae

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