Our 2020 speakersvirtually dazzled you
Felix MagajuHead of programs at KCIC
Felix is the Head of programs at KCIC. He holds more than 13 years experience supporting early and growth stage companies with technical assistance and SME financing support across many African countries. At KCIC, he leads an advisory and investments team that has supported over 400 enterprises in the clean-tech space with both technical assistance support, grants and commercial financing.
Before joining the Kenya Climate Innovation Center, he led an SME advisory team to support over 50 off-grid energy companies at Energy4Impact (E4I) (formerly GVEP International), a donor-funded strategy and investment advisory organization focused on off-grid and distributed energy solutions in Africa. Prior to this, he worked with clean-tech SME support programmes funded by The EU, USAID, Winrock International, AGRA, Hivos and SNV in various advisory capacities covering more than 12 African countries.
Roman ZinchenkoCo-founder at Greencubator
Roman Zinchenko is smart energy / green economy advocate and communications consultant. Since 2009 he develops eco-system for green startups, social entrepreneurship and sustainable innovations at Greencubator, Ukrainian energy innovations network (www.greencubator.info).
Roman is enthusiastic about reinventing business models with focus on sustainability and green growth. He’s been an advisor to Ukraine’s most dynamic smart energy startups EcoIs.me and uMuni. Roman is among creators of Ukraine’s leading green startup events, including TeslaCamp, Hack4energy, Smart Energy Forum & Hackathon,, and over dozen EnergyCamps.
Roman’s passion is translating innovations into inspiration via storytelling and presentations. He’s helping innovators and startups to shape communications and pitches for the best signal/noise ration and maximum clarity. Roman was also the host and curator of speakers’ preparation at TEDxKyiv conferences for 4 years in a row.
Amandine de RosnaySustainability / geo-political analyst
I help organisations to adapt and lead in the global paradigm shift that is currently unfolding. My areas of expertise include geopolitics and conflicts (MPhil), climate change (MSc), and the management of externalities for businesses (8 years of experience in consulting). I work at Dynamia, a consulting firm based in Mauritius. I am also available for freelance work, please feel free to drop me a line in LinkedIn or on email@example.com.
Systemic thinking and analysis of complex and intractable challenges has never been as important as it is today. Humanity faces some of its most important challenges, from climate change to the current pandemic, that result from years of misalignment between our social, economic and political domains, and the consistent and persistent destabilisation of our physical environment.
Hira WajahatProgram Manager Stimulus
Leading the Programmes & Projects team at Stimulus with a focus on sustainability, clean-tech and innovation, I am the Pakistan National Lead for ClimateLaunchpad, a global green business ideas competition. I am also actively engaged as a business mentor and coach, consulting with and facilitating trainings for start-ups and new business ventures.
Over the last 10 years, I have had the opportunity to work with an array of organizations across various industries: energy, FMCGs, pharma, agribusiness, healthcare, education, media & NGOs/NPOs. I have also been involved in the initiation of two entrepreneurial ventures that are running successfully. My simultaneous exposure to corporate, government, education and development sectors has led me to believe in the importance of systems thinking and benefits of partnerships for value addition.
I am also engaged as visiting faculty at SZABIST, Karachi, teaching the courses “Sustainability and Technology”, “Technopreneurship” & “Product Innovation and Design” to undergraduate students.
David PistoniCEO & Co-Founder Zeleros
CEO and Co-Founder at Zeleros hyperloop, the European company leading the development of a new transport system that enables city-to-city travel at unprecedented speeds and zero direct emissions. Zeleros’ disruptive approach to hyperloop radically reduces the infrastructure costs and secures operations at safe pressures levels.
The company has raised international private and public support, and is preparing the construction of a European Hyperloop Development center which will include a multi-kilometer test-track in Spain to demonstrate the system at high speeds. At the same time, it promotes the creation of a regulatory framework to ensure hyperloop interoperability across the Trans-European Transport Network and beyond to become a global reference.
A consolidated European hyperloop network could reduce more than 7 million tonnes a year of GHG emissions, becoming the backbone of the economic, social, and sustainable progress. www.zeleros.com
Thomas OsdobaSenior Cities Advisor, EIT Climate KIC
Workshop: Healthy, Clean Cities – how systems innovation can open up new opportunities for early stage business
Thomas Osdoba joined EIT Climate-KIC in 2018 as a Senior Advisor. In his two years he created and launched Healthy, Clean Cities, an effort to help Europe’s cities respond effectively to the climate emergency and build inclusive and prosperous communities. The initiative is the most advanced program of its kind for cities seeking to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.
He brings an exemplary history of leadership and innovation, spanning public, private, nonprofit, and academic sectors. He combines systems thinking and creativity in service of future-oriented new endeavours. He has co-created multiple social enterprises, including EcoDistricts, New Energy Cities, and Clean Energy Works.
A critical element of his success rests with the ability to inspire, mobilise, and lead people in shared pursuit. He lead the sustainability work for non-profits such as Enterprise Community Partners, institutions such as the University of Oregon, and government bodies such as those of Portland, Vancouver, and the state of Minnesota.
Rowan BarnettHead of Google.org EMEA & APAC
Rowan Barnett leads Google’s philanthropy in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. Google.org brings the best of Google to help solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges and support underserved communities. Previously he led Google for Startups efforts, aiming to ensure everyone has access to the tech ecosystem and helping a new generation of diverse entrepreneurs and social innovators succeed. Prior to that he was a Senior Director at Twitter responsible for strategic market development across European and Emerging Markets. He also spent 8 years in journalism and leading digital and social innovation at the publisher Axel Springer, as well as founding several startups. Rowan serves in a number of advisory capacities, including on the Board of Trustees of the Franco-German-British leadership initiative, Club of Three, the Axel Springer Young Journalist Prize advisory board, and is a Save the Children Changemaker.
Jennifer GithinjiLead consultant, Africa Instore Solutions
Expert Session: Things I wish I knew when I started my first company
Jennifer Githinji is the lead consultant of AIS. Jennifer founded AIS after a successful career in sales and marketing spanning over 10 years with leading FMCG brands including Coca-Cola and Colgate Palmolive.
Israel Griol BarresStartUPV Ecosystem Manager, Business mentor and coach
Expert Session: Things I wish I knew when I started my first company
Israel is the start-up ecosystem manager of the Universitat Politècnica de València in Spain and an experienced lecturer, trainer and mentor. His specialities are innovation, business models, business strategy and entrepreneurship. Israel is a Telecommunication and Electronics Engineer. He joined ClimateLaunchpad as a trainer in 2015.
Shiva SusarlaManaging Director - RENERGii Asia
Expert Session: Things I wish I knew when I started my first company
Shiva Susarla runs a Singapore-based venture studio and innovation firm. After over a decade spent with other startups and young companies in cleantech, Shiva now builds his own circular economy startups in Asia, unsuccessfully trying not to make the same mistakes he has seen other businesses make.
Julia WatsonPrincipal of Julia Watson Design Studio
Born in Australia but based in New York, Julia is leading the field in search of Lo—TEK indigenous, nature-based technologies for climate-resilient design. She teaches urban design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. She is the author of the book “LoTek”. She is a judge on the New York State Council of the Arts Architecture + Design Panel, and the principal of Julia Watson, a New York–based experiential, landscape, and urban design studio.
Shloka NathHead, Sustainability and Special Projects, Tata Trusts
Shloka Nath is Head of Sustainability and Special Projects at the Tata Trusts. Shloka leads the organization’s climate, energy and environment work, implementing and funding sustainable and scalable solutions that help both people and nature thrive through India.
Shloka is also the Executive Director, of the India Climate Collaborative, an India-led platform founded in 2018 by a group of philanthropies interested in continuing to accelerate India’s development, while also exceeding its climate goals.
She is Vice President, on the Board of the Bombay Natural History Society, founded in 1883, it is one of the largest non-governmental organisations in India engaged in conservation and biodiversity research.
Prior to this, Shloka co-founded and was Managing Partner, Sankhya Women Impact Funds, India’s first women’s investor funds that focused on early stage enterprises impacting women.
She is also the author of a book on Wildlife in India and a Senior Advisor to the World Wilderness Congress.
Shloka is an active angel investor in social enterprises and has mentored organisations across sectors.
She has spent over a decade in print and broadcast journalism with the BBC in London, New Delhi Television, and Forbes with a special emphasis on sustainability and financial inclusion.
In 2010, Shloka was nominated for India’s highest awards in journalism for her reportage on microfinance in India. In 2014, Shloka served as Campaign Manager for Meera Sanyal, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Candidate for Mumbai (South), for India’s General Elections. Shloka has a Master in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a BSc in Government from The London School of Economics and Political Science.
Bianca DragomirCEO of the Valencian cleantech cluster AVAESEN
Bianca Dragomir is on a mission to instill purpose, speed and scalability in cluster leadership to meet climate goals. Replacing the status quo with open, entrepreneurship-driven ecosystems, she is leading a new generation of clusters across Europe and beyond.
Bianca was awarded “European Cluster Manager of the Year” by the European Commission for her work as CEO of the Valencian cleantech cluster AVAESEN in Spain. An Ambassador to 2500 clusters, she advises the European High-Level Industrial Roundtable ‘Industry 2030’ on developing a smart, innovative and sustainable industrial strategy for the future of Europe with funding of €1 Trillion.
Like a ripple effect, Bianca launched the first EIT Climate-KIC cleantech start-up accelerator in Spain and expanded it to 12 EU countries. She created Spain’s first Smart Cities Think Tank — linking governments as ‘problem owners’ with businesses and VCs as ‘solution providers’ to co-create greener cities — and quickly replicated it in other regions.
Michael LiebreichFounder and Senior Contributor to Bloomberg New Energy Finance
Michael Liebreich is Chairman and CEO of Liebreich Associates, but he is perhaps best known as Founder and Senior Contributor to Bloomberg New Energy Finance – the world’s leading provider of information and research on clean energy and transport.
He is a Visiting Professor at Imperial College, a member of the UK Department for International Trade’s Capital Investment Advisory Board and most recently joined Sustainable Development Capital LLP (SDCL) as a Senior Adviser. In Sept 2020 Michael was honoured to accept an invitation to join as an Advisor to the UKs Board of Trade and he is also a member of the IEA’s Global Commission for Urgent Action on Energy Efficiency, an independent panel focusing on key policy actions that can be undertaken by countries around the globe.
Until recently he was a long-standing board member of Transport for London and a member of the high-level group for the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative.
Aldith HunkarModerator, media coach, journalist
Aldith Hunkar is a multimedia journalist, with 25 years of experience in mainstream media and over 14 years in journalism for Dutch TV news outlets. She started her television career in 1994 as a children’s news presenter and in 2000 she was working as the first camjo (camera journalist) in the Netherlands for the regular news. Since 2007, Aldith has worked as an independent journalist. She moderates (international) conferences, leads debates, writes, and creates audio/visual productions emphasizing equal rights, equal opportunities and social cohesion. Aldith is an independent thinker, loves traveling and has an open mind and an adventurous spirit.
Diederik SamsomHead of cabinet for the First Vice-President of the European Commission
Diederik is head of cabinet for the First Vice-President of the European Commission and as such a driving force behind the European Green Deal. Prior to that he was leader of the Dutch Labour Party, CEO of a green energy company and an avid and prominent campaigner for Greenpeace.
Kirsten DunlopCEO at EIT Climate-KIC
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.
Frank HeemskerkSecretary General at European Round Table for Industry - ERT
Frank Heemskerk (Haarlem, The Netherlands, 26 July 1969) was appointed as Secretary General of the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) on 1 January 2019.
The ERT is a forum of some 50 European industrial leaders of multinational companies aiming at promoting the competitiveness and growth of Europe’s economy (www.ert.eu). ERT Members are either Chief Executive Officer or Chair of the Board of major European companies covering a wide range of industrial and technological sectors.
Frank Heemskerk also is a visiting lecturer in Geo-Economics at Leiden University, faculty of Governance and Global Affairs.
From 2013 to 2018, Frank Heemskerk was Executive Director at Board of the World Bank Group, representing the Dutch Constituency of Armenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Israel, Moldova, Montenegro, The Netherlands, North Macedonia, Romania and Ukraine. He was chair and vice-chair of the World Bank Group Audit Committee (2014-2018).
Mr Heemskerk was (from 2011 to 2013) member of the Managing Board of Royal HaskoningDHV, an independent, engineering and project management consultancy with 7,000 staff members and 100 offices worldwide. He was responsible for Group Finance and IT and in charge of the business lines Water, Buildings and Infrastructure.
Mr Heemskerk served from 2007 to 2010 as Minister for Foreign Trade of the Netherlands. During this period, he was also responsible for the Post, Telecom&IT, Consumer Policy, Tourism, SME’s and the Better Regulation agenda.
From 2003 to 2006, he was member of the House of Representatives of the Netherlands, where he was spokesperson for the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) on financial supervision, economic affairs and health care reforms.
Sid VollebregtManaging Director Elemental Water Makers
Sid Vollebregt is a water enthusiast and clean-tech specialist on a mission to solve fresh water scarcity, using only the sea, sun, earth & wind.
He’s an engineer with a Master degree of the University of Technology in Delft, The Netherlands in Sustainable Energy Technology and Mechanical Engineering.
In 2012, Sid co-founded the organization Elemental Water Makers, who develop sustainable desalination technology to enable access to affordable freshwater using the sea & sun. Sid is the CEO of the company that is currently active in >10 countries on 5 continents. In 2017, Sid received the 1st prize of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award from the Emir of Dubai for a project they executed on the British Virgin Islands. In 2019, his company was selected as Finalist for the Dutch National Icon. Sid has been listed 3 times in the list of Sustainable Young 100 and won several innovation, enterprise and pitch Awards.
Virginijus SinkevičiusEuropean Commissioner
Virginijus Sinkevičius is the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries at the European Commission.
Previously he was a Member of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania and Minister of the Economy and Innovation of the Republic of Lithuania.
In 2018, he was awarded for The Best Solution for Better Business Environment of the Year by association Investors’ forum and Blockchain Leadership at #SWITCH! Tech Awards. In 2019, he received the Partnership Leader 2018 award for Innovation reform and development of startup ecosystem from the Lithuanian Business Confederation. In 2018, Virginijus was included in the list of 100 World’s Most Influential Young People in Government by Apolitical.
Suresh VenkatIndependent media consultant and event anchor
Suresh Venkat is an independent media consultant and anchor. Previously, Suresh was Technology Editor with CNBC TV18, India’s pre-eminent business news network.
With over 18 years of media experience, Suresh was with CNBC TV18 for eight years between 2004 and 2012. He is also the creator and former co – anchor of the CNBC TV18’s multi award winning personal technology show, Tech Toyz.
Prior to his stint at CNBC TV18 was programme director and radio presenter at RadioCity 91.1 FM, and a producer with Star TV. Suresh is renowned both for his unique insights into business and his irreverent style as an anchor.
James BurfordBroadcaster & journalist
A decade of broadcasting at the UK’s biggest media companies has brought James Burford to the forefront of the profession. As a TV & Radio Presenter, he is perhaps best known for his exploits at the Premier League – bringing the biggest competition in the world to global audiences. Big-name interviews are his speciality – Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola & Eden Hazard to name but a few. Having also worked with the BBC and Sky, James is a broadcaster for the big occasion. His contributions have been seen by millions around the world – and alongside his obvious passion for sport, he believes wholeheartedly in the fight against climate change, and the need to give a platform to the ideas that could one day revolutionise our approach.
Ron BloemersFounder Start-U-up
Ron Bloemers is founder and managing partner of cleantech business accelerator Start-U-up in Amsterdam). Ron has over 25 years of hands-on experience with cleantech, renewables and start-ups.
Willem FerwerdaFounder & CEO Commonland
Willem Ferwerda is an international professional and strategic policy maker in ecosystems, biodiversity, agriculture, forestry and land use issues in relation to (local and indigenous) people, business, non profits and government. His focus is to mainstream ecosystems in agendas of farmers, business and policy through learning by doing and up scaling of practical solutions. Hands on & grounded.
Willem Ferwerda is CEO and founder of Commonland as well as Theme Lead Business & Ecosystems for the IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Commonland foundation is an entrepreneurial, impact-driven, not-for-profit organization with an international team of business developers and experts in the fields of landscape restoration, finance and communication. The mission is to create an investable large-scale landscape restoration industry. Based on sustainable business models, delivering 4 returns: inspiration, social, natural and financial returns.
JF GauthierFounder & CEO of Startup Genome
JF Gauthier is a Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur and Founder & CEO of Startup Genome. He is the world’s leading expert in innovation ecosystem development, having advised—and learned from—more than 100 governments and private-public partnerships across 40 countries. He is an angel investor and has founded five businesses across two continents and three sectors (Tech, Life Sciences and Cleantech), with two exits and one growing at scaleup stage. He previously worked in corporate innovation advising some of the largest Tech and Life Sciences corporations alongside Clayton Christensen and other thought leaders. Harvard MBA.
Farid TabarkiFounding Director of Studio Zeitgeist
Farid Tabarki is the founding director of Studio Zeitgeist and a sought-after public speaker, debate moderator and event host. He has been researching the (European) zeitgeist since 2000. Farid is a regular contributor to Het Financieele Dagblad (Dutch Financial Journal). In 2017 his widely acclaimed first book ‘The end of the middle – What a society of extremes means to people, businesses and government’ was published in English.
Recently, Studio Zeitgeist has published the whitepaper The Transformation Playground, Reinventing Business Principles. It presents in-depth analyses of the seven organising principles, which the Studio believes are the most important ones for businesses to put in practice.
Farid received the Trendwatcher of the Year Award for 2012-2013, and since 2013 he became the youngest person on the list of the 200 most influential people in the Netherlands according to Dutch daily morning newspaper de Volkskrant.
Farid sits on various supervisory boards and committees, among others of the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and International Theatre Amsterdam. In 2015 he was a member of Platform Onderwijs 2032: commissioned by the Dutch government, the platform presented a vision on Dutch education policy moving towards the year 2032.
Farid presented the parliamentary election edition of MTV Coolpolitics and the television program Dare to Think, from Socrates to Sartre.
Dolf GielenDirector Innovation & Technology
Dolf Gielen is Director Innovation and Technology at the International Renewable Energy Agency since 2011. His work focuses on power systems innovation for integration of renewables, sector coupling and energy transition strategies. He has a PhD from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.
Indy JoharCo Founder Dark Matter Laboratories
Indy is Co Founder & Executive Director at Dark Matter Laboratories in London, United Kingdom.
Edward MungaiCEO Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC)
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”.
Arnaud de la TourCEO & Co-founder of Hello Tomorrow
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.
Frans NautaFounder ClimateLaunchpad
Frans founded ClimateLaunchpad in 2014 as a European competition with 11 participating countries. Amazing things happened and the programme is currently live in 56 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 EIT 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 ThomasCo-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.
Mike Goodfellow-SmithSenior Research Fellow, 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.
Jan van der TempelFounder & CEO Ampelmann
Pratap RajuFounder 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.
Lawrence ThigaBusiness Mentor & Trainer
Expert session: Things I wish I knew when I started my first company
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.