Speakers

Martin Vogelsang

Philanthropist Impact Investing | Organizational Development Founder and Managing Director Good Roots Berlin Area, Germany

Impact Investor, Social Entrepreneur with a long-standing career and background in the banking and strategic consulting business. He has expertise in creating, testing and launching business models between for-profits and not-for-profits by truly leveraging skill-sets and creating models around sustainability and self-replication leading to sector/industry transformation. He demonstrated this through launching Fem Sustainable Social Solutions (FemS3), a social enterprise-incubator based out of Bangalore, India, focusing on seed investments and capacity building.

Parag Mankeekar

Founder, Director at Neeti Solutions

Dr. ParagMankeekar’s education, interest and life experience form a powerful combination that has led to birth of Neeti Solutions and later on acquiring RealLives simulation game from Educational Simulations, USA, a concept that is currently at the leading edge of gaming for education. His college degree was in Medicine, followed by additional training in Anthropology, Public Health and Disaster Preparedness. He has worked with several social organizations, in India and abroad. He has also witnessed closely the impact of terrorism by living closely with terrorist groups as a young trying to understand how it impacts nations and lives of the common man. He was awarded with prestigious Ashoka Fellowship in 2008 and before that Erasmus Fellowship which allowed him to study in various distinguished universities in central Europe. While learning in Europe he met innovators and people with out of box abilities

Arthur Tolsma

Innovation & Startup specialist. Strategy Consultant, Speaker, Coach, Pitchtrainer

In 2007 Arthur Tolsma co-founded Greetinq BV, where he experienced the ups and downs of the startup life. After winning a national TV-show in 2009 he was seen as a successful entrepreneur in the media, but four months later he was almost bankrupt and had to reorganize the company. He held on, and sold the company in 2012. After his startup-period he became successful in sharing his insights in innovation and entrepreneurship; as coach for high-tech startups, setting up a business incubator, teaching at universities, and writing the book 'Startups & Downs' (January 2014, by publisher Communicatiereeks). At this moment he is working parttime at VODW, a strategic marketing consultancy firm, as Senior Innovation Consultant. The insights and creativity that he used to help startups, prove also applicable in turning ideas into business at big corporations. As freelancer Arthur Tolsma is asked by various organisations for his inspiring stage performance. He is speaker at local and international conferences (TEDxEde, Valencia, Berlin), where he inspires his audience on innovation, startups, and personal leadership. These topics are also the focus of the conferences he presents as moderator or presenter. And he also shares his knowledge on stage performance by giving pitch workshops.

Samer Karam

Chairman of Startup Megaphone. Fund Manager, Angel Investor, Startup Advisor, & Street Photographer.

Samer is an international serial entrepreneur, angel investor, ecosystem builder, investment advisor, public speaker, and fund manager based out of Beirut, Lebanon, with experience in North America, Western Europe, Scandinavia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and Lebanon.
In 2007, Samer co-founded the Middle East and North Africa’s (MENA) first intrapreneurship center at Bank Audi (Top 10 banks in the Arab World), working with IDEO, Sapient, Infosys, Tata, and Booz & Co while reporting directly to the CEO. That same year, he founded his first startup, Wunbox, which went on to become the first MENA startup to successfully pitch to [Chi-Hua Chien] Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers in California.
In 2010, Samer co-organized the Arab World’s first tech conference, ArabNet, and founded Lebanon’s first startup accelerator, Seeqnce, with over 700,000 US$ of angel funding. Seeqnce went on to create 4 of Lebanon's most promising startups [Cinemoz, Et3arraf, eTobb, and Presella] that have raised over 8 million US$.
In 2013, Samer sat on the steering committee that advised the Central Bank of Lebanon on the creation and implementation of Circular 331 - Lebanon’s 400 Million US$ sovereign fund for equity investment in startups. That same year, he successfully proposed and submitted for financing [4 million US$] two support institutions for Lebanon’s fledgling startup ecosystem [Startup Megaphone and Startup Bootcamp], while closing a 800,000 US$ angel round in a portfolio of Lebanese startups.
In 2014, Samer co-organized Banque du Liban Accelerate 2014, Lebanon’s 1st international startup conference, which attracted over 1,600 professionals from 20 countries with a lineup of 53 high calibre international speakers. Then, in 2015, Banque du Liban Accelerate became MENA’s largest and most international startup conference, featuring over 6,000 attendees, 100 speakers, 100 startups, and spanning 11,000 sqm; 70% of the speakers and 25% of the startups flew in for the conference, alongside 10% of the attendees.
In May 2015, through Startup Megaphone and with the support of the American Lebanese Chamber of Commerce, Samer successfully launched Start Up Lebanon at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, as the first of a series of international events to promote Lebanon’s startups, investors, and support institutions. That same year, he partnered with Golden Gate Ventures to successfully organize a Southeast Asia meets Lebanon [founders and investors] executive retreat in Singapore at the Singapore F1 Grand Prix.
In his free time, Samer is a public speaker, with over 50 engagements in 30 countries from the USA to Japan.

Moritz Gekeler

Founder and CEO bei Dolaborate GmbH

Dr. Moritz Gekeler is a strategic consultant, coach and facilitator for co-innovation and design thinking. Over the last ten years he has gained professional experience in various institutions such as the foresight department of Daimler AG, the HPI School of Design Thinking and the SAP Design and Co-Innovation Center. In 2015 he founded dolaborate as a co-innovation consultancy. Moritz works with international companies of all sizes in the process of participatory strategy making especially in regard to design and innovation. He also enables them by teaching creative methods, facilitating innovation events and as a key-note speaker. Besides working in the business sector, Moritz has also taught at various universities in Germany. He is a member of the expert team of the German design research network design:transfer.

Joshua Rajkumar

Co-Founder & COO, The Sustainability Platform; Co-Founder & COO, VentureFin; Head of MENA, Hult Prize; Partner, EMCOP

Joshua is a co-founder of an innovative social impact consultancy called The Sustainability Platform that operates out of Dubai, focused on maximizing and measuring social impact for CSR programs, NGOs, SMEs and social enterprises in the Middle East, South Asia, and the Caribbean. Under this, he is the exclusive representative of the Hult Prize as the Head of MENA.
He is committed to bridging the gap between the organizational efficiency of the private world and the mission of social enterprises, specializing in social impact measurement. Now, Joshua looks to bridge an even bigger gap; access to finance for some of the world’s most innovative, impactful and promising start-ups as a Co-Founder & COO of VentureFin, an equity and loan based crowdinvesting platform headquartered out of the UAE.
Joshua is a development economics specialist with international experience in the for- and non-profit industries, and is passionate about social enterprise project design and scalability. He is experienced in high-level diplomacy in both the public and private sector with government leaders and company executives through his time with the Head of State team at the Clinton Global Initiative and as a Partner at EMCOP, an engineering services company whose principal is Mitsubishi Electric, working on metro railway development in the Middle East and India as well as supplying for Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) programs.
Joshua holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Journalism from NYU and a Master’s in Social Entrepreneurship from Hult International Business School, and competed in the Hult Prize 2012 finals after winning the European regional finals by developing an innovative business model that put solar lights into 1 million households in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Anika Kaiser

Designer and photographer for various clients like Coca Cola, P&G and Die Zeit Online

Anika Kaiser is cofounder of the innovation consultancy Coaeva in Berlin. She holds a degree in communication design and has many years of experience as a designer and photographer for various clients like Coca Cola, P&G and Die Zeit Online. Dealing with communication strategy and corporate aesthetics is her expertise. In 2014 studying Design Thinking at HPI D-School gave her career a new twist. Since then she consults companies by using the methodology of Design Thinking and creates workshop formats regarding to their specific challenges. With her visual mindset she always has a creative approach solving problems. Another focus is on user needs and team building.

GennyGhanimeh

Founder-CEO @ pi-slice.com | Blogger @ blog.pi-slice.com

Following her passions for the MicroFinance& the Online industries, and after a life-altering trek in Kilimanjaro, Genny founded Pi Slice in March 2012 and negotiated a partnership agreement with MicroWorld from the Group PlanetFinance to build and administer the first crowd-lending platform for microfinance in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Prior to Pi Slice, Genny began her career in Development Project Finance, and latershifted her focus to the financial industry and business development, where she honed her entrepreneurial skills in founding her 1st company Pro-ID in 2003; initiating start-ups and identifying market opportunities for the international corporations represented. She also consulted in setting-up & managing a financial security semi-governmental company in Dubai.In 2007, Genny founded and managed Pi Investments, working mainly on mergers and acquisitions deals in emerging countries, Fund Advisory and Placement Agent. In 2010, Genny joined a DIFC based investment bank as the Head of Business Development. Genny is a recognized voice, and a dedicated Author and Contributor in different outlets like Entrepreneur Magazine, Executive Magazine, Philanthropy Age and Pi Slice Blog, writing about Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship, Impact Investing, CSR and Microfinance. She is currently a Lecturer at London Business School, Hult Business School and Dubai Women Business Council; and a Founding Mentor at EMIR Program at London Business School and other Incubators like Afkar ME, Flat6Labs and UK-Lebanon Tech Hub. Genny also organized and launched CEO Talks interviews in partnership with Impact Hub and In5 Dubai, where she interviewed top Dubai CEOs. She is a regular Professional Speaker at events like CSR Summit, Global CSR Congress, SME Advisor Events, Bold Talks, WEF. Genny has anMA in Civil Engineering from the Lebanese University and an MBA from London Business School (UK).

Thomas Festerling

(Former Director of Deutsche Bank, Managing Partner & CFO of GreenTec Capital Partners)

In middle of his successful career in Deutsche Bank, Thomas decided to apply his wealth of financial expertise for a more direct impact. Familiar with challenges in emerging markets through his family ties to Peru, he started by volunteering for several projects In Africa and Latin America. Experiencing that his abilities and knowledge can make a significant difference for companies and projects that want to grow in Emerging Markets, he decided to make this his full-time business. Thomas contributes his more than 10 years of experience and vast network in the world of finance and focuses on the investment, financing and business planning. He speaks English and Spanish fluently besides his native German. He is married and in early 2015, he became first time father of a son whom he wants to grow up in a better world.

Fabian-Carlos Guhl

Founder & Managing Director at AMPION Africa

Fabian-Carlos Guhl is Founder and CEO of AMPION Africa. AMPION empowers aspiring entrepreneurs to create startups in the digital field in Africa. In the past two years, AMPION facilitated the foundation of more than 80 startups in 16 African nations in diverse fields such as healthcare, mobile, agriculture, energy, water and citizen engagement. AMPION mobilized 500 entrepreneurs, mentors and investors from across the globe to fly to Africa and work on startup ideas with locals on the ground. AMPION is the 2015 recipient of the Silicon Valley Global Ecosystem Innovation Award, and several AMPION produced startups have won coveted awards such as the Harvard New Venture Competition and the MIT Entrepreneurship Awards. Fabian studied Media and Communications and International Business in Berlin, London and Paris. He interned in communications strategy at the United Nations in NYC and the office of the Vice President of the African Development Bank in Tunisia. He was one of the first employees of DailyDeal, Europe’s largest Groupon competitor, which was acquired by Google for +100 Million Euro. Fabian gained expertise in how to scale an e-commerce business model to 25 emerging markets in less than six months. Fabian co-founded several startups and is a former Director of the European Young Innovators Forum in Brussels.

Luis Ferreira

CEO, Non-Executive Director, Advisor, Mentor
London, United Kingdom, Venture Capital & Private Equity

Accomplished executive, entrepreneur, advisor and mentor. A leader, with international background, multi-industry experience and multi-cultural capabilities. A wide range experience in Real Estate, Management and Finance. Brings broad perspective and exceptional leadership skills, able to create high performance management teams within complex environments. Generates trust, enthusiasm and commitment from others, including multi-cultural team environments, dealing equitably with people. Successfully delivering profitable complex projects involving multiple stakeholders and diverse portfolios. Manoeuvres effectively through complex situations. Strategic thinker able to implement innovative ideas in efficient ways. Has proven to successfully handle changing environments. Possesses a strong personal drive, integrity and focus. Sustains a valuable network of high level contacts in several countries.

Dr.Dawie van den Heever


Dr. Dawie van den Heever is a senior lecturer and researcher at the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. He is part of the Biomedical Engineering Research Group and his research interests include neuroscience, sports biomechanics and medical device development. Dr. van den Heever is the current chair of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society South Africa chapter, IEEE Stellenbosch student branch counselor and member of the Southern African Neuroscience Society. Recently he became involved in a program aimed at promoting and enabling entrepreneurial activities in southern Africa. He is also the founder and managing director of HEEVER technologies, a biomedical engineering company based in South Africa.

Jessica Berlin

Founder & CEO, CoStruct
MyanmarInternational Trade and Development

An entrepreneur and economic development expert leveraging global tech innovations to meet local needs in frontier markets. Building new forms of startup-corporate and public-private partnership to foster sustainable business and sustainable development. Passionate about creating commercially viable solutions to problems facing consumers in developing countries. 10 years experience with public, private, academic, and nonprofit institutions in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America.

Paula Schwarz

Founder, StartupboatForbes 30 under 30

Paula Schwarz co-founded a number of social ventures since the outbreak of the European refugee crisis in July 2015, and consults for different European governments, research institutes and think tanks on the refugee crisis. She brings together changemakers on Startupboats at the border between Greece and Turkey in order to give a perspective of the situation on the ground, and to develop innovative solutions for the phenomenon of mass migration based on design thinking methods. Paula co-founded the first free co-working space for projects related to the refugee crisis, the Migration Hub Network, which currently operates in different cities in Europe. Through StartupAid, her most recent project, Paula strives to enable innovative thinkers from different fields and backgrounds to become active in European charitable work in the spirit of Erasmus, in order to work on effective and scalable solutions for systemic challenges linked to the European refugee crisis. Three months after its launch, StartupAid is backed by the governments of Italy, Finland, Germany and Greece. The first 1000 volunteers are preparing to begin their charitable work in May 2016. Paula is leading the refugee taskforce of the Global Shapers of the World Economic Forum and has a background in political sciences and finance.

Nail Valiyev

Entrepreneur | Speaker | Mentor | Ecosystem builder

Nail has MBA and Master in Management degrees in London where he started working for one of the largest accelerators in London. Founded a number of London-based startups. Ecosystem builder and community leader in Azerbaijan. Started working with local entrepreneurs, investors and mentors to boost businesses and the local ecosystem. Has co-designed the concept of the largest incubator in Baku. Organized one of the largest tech and finance conferences in the country and abroad. Currently CEO at Khazar Ventures(www.khazarventures.com) and Sup Accelerator (www.Sup.az) – the first seed fund and an accelerator in Baku where responsible for fundraising, investments, portfolio management and strategy. An advisor and mentor for startups and tech companies in various countries. Has been involved in startup ecosystem of Silicon Valley, Baku, Berlin, Istanbul, Moscow and London for over 5 years.

Tena Pick

CEO at The Sustainability Platform | Director of Advisory at VentureFin | Head of Social Impact at C3

Tena is a Social impact consultant passionate about women empowerment, community development and social impact measurement. She is based in Dubai with extensive experience in the Middle East, Caribbean, and South and Southeast Asia. She is a Co-founder and CEO of The Sustainability Platform, a social impact consultancy dedicated to integrating social business principles into core business operations. TSP clients include non-for profit organizations, social enterprises and CSR departments. Tena is also the Head of Media for C3-Consult and Coach for a Cause and Director of Conuslultancy at VentureFin. Tena is a regular speaker at social business conferences around the world and monthly contributor to Training Magazine Middle East. She holds a Master of Social Entrepreneurship from Hult International Business School and a Bachelor’s Degree in Entrepreneurial Economics from VERN University of Applied Science.

Oscar Kneppers

Venture Capital & Private Equity Founder & CEO, Rockstart accelerator Netherlands

Rockstart Founder & CEO Oscar Kneppers is considered a successful serial entrepreneur and a celebrated internet publisher, launching several cross-media brands since 1998, all focused on new media and technology. After selling his media businesses in 2002 and 2008, Oscar founded Rockstart in 2011. Over the years Oscars companies won several awards. In 2006 Bright won the Dutch Bloggie for best starter and in 2007 Kneppers won the title Most Innovative Publisher at the National Publishers Congress. Rockstart was awarded Best Investor at the Dutch Startup Awards in 2012 & 2013.

Anselm Dr. Schneider

International Trade and Development Director Bonn Office, Corporate Development, Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Dr. Anselm Schneider is a manager and leading public health expert with GIZ based in headquarters Bonn, Germany. Currently he acts as program director for strategic cooperation with multilateral organizations. Formerly he held leading positions in corporate development of GIZ, health system development, hospital management and other areas. He disposes of working experiences with World Bank and as a CEO in the private sector. He has worked for 15 years in different countries in Africa and Asia.

Enoch Pakanati

CEO atThe Smarketers, Startup advisor and Sales coach

Enoch is the CEO ofThe Smarketers, a sales consulting and inbound marketing company. He is also a startup mentor and sales coach helping startups in India create the right business plan, product plan, investor pitches and define the complete product strategy from scratch. He has formerly worked as a sales and marketing leader in IT services companies. As a sales leader for the past 10+ years, Enoch has helped products and services companies build and equip their inside sales and sales teams with the right techniques, strategies and tools to generate qualified leads, find better opportunities and close them. His work with most companies has helped them grow over 110% Year on year

Rahul Bansal

Education Management Deputy Director Education, Climate-KIC London, United Kingdom

Rahul is experienced management consultant specializing in strategy and business modeling. He has advised global organizations in the UK, Europe, South Asia and China across multi-industry. He is an experienced international professional education expert on Business Models. He has also published on business model innovation and co-authored 5 business case studies.

Nora Kempmann

Entrepreneurship Education Consultant, Middle East

Nora Kempmann is a freelance Entrepreneurship Education consultant working on projects in the Middle East. She is currently involved in projects in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Palestine, focusing on empowering youth to start their own “green”businesses. Nora holds a Masters degree in Arabic and African Studies and has a professional background in teaching and higher education management with work experience in Egypt, Dubai and Germany. For the past 3 years Nora worked for Climate-KIC, Europe’s largest public-private innovation partnership, where she managed a number of impactful Entrepreneurship education programmes. Nora is also involved in several student startup projects as a mentor.

Matthias J. Gotz

The Elephant Podcast/ Lead Architect at DRAA Berlin Berlin Area, Germany

Architect by trait, Matthias is the executive producer of The Elephant podcast which is a journey into the biggest story that is climate change. Through The Elephant, Matthias along with his team brings out the illuminating interviews, takes you inside the surprising questions, stories, battlegrounds, debates, and fights occurring throughout the world, as the planet heats up and humanity confronts what is perhaps the greatest challenge of our time.

Arno Zimmermann

PhD at TU Berlin, Co-founder Coolar Berlin Area, Germany Chemicals

Arno made it to the Forbes 30 under 30 list with his company Coolar and is developing solar-powered refrigerators, ideal for cooling vaccines. Zimmerman himself has raised more than 2.2 million EUR for a range of cleantech and entrepreneurial Research and Development efforts.

Govinda Upadhyay

Founder, LEDsafari Geneva Area, Switzerland Renewables & Environment

Govinda, founder with his startup LEDsafari is on the Forbes list- Forbes 30 under 30 2016 for his achievements in edu-tech i.e., teaches solar technology in schools by integrating innovative pedagogy and hands-on practical training through creating a solar LED lamp. He also backed the EIT CHANGE AWARD 2015, BITSAA 30 Under 30 Award, Finalist at Forbes 2015 social impact award.

Lisa Günther

Business Administration with specialization in Organisation Science and Intercultural Communication

Lisa Günther has coordinated and facilitated various international project teams online and offline - either as a fellow of the intercultural Melton Foundation, researching workspace concepts at Fraunhofer Institute or solving problems in Design Thinking teams. She holds a degree in Business Administration with specialization in Organisation Science and Intercultural Communication. During her education in Design Thinking at HPI D-School, she refined her skills in communication, responsible leadership and the creation of nurturing spaces and occasions for collaboration between people from the most different backgrounds. Since more than a year she has been involved in the creation of the digital platform clarat.org in Berlin, which aims to give better access to social services for families and refugees in need.

Lucas Paes de Melo

Design Thinking coach || Co Founder at Amparo

Design Thinking expert and coach at the HPI School of Design Thinking. He graduated in International Relations and specialized in Public Health in Brazil. In Brazil he worked at the Center for Global Health(CRIS-Fiocruz) as an International cooperation technician: managing technology transfer projects in the areas of public health education, disease control, primary healthcare and milk banks for African and South American countries. In 2014 he co-founded the Amp It Up! Project to create innovative solutions for amputeesin developing countries (amparo.com.de). He currently supports the development of a Design Thinking School in Brazil.

Diogo Alves

Serial Entrepreneur | Investor Mobile, Media & Entertainment | WEF Global Shaper | Partner Expansion Team

Diogo is an Independent Senior Investment Consultant for Portugal Ventures, Board Member and Advisor of several Startups and Accelerators as well as a Partner at the Expansion Team that helps technology companies to grow internationally. He is quite active in Social Entrepreneurship being a World Economic Forum Global Shaper and the Director of International Affairs of the German Federal Association for Sustainability.
Furthermore, Diogo is a globetrotter that lived in 9 countries and 4 continents, launched and managed 4 startups. He started by being a strategy consultant in Africa and then co-founded the first online printing platform of Iberia, was Managing Director for a venture of Rocket Internet in Asia, managed the largest daily deals of Caribbean and a VC backed mobile app in Europe. Out of work he is also an avid movie enthusiast, basketball and drummer player!

Jon Woodroof

Startup sales expert; Founder- Twotone Amsterdam

Jon has nearly a decade of experience selling products & services to companies across industries like L&D/HR, App/Software Consulting, Translation and Localization and even B2C selling in the cycling industry back when he ran his own bike shop. Jon did his undergrad in German at Georgia State and has a Masters of International Business at GSU's Robinson College. He also completed a graduate level German to English translation certification from the Dept. of Modern and Classical Languages at Georgia State University. He has grown to love sharing his experiences to guide others and help them find what works best for their organization. In November, 2014 he founded Twotone Consulting and has been growing the business ever since. Now a team of 4, the company helps startups with sales and cycling companies with PR. The magic happens when he gets to work with a cycling related startup.

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