Richard Harris

Richard Harris

Senior Business Development Officer, Ministry of Small Business, Entrepreneurship, and Commerce

Barbados

Richard Harris is the Senior Business Development Officer in the Ministry of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce in Barbados, West Indies. He has 19 years of experience working with the local small business sector. His responsibilities include advising the Minister responsible for business development, implementing the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) Program in Barbados, administering the local Small Business Development Act, conducting research of the MSME sector and coordinating other Business Support Organization’s activities with the Ministry. He previously worked as a Cooperatives Officer with the Cooperatives Department as an examiner of credit unions and business cooperatives. Mr. Harris holds a Master’s of Science in Financial Management and a Bachelor’s of Science in Management from the Cave Hill Campus, University of the West Indies.

Ask: Barbados is seeking to adapt the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) model in order to enhance its entrepreneurial ecosystem; looking to form specific business clusters as a new part of its developing ecosystem.

Offer: The local SBDC program allows for other stakeholders in the Americas to partner with Barbados’ SBDCs.

Fern Lewis

Fern Lewis

Director of Business Support Services, Barbados Investment and Development Corporation

Barbados

Fern S.A. Lewis serves as the Director of Business Support Services of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC). With more than 20 years of experience in research, business policy formulation, corporate strategy and business development, Fern has is responsible for developing new programs and initiatives and providing research and information that can help small enterprises expand. She manages the BIDC’s campaign for innovating Barbados through alliances and collaboration across the public and private sectors. For three years she has overseen the growth of Barbados’ signature event for innovation – the Innovate Barbados conference, which has become a hot spot for creative problem-solving and a place where investors, businesses and audacious start-ups converge for the opportunity to turn ideas into real life solutions. Fern is currently working with the Government’s ministerial team to formulate Barbados’ National Industrial Policy 2020-2025. Fern holds a M.S. in Management – Strategy and Operations from Walden University.

Ask: The BIDC wants to expand its product development program, which aims to help SMEs improve existing products or create new products or services; technical guidance.

Offer: The BIDC’s Innovate Barbados conference is a unique space in the Caribbean for networking and facilitating the transfer of knowledge and information in an interactive and engaging way.

Celio Vaz

Celio Vaz

Founder and CEO, Orbital Engenharia S.A.

Brazil

Celio Vaz is the founder and CEO of Orbital Engenharia S.A. with more than 20 years of experience in developing systems and equipment for the Brazilian Space Program. He has more than 30 years of experience in Mechanical Engineering focusing on energy generation systems for space applications, including satellite power supply subsystems, micro and small satellites system engineering management, liquid propulsion, and microgravity suborbital platforms for scientific experimentation under microgravity environment. Dr. Vaz holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Brasilia, an MSc in Applied Systems Analysis at the Brazilian National Space Research Institute, and a Doctorate in Science in Mechanical Engineering (Aerodynamics, Propulsion and Energy) at the Technological Institute of Aeronautics.

Ask: Research, design and manufacturing of equipment and systems for Low Earth Orbit cubesats, microsats and satellites; partnership with private sector and cooperation with public sector and academia for developing new equipment and systems related to LEO space with commercial applications.

Offer: Orbital Engenharia has the full capacity to design solar arrays and power subsystems for satellites. Orbital Engenharia also has solar arrays with more than 50,000 hours of in-orbit flight history without any failure.

Francisca Cruzat Grand

Francisca Cruzat Grand

Director of International Affairs, Corporation for the Promotion of Production (CORFO), Ministry of Economy

Chile

Francisca Cruzat Grand is the Director of International and Institutional Affairs of CORFO, the Chilean agency for development. She is a Historian at the Finis Terrae University and a Magister in Strategic Communication a the Adolfo Ibáñez University. She also serves as Counselor of the commune of Vitacura in Santiago de Chile and is a member of the Board of Antenna, a non-profit organization that promotes the development of the visual arts. She was Coordinator of Programming for President Sebastián Piñera between 2010-2014 and Executive Coordinator of the Business Council of the Pacific Alliance between 2014-2018. During her career she has contributed to the management of public policies and public-private projects and the generation of international networks, which have helped to improve Chile’s competitiveness through entrepreneurship and innovation.

Javier Cueto

Javier Cueto

General Manager, Imagine Lab

Chile

Javier Cueto Soto is the General Manager of Imagine Lab, a private technology-based incubator and accelerator in Chile supported by Microsoft and CORFO, the Chilean agency for development. Cueto has played an important role in supporting more than 500 startups in the last 4 years and the investment of more than 100 early stage startups; leading open innovation initiatives with corporations in different industries; and managing a digital transformation program for a diverse group of corporations, partnering with Microsoft and a private university to develop this program. Cueto is also a board member of AcelerAP, a network of accelerators from the Pacific Alliance. Previously he worked at IncubaUC, the university incubator of one of the most prestigious universities in Latin America, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, leading the soft-landing programs to the United States and Latin America. Mr. Cueto holds a Master’s focused on entrepreneurship studies and an Industrial Engineering degree from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.He was chosen in 2018 as one of the 100 youngest leaders of the country.

Ask: Develop partnerships and connections to enhance early stage investment in the region, in order to develop an early stage fund focused on Latin America based in Chile, taking as a starting point its incubation and acceleration methodology developed over the last years. Additionally, Imagine Lab is looking forward to developing exchange programs between accelerators, incubators and/or innovation centers, in order to learn and adapt best practices.

Offer: The possibility of sharing its incubation and acceleration methodology, which has been highlighted by CORFO as one of the best in the ecosystem. Additionally, Imagine Lab can provide knowledge and experience of how it has successfully connected startups and corporations to foster innovation and enhance the digital transformation of different industries.

Gonzalo Larenas

Gonzalo Larenas

Executive Director, Clyc.Me

Chile

Gonzalo Larenas is the executive director of Clyc.me and an academic at the Andrés Bello University in Chile. Currently, Larenas works as a director in Clyc.me managing the connection between NGOs, companies, donors, politicians, and artists; generating the connection through Clyc.me’s platform; as well as forming a multidisciplinary team that is behind all the development of this project, connecting people, and fostering their talent. Mr. Larenas has a degree in literature, a Master’s in educational management, and a PhD in education and society.

Ask: Best practices and connections to strengthen the model and Clyc.me platform.

Offer: Clyc.me technology and work; binding communities, governments, companies and NGOs.

Juliana Carmona

Juliana Carmona

Director of the Research Center on Software and Related Services, Colombian Federation of Software and information Technology Industries (FEDESOFT)

Colombia

Juliana Carmona is the Director of the Innovation Center of the Colombian Federation of Software and Information Technology Industries (FEDESOFT), an Association of Colombian Software Companies. For five years, Juliana has designed and implemented actions for the strengthening of the information technologies sector from the Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies (MINTIC), contributing to the generation of sustainable public policy. Before she went through the public sector, Juliana had the opportunity to work in academia, creating and implementing new departments, such as Entrepreneurship and International Relations. She also worked for four years in an incubator as project manager of technology-based companies where she structured, evaluated and managed different projects in fields related to technological development, entrepreneurship and training. Juliana Carmona has a degree in Industrial Engineering from the National University of Colombia, with a post-graduate degree in Project Management from the EAFIT University of Medellín.

Ask: Identify partners for the design of international cooperation projects on innovation to promote exchanges between Colombian IT entrepreneurs and international entrepreneurs; and to foster technical assistance in the field of emerging technologies. Offer: Support joint programs for the strengthening of digital talent, such as professional exchanges and access to international training processes on innovation; transfer of knowledge; and share experiences to contribute to ICT policies.

Erasmo Muñoz Heraldo

Erasmo Muñoz Heraldo

Secretary of Economic Development, Marinilla City, Antioquia

Colombia

Erasmo Muñoz is the Secretary of Economic Development of the Municipality of Marinilla in Colombia. He is responsible for job creation through promotion of business ideas, enhancing alliances, and promoting tourism and ventures. Mr. Muñoz manages regional and national partnerships to get resources for social projects in education, health, sports, and agriculture. Previously, he was Project Manager in the same municipality. He was also a Professor of Foreign Affairs at the Universidad Católica de Oriente in Colombia.

Ask: Learn from different initiatives, which can later be applied in the municipality, to promote employment and sustainable development.

Offer: Experience in clean agricultural production, with minimal use of chemicals, to protect the health of consumers, and being able to invest in areas that produce throughout the year, without depending on seasons.

Johanna Salgado

Johanna Salgado

Coordinator of Entrepreneurship, Rosario University

Colombia

Johanna Salgado is a young entrepreneur working in the areas of sustainability, renewable energy and peace. She works as Competency Coordinator at Rosario University in Bogotá, Colombia, developing programs for the promotion of

entrepreneurial skills. She is among the seventy social entrepreneurs at the World Bank. Salgado is also Cofounder of Crispy Fruits Company, recognized by President Barack Obama as a company with the greatest impact on the quality of life for rural famers. She is a member of the Foundation MET (Women Business and Technology), which mentors and networks women, and was responsible for outreach and communication strategies in Andean Community and Brazil for the Zayed Future Energy Prize (UAE). She is also the Co-Founder of 2k30 S.AS, a platform of sustainable solutions focused on the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals, through education, entrepreneurship and technology.

Ask: Develop entrepreneurial skills, new ideas, market validation, design of business models, and development of prototypes.

Offer: Knowledge on how to empower youth who do not have access to job opportunities in order to build sustainable solutions as a tool for transformation. Interests include technical assistance and exchange programs.

Danny Joseph

Danny Joseph

Rural Business Enterprise Officer, Ministry of Commerce, Enterprise, and Small Business Development

Dominica

Danny Joseph is the Rural Business Enterprise Officer in the Ministry of Commerce, Enterprise and Small Business Development in Dominica. Mr. Joseph is responsible for identifying, developing, implementing, and monitoring and evaluating rural enterprise centers throughout Dominica. He currently works with 12 initiatives throughout Dominica in the areas of bee keeping, organic farming, poultry, sewing, fishing and fishing products, auto body repair, and small engine repair. Mr. Joseph is qualified to conduct small business training programs. Before he came to the Ministry he was a personal fitness trainer and obtained qualifications in fitness and nutrition to operate in this field. Mr. Joseph is also a counselor and motivator for the youth in Dominica, and is engaged in many public speaking courses.

Ask: 12 rural enterprise centers (incubation)

Offer: Business incubation, Small Grant funding for start-up businesses, Technical services (training, advice, consultation)

Laura del Castillo

Laura del Castillo

Technical Director, National Competitiveness Council

Dominican Republic

Laura del Castillo is the Technical Director at the National Competitiveness Council, where she oversees the implementation of the Agenda Dominicana Competitiva in key sectors of the Dominican economy. She is experienced in commercial negotiations, business climate reforms, and coordinating public-private initiatives. Ms. del Castillo is a lawyer from the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra and holds a Master

Degree in High Public Management, of the Ecole National of Administration (ENA). She has additional training on International Migrations of the International Organization Migrations (OIM), Commercial Diplomacy from the INESDyC, Economic Anti Trust Law, Corporate Governance, Competitive Strategy, Electronic Government, Commercial Negotiations and Intellectual Property.

Ask: Seeking assistance in the preparation of the strategic agenda “Dominicana Competitiva” for regulatory improvements

Offer: Sharing experiences in the development of the strategic agenda “Dominicana Competitiva” designed for regulatory improvements

Roberto García

Roberto García

Coordinator for Research and Postgraduate Studies, Catholic University of Santiago de Guayaquil

Ecuador

Roberto García is coordinator for research and postgraduate studies at the Catholic University of Santiago de Guayaquil. He is also the general coordinator of the Innovation Hub in zones 5 and 8 of Ecuador. This hub is made up of 5 public and private universities in the provinces of Guayas, Los Rios and Bolivar. Previously, Mr. García was project manager of IT consulting companies developing projects in Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, and other countries within the region.

Ask: Technical assistance and other opportunities for collaboration to improve the innovation hub of zones 5 and 8 that have strong activities and expertise in areas such as art, creative industries, agricultural innovation, artificial intelligence, and seismic studies.

Offer: Research collaboration with other universities in areas related to production and drying of cocoa, use of eco materials for construction, resistance of construction materials, and artificial intelligence for project management.

Villie Morocho

Villie Morocho

Innovation and Technology Director, University of Cuenca

Ecuador

Villie Morocho is the Principal Researcher and Innovation and Technology Director at the University of Cuenca. Previously, he was founder and director of the Research, Development and Innovation Center of the Engineering Faculty. He also worked as an Advisor of Industry and Executive Director of the National Academic Network. He is a specialist in Spatial Data Infrastructure (IDE) and has been a project director in this field with national and international funding, including by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development. He was the Coordinator of the South American IDE LATINO Working Group, which is sponsored by RedCLARA, CEDIA, the University of Cuenca, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). He was also Secretary General of the Working Group on SDI. Mr. Morocho received a PhD from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia 2004.

Ask: Looking for more figures where Industry, University and State can contribute by means of innovation programs

Offer: Expertise and partnerships in areas related to on milk products, wood, flowers, tires, paper, home appliances, and cement overseen by the University Innovation Unit.

José Ramón Lam

José Ramón Lam

Vice Minister of Economy

Guatemala

Jose Ramón Lam is the Vice Minister of Economy of Guatemala. In this role, Mr. Lam oversees the National Competitiveness Program (PRONACOM), which is the institution that sets national competitiveness policies, including innovation and entrepreneurship strategies for capacity building and creation of jobs. Moreover, he spearheads other programs related to production; consumer protection; antitrust and unfair competition issues; investment services and tax incentives; among other things. He has over 25 years of experience in the private and public sector and has worked in the National Public Credit Bank, National Institute of Statistics, Central American Secretariat, among others. He is also a professor at several universities in Guatemala including San Carlos University, Rafael Landivar University, and Valle de Guatemala University. Mr. Lam earned his Master’s in Public Policies and is pursuing a Ph.D. Candidate in economics at the San Carlos University.

Ask: Looking for technical assistance, partnerships, exchange programs and projects, and to explore possible investment opportunities

Offer: Collaboration under PRONACOM’s programs on innovation, competitiveness, modernization of processes and legal framework to promote economic development through the Northern Triangle Program, sponsored by the U.S. Government.

Floyd Green

Floyd Green

Minister of State, Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries

Jamaica

The Honorable Floyd Green is the Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries. In this capacity, he oversees the Industry and Commerce portfolios of the Ministry. Along with supporting young business owners, Minister Green is prioritizing MSMEs and is currently exploring financial services, business strategies, and related networks available to them. He is also a driving force in the country’s reform effort for laws relating to patents, and for strengthening the protection of intellectual property in Jamaica. Minister Green previously served as State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, where he developed strategies to upgrade and modernize Early Childhood Institutions. In the area of youth development, Minister Green implemented a new structure to strengthening child protections. The initiative led to the merger of the Child Development Agency and the Office of the Children’s Registry that formed the Child Protection and Family Services Agency. The result was an increase in manpower and field staff that is now more

efficiently handling the over 13,000 cases reported to the agency annually. He earned a Bachelor’s of Law from the University of the West Indies, with honors.

Ask: 1) How to utilize local produce in developing a robust school food program utilizing local raw materials; 2) Partnerships to create a more innovative MSME network; 3) Partners to develop a national medical cannabis industry getting, including research and development to grow the sector; 4) Financial support; 5) Policy development programs for formalizing MSMEs; 5) Creative financial mechanisms for growth and development; and 6) Digitization of government services.

Offer: 1) Create initiatives to provide access to funding for MSMEs; 2) Introduce innovative technologies and systems to stimulate MSME growth and development; 3) Proposed policy programs for MSMEs in generally; 4) Developing internationally competitive industries; 5) Developing world class education and training centers in agriculture, industry and fisheries; and 6) Developing world class safety and security systems and processes.

Oral Shaw

Oral Shaw

Principal Director for SMEs</p> <p>Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries

Jamaica

Oral Shaw is the Principal Director for SMEs at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries. He has over 25 years of experience in senior/executive management in public and private sector environments. He has served as a consultant to several bilateral, multilateral, private, and public agencies in the areas of strategic planning, strategy development, project/program management, public sector modernization, small business development, and local government reform. Mr. Shaw, a Chevening Scholar, is also a Fellow of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). He holds an MBA in International Business and Strategic Management from the University of Bradford, UK, a Post Graduate Diploma in Small Business Administration and Policy from the Turin International Centre in Italy, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics and Management from the University of the West Indies, Mona.

Ask: The Government of Jamaica is looking for best practices and potential partners that could support the development of an enterprise development strategy, by making SMEs a critical pillar to economic development and growth. The government is interested in further developing agri-processing strategy; business process outsourcing facilities; school feeding programs; and processing local foods for schools, hotels and the overseas market. It is also interested in identifying partners to network with local entrepreneurs in new product development for a range of agricultural products.

Offer: Knowledge and models currently operating in the Ministry supporting competitiveness, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Carlinton Burrell

Carlinton Burrell

Chief Executive Officer, Caribbean Climate Innovation Center

Jamaica

Carlinton Burrell if the Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Climate Innovation Center (CCIC), where he addresses climate change challenges through clean tech innovation in the Caribbean by stimulating new business ventures, creating over 500 jobs in the region. He also supports the development of and enabling the ecosystem to foster innovative and growth-oriented enterprises through the disbursement of over half million US dollars to regional GreenTech entrepreneurs. CCIC entrepreneurs have further raised close to a Million USD through our programs. Mr. Burrell is currently pursuing his Doctoral studies in Climate Change at the University of the West Indies (UWI, St Augustine). He is a also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and earned a Master’s Degree in Computer Based Management Information Systems from the University of the West Indies (UWI) and a double major Bachelors of Science Degree in Computer Science and Electronics also from the University of the West Indies (UWI).

Ask: The event would also allow for potential collaboration with several other key stakeholders and players in the ecosystem.

Offer: Methodologies for Innovation in Green Businesses, Accelerator and Business Incubator Program for Green Innovative Businesses in the Caribbean (Business Incubation in Jamaica), potential for Partnerships, extensive reach and established hubs in all 14 CARICOM Caribbean countries (Access to Market), consultancy (Business Training Program Design and Execution)

Carlos Martinez

Carlos Martinez

Chief Executive Officer, TechBA Colombia – Technology-based business accelerator The United States-Mexico Foundation for Science

Mexico

Carlos Alberto Martínez Cortés is the Director of TechBA LATAM, a business accelerator for Latin America. He is also the Coordinator of projects of regional impact in the United States-Mexico Foundation for Science (FUMEC), a foundation to promote development and innovation in the Mexican business ecosystem that was awarded the National Entrepreneur Award in 2018. He also collaborates as Coordinator of the Open Innovation Project for PROCOMER Costa Rica, as a Specialized Consultant for the Design of Innovation Ecosystems for Quito, and as an Advisory Member for the development of the Risk Capital Fund SBD Costa Rica. He has served as Director of the TechPyME Health Technologies program at FUMEC, supporting companies in the pharmaceutical, medical, bio-technological, and clinical testing industries. In addition, he developed the Cross-Landing Program for executing internationalization strategies for companies in Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Mexico.

Ask: TechBa and FUMEC look for the frontiers of business and social networks, considering that both are part of the Pacific Alliance. Mr. Martinez is open to explore partnerships under the strategies of innovation and collaboration with entrepreneurship ecosystems in Colombia and Mexico.

Offer: Expand collaboration programs and networks of partnerships, highlighting their network of strategic alliances that have been built throughout different countries in Latin America.

Dr. Eugenio José Reyes

Dr. Eugenio José Reyes

Executive Director,</p> <p> World Trade Center Monterrey, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León

Mexico

Dr. Eugenio José Reyes is the Executive Director of the World Trade Center Monterrey at Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo León (UANL). He directs the SME Development Center nationwide and is responsible for creating more than 3,000 jobs per year since 2016. Dr. Reyes has more than 30 years of experience working for the private sector in areas of planning, international business, and logistics in companies such as Cemex, Vitro, Monsanto, Fiat Auto, and Coca-Cola in Mexico, the United States, Italy, and Japan. Dr. Reyes earned two Master’s Degrees from Thunderbird and New York University, and has a Ph.D. from UANL.

Ask: Results-oriented best practices for SME development; networking connections; and SBDC model of knowledge transfer.

Offer: Results-oriented best practices for SME development; networking connections; and SBDC model of knowledge transfer.

Dr. Sergio Ortiz

Dr. Sergio Ortiz

Academic Director on Entrepreneurship<br /> , Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education

Mexico

Dr. Sergio Ortiz Valdés is the Academic Director of Entrepreneurship at Tecnológico de Monterrey, a Mexican private university with 26 campuses in 25 cities across the country. Dr. Ortiz is responsible for developing entrepreneurial competencies in all undergraduate students, reinventing entrepreneurship education in the Tecnológico de Monterrey, and coordinating different teams to create new learning experiences for students. He is also in charge of special initiatives to train Latin American Universities to develop entrepreneurship programs and entrepreneurship ecosystems.

Ask: Interested in participating in a network of entrepreneurship universities to have a positive and relevant regional and global impact; promoting sustainable regional development, entrepreneurship ecosystems, and state of the art entrepreneurship education.

Offer: Developing Entrepreneurship Programs across the curricula for universities (i.e. training programs); Using universities as a foundation to develop Entrepreneurial and Innovation Ecosystems; and involvement in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Festival of Latin America – INCmty.

Julio C. Montealegre

Julio C. Montealegre

Founder and Chief Executive Officer<br /> , Esentium

Mexico

Julio Montealegre is the Founder of Esentium, a sustainability-minded agribusiness. Prior to Esentium, he worked for over 12 years with organizations such as TechnoServe and Chemonics as country director, chief of party, and rural development specialist to design and lead initiatives that helped nearly ten thousand smallholder farmers improve their incomes. Mr. Montealegre was instrumental in coordinating efforts between the Government of Nicaragua, 23 municipalities, two local development councils, and a regional women’s organization that resulted in Nicaragua’s successful $175 million bid to the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Mr. Montealegre is a Fellow of the Central American Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. He has recently been elected as board member of the Nicaraguan Association of Producers and Exporters. He is a graduate of the University of Florida with highest honors and earned an MBA from UC Berkeley.

Ask: Developing markets for natural supplements like moringa to transition into higher-value products to help create a virtuous cycle that leads to more demand for democracy and stability; and knowledge on how Puerto Rican businesses, associations, and government entities have managed to develop higher-value industries.

Offer: Share knowledge and best practices to launch and grow a new business anywhere without a strong support ecosystem, climate disasters, and political calamities.

Jorge R. Arosemena R

Jorge R. Arosemena R

Executive President, City of Knowledge Foundation

Panama

Jorge R. Arosemena R is the Executive President of the City of Knowledge Foundation. City of Knowledge (CoK) created the first business incubator in Panama which has since fostered the country’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. CoK hosts over 30 academic programs offered by U.S., European, and Latin American universities. In 2005 it was declared the hub for United Nations regional offices and has attracted many regional humanitarian NGOs. Its Scientific Technology Park has over 90 innovative companies. Previously, Mr. Arosemena served as Vice Minister of the Presidency of the Republic of Panama, General Manager of the Panamanian Tourism Institute, Vice Minister and Minister of Education, and Secretary General and Academic Provost of the University of Panama. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and a Master’s Degree in Sociology at St. Louis University, U.S.

Ask: Establishing relationships with universities, research centers, high tech companies and startups. Interested in strengthening relations with different players in the business/scientific fields.

Offer: CoK aims to become a model for sustainability and best green practices. CoK works with academia and the private sector as they define themselves as an innovation community that fosters social change from a humanistic, scientific, and business approach. CoK is in the process of launching a regional Health Training Center by Simulation with the advice of the CAMLS project from the University of South Florida.

Fiona Hinkson

Fiona Hinkson

Director of National Competitiveness and Productivity, Department of Finance, Economic Growth and Job Creation

ST. Lucia

Fiona Hinkson is the Director of the National Competitiveness and Productivity Unit (NCPC) within the Department of Finance, Economic Growth and Job Creation. In this role, Mrs. Hinkson has the mandate to recommend policies and actions that will  enhance Saint Lucia’s productivity and competitiveness.  Currently, Mrs. Hinkson is working with stakeholders within the public and private sectors, civil society, and academia to formulate a National Competitiveness Agenda for Saint Lucia, in collaboration with the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility. The Government of Saint Lucia recently launched a “Decade of Research and Innovation,” and Mrs. Hinkson is leading the NCPC as a key partner in this initiative. She is also spearheading the formulation of an Innovation Policy for Saint Lucia. Mrs. Hinkson holds a Master’s in Public Administration in Economic Policy Management from the School of International Public Administration of Columbia University. She also holds a BSc in Economics and Statistics from the University of the West Indies.

Ask: Collaboration opportunities, technical assistance, and exchange programs to assist in finalizing and implementing the Formulation of the National Competitiveness Agenda. This is the first time that Saint Lucia will be focusing on innovation and we would like to learn from others who have gone that route.

Offer: Research on issues affecting productivity and its measurements in the public and private sector; collaboration and knowledge exchange on innovative small grants programs.

Amit Chandansingh

Amit Chandansingh

Program Manager of the Innovation for Firms, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism

Suriname

Amit Chandansingh is the Manager of the pilot Innovation for Firms in Suriname (IFS) in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism. Mr. Chandansingh  manages the implementation of the IFS program—a $1m matching grant fund from the Government of Suriname and Inter-American Development Bank to support the innovation and development of local firms in by further integrating them into value chains and clusters, and developing linkages between firms and buyers. He is also an expert on the of agri-processing, tourism, fish-processing and innovation cluters in Suriname. He serves as board member of the local SME fund, as a member of the board setting up a FABLAB, and as an advisor to the Minister on Innovation, and Competitiveness. In the private sector, he manages an innovative online shopping company. Mr. Chandansingh holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Economics from Kom University Suriname.

Ask: Improved business practices and production, access to export markets, access to supply chains, access to capital

Offer: Partnerships

Edison Sumner

Edison Sumner

President, Sumner Strategic Partners

The Bahamas

Edison Sumner is the Principal of Sumner Strategic Partners, a diversified consultancy specializing in commercial diplomacy covering public/private engagement strategies, international trade, and investment promotion and facilitation. Mr. Sumner is also the Co-Founder, President and CEO of IP Solutions International, Ltd., (IPSI) a multi-media telecommunications company. Previously, he served as the Director and CEO of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation, where he was responsible for developing and implementing policy and strategy objectives, risk management and controls, and daily operations and management of the Chamber. He has also served on numerous national boards and committees including the National Insurance Board, the Bahamas Entrepreneurial Venture Fund, and the National Economic Advisory Council and National Tripartite Council. Mr. Sumner is also the Honorary Consul for the Republic of Namibia in the Bahamas. Mr. Sumner holds a MMBA in Telecommunications from Informa Telecoms Academy, London, and is currently an MBA candidate in International Business Management at the University of Cumbria. He is also pursuing a Micro Master’s Degree in International Investment Law from UCLouvain.

Ask: Foster new relationships and explore new investment opportunities and partnerships.

Offer: Initiatives both on the private development side as well as on the national agenda. Support and assist others in their jurisdictions. Opportunities for cross border trade, commerce and investment opportunities through foreign direct investments as well as joint venture partnerships. Share knowledge and lessons learned on implementing the new National Productivity Council in the Bahamas, as well as the National Apprenticeship Program for Skills Development.

Meera Ramesar

Meera Ramesar

Director of Agriculture, Ministry of Planning and Development

Trinidad and Tobago

Meera Ramesar is the Director of Agriculture of the Socio-Economic Policy Planning Division in the Ministry of Planning and Development. In this capacity, she is responsible for leading the preparation and review of national development plans. Ms. Ramesar is also Head of the Inter-American Development Bank’s focal point in the Ministry. Previously, she served as the Director of Agriculture of the Project Planning and Reconstruction Division, in the same Ministry, where she was responsible for leading the budget process for the Public Sector Investment Program. Ms. Ramesar holds an M.Sc., International Relations, and a B.Sc., Economics, from the University of the West Indies.

Ask: The National Development Strategy 2016-2030 (Vision 2030) represents the country’s long-term development policy framework and covers areas for economic advancement including research and development, trade, investment, and ICT as facilitators of development and sectors to diversify the economy. Currently Ms. Ramesar is leading the implementation of Vision 2030 in the public sector, which involves initiating and continuing dialogue and providing guidance to stakeholders. She seeks to explore opportunities of technical assistance, exchange programs, trade and investment opportunities, connections and collaboration.

Offer: Opportunities to expand the ICT, financial services, and manufacturing (agro-processing and renewable energy) sectors.

Tricia Beckles

Tricia Beckles

Director of Agriculture, Ministry of Planning and Development

Manager of Strategic Business Development, Tobago House of Assembly’s Division of Finance and Economy

Trinidad and Tobago

Tricia Beckles is the Manager of Strategic Business Development of the Tobago House of Assembly’s Division of Finance and the Economy. In this role, Ms. Beckles is responsible for the sustainable development of Island’s SME sector, encouraging the diversification of the economy through the implementation of initiatives aimed at enhancing export competitiveness and attracting investment. She has served as Purchasing Coordinator at Hilton Tobago, and in positions that include Customer Service and Lending at RBC Caribbean. She has completed her Master’s in International Finance at Arthur Lok Jack GSB, and holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Sport Management (Hons) from UWI/FIFA/CIES. She also holds a BA in Finance (Hons) from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and is currently pursuing certification as an International Trade Specialist from eBSI.

Ask: Currently exploring ways of equipping Tobago’s entrepreneurs to compete in external markets and looking for technical assistance on GMPs as well as accessible options for expanding capacity to allow for products and packaging that follow international standards. Open to participate in exchange programs and trade and investment conventions. Her organization has attended the Trade and Investment Convention (TIC) hosted in Trinidad by the TTMA for over ten years and entrepreneurs have begun to penetrate markets outside of Tobago.

Offer: Currently working to roll out a program aimed at developing the mindset of an Entrepreneur that allows for exploration of opportunities in Angel investing and other financing options, aimed to help entrepreneurs plan for business growth and increasing capacity. Her organization also leads other initiatives such as the eco-industrial business park (e-IDCOT) and the Investment and Public-Private Partnership Unit.

 

Navin Bookhai

Navin Bookhai

Manager of the Engineering Institute, University of the West Indies

Trinidad and Tobago

Navneet Boodhai is the Manager of the Engineering Institute and Lecturer on Engineering Entrepreneurship at the Faculty of Engineering at The University of the West Indies (UWI). In this role, Mr. Boodhai is responsible for resource mobilization within the Faculty of Engineering, which includes consultancies, professional development, self-funded postgraduate programs, sponsorship, grant funding, intellectual property development and incubation of student and staff projects, industry market research and engaging companies to bring value to the University. Previously, he served as Vice-president of Entrepreneurship & Business Development at the University of Trinidad & Tobago, and held several management positions in both the public and private sector. He is passionate about entrepreneurship and has supported over 80 small businesses in incubator programs which he managed. An entrepreneur himself, Mr. Boodhai is the owner of The Bungalow Restaurant & Lounge and Solar Industry Technologies (SiTek) Limited. He holds a BSc. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from UWI and an MBA with a specialization in Innovation & Entrepreneurship from the UWI ALJ Graduate School of Business.

Ask: Share ideas with colleagues across the region and learn best practices that can positively impact the University ecosystem and bring about change on how we develop innovators and entrepreneurial initiatives led by our students and faculty. Networking, information sharing, and engaging with projects in Puerto Rico.

Offer: Provide advice and share knowledge on how to integrate entrepreneurship development and academic curriculums. Explore means of developing intellectual property within the University. Exploring joint programs, joint grant funding bids, and proposals to assist other similar institutions. Investors willing to invest in the region can also contact the institute to engage in business development work or market research. The UWI also is willing to host field trips and other ACE group events in Trinidad and Tobago.

 

Ancel Bhagwandeen

Ancel Bhagwandeen

Founder, ProtoFABTT

Trinidad and Tobago

Ancel Bhagwandeen is the founder of ProtoFABTT, which is develops new product prototypes based on entrepreneurial ideas from the public. The company provides a necessary link from concept to prototype in the Trinidad territory and has established a GreenTech facility with an Institute of Technology. He has received 10 awards for creative product ideas from the Trinidad Government. He is patenting the world’s first electronic steel pan sticks and has developed a commercial grade lead acid battery regeneration system complete with battery sequencing, re-rating and global Wi-Fi process monitoring and management. Mr. Bhagwandeen holds a B.Sc in Industrial Engineering, a CISCO Academy Trainer credential, a University of California-Irvine microcontroller coding credential,  and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology certification in electronic design.

Ask: On one hand, the twice awarded lead acid battery regenerator has formed the basis of a private/public institution collaboration to assist low volume production to develop world markets where used lead acid batteries are often dumped or burned to extract raw lead in a toxic manner. Deployment of this portable product would mitigate environmental and health damage and create sustainable employment and resource reuse. On the other hand, the patentable electronic steel pan sticks, which are suitable for both musical performances and as an attraction to school age children, need trade and investment support in manufacturing and reaching the larger markets in the USA and Europe.

Offer: ProtoFabTT can render concept to prototype product development support, including electronic, mechatronic, photovoltaic, plastic, and mechanical products.

 

Kristi Pollard

Kristi Pollard

President and Chief Economic Officer, Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation

United States

Kristi Pollard is the President and CEO of the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation (Jeffco EDC), a non-profit consortium of business, community and governmental leaders striving to create greater economic vitality in Jefferson County, Colorado. Jeffco EDC is the oldest economic development organization in Colorado and provides a one-stop shop for relocating and expanding businesses through general business services, real estate assistance, foreign trade zone assistance, development and incentive assistance. Through its advocacy and service as the developer of strategic economic initiatives and direct foreign investment for the greater Jefferson County area, Jeffco EDC has become a recognized voice for business in Colorado. Prior to her time with the Jefferson County EDC, Kristi served as the Executive Director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, the official economic development organization for Mesa County, Colorado. Kristi has vast experience working in the public, private and non-profit sectors having been the principal owner of P², LLC, a local consulting firm, the CEO of the Colorado Mesa University Foundation, a Stakeholder Engagement Specialist for Chevron and an Area Director for the United States Senate.

Ask: Jefferson County Economic Development Corp will be applying to host an ACE in 2020. In addition, Jeffco EDC is looking to garner trade and investment connections in the aerospace, aviation, bioscience, and energy sectors. Finally, Jeffco EDC would like to make connections in association with Colorado’s foreign trade zones and establish relationships and partnerships with potential users.

Offer: 1) Provide assistance to entities wanting to establish operations in Colorado or invest in Colorado businesses. 2) Active FTZ application with the U.S. Dept. of Commerce and will serve as the administrator, allowing them to provide assistance and information to potential users. 3) Jeffco EDC works collaboratively with the National Renewable Energy Laboratories located in Jefferson County and can assist with the establishment of collaborative partnerships in the renewable energy field.

 

Nicole Griensewic Mickelson

Nicole Griensewic Mickelson

Executive Director, Region Nine Development Commission

United States

Nicole Griensewic Mickelson is the Executive Director at Region Nine Development Commission. As such, she has made it a priority to foster collaboration and engagement by sharing Region Nine’s story both regionally and globally. She is also an active board and committee member for multiple organizations throughout Minnesota. Currently, she serves on the National Association of Development Organization’s Board of Directors (NADO) and their Research Foundation Board (NADORF). She is also on the executive committee for the Minnesota Medical Manufacturing Partnership, as part of EDA’s Investing in Manufacturing Communities Program. Ms. Griensewic Mickelson also serves as president of the Greater Minnesota Partnership, and is an executive committee member for the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies, where she serves as chair of the Governance Committee. She has served as secretary of Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota’s Governing Board of Directors, as chair of their Joint Governance Committee. She currentlyserves as an advisory board member for South Central College’s Center for Agriculture and the Minnesotans for the American Community Survey to support a strong census count. Ms. Griensewic Mickelson is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Elizabeth Kearney Woman’s Leadership Institute.  She received the 2017 Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Ask: Learn more about Puerto Rico’s manufacturing industry. Waseca, Minnesota, has experienced recent economic shocks, with major layoffs. Hopefully, with support from the federal EDA, Region Nine with partners will be completing a feasibility study to create a manufacturing resource center in the community. This need has been identified through other regional plans, such as our CEDS and MedTech Connect, a medical device supply chain plan. Due to the region’s low unemployment, there could be potential exchanges to create partnerships with Puerto Rico and other participants to learn about be creative strategies in recruiting and retaining talent. Also interested in exploring partnership opportunities regarding trade agreements and strategies to diversify regional economies. Finally, connect Puerto Rico’s  pharmaceutical companies with Minnesota’s Health Care Cluster, including the world-renowned Mayo Health Care System.

Offer: Region Nine Development Commission Medical Device Supply Chain plan -MedTech Connect – has had a strong interest in Puerto Rico’s medical manufacturing and pharmaceuticals cluster to find synergies, partnerships, and projects. Additionally, Region Nine Development Commission is interested in building international partners. Recently, we have been working closely with the MN Department of Agriculture (MDA) and academic institutions to create an Agricultural Resiliency plan for the region, funded in part by the federal EDA, and would like to explore partnership opportunities with other participants. Also, with the recent Farm Bill, hemp is now a crop that is legal to grow, and Waseca aims to become the “Hemp Capital of MN.” Moreover, Minnesota is a main producer of corn, soybeans and hogs. Region Nine also hosts an annual regional bus tour to highlight our work and the partners who we work with to which ACE participants and hosts are welcome to attend this June for a day-long regional tour of economic development projects.

 

Cynthia Carrillo

Cynthia Carrillo

Vice President of Innovation, Greater Sacramento Economic Council

United States

Cynthia Carrillo is Vice President of Innovation at the Greater Sacramento Economic Council (GSEC). She oversees and leads GSEC’s operation in Silicon Valley to further connect the Capital Region and Bay Area as one high-performing Megaregion. Her responsibilities include business attraction, particularly for companies across industries of the future, partnership development for industry consortiums and open innovation models, and foreign direct investment. Prior to GSEC, Cynthia worked at the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and the Consulate General of Mexico in Phoenix. She has also worked as an IT Project Manager and Account Manager for a Public/Private consulting firm in Mexico City, developed Special Projects for a leading community development financial institution, and was part of the founding team for a tech startup in Boston. Ms. Carrillo holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Hult International Business School in Boston, Massachusetts.

Ask: The Greater Sacramento region is well-positioned from increased growth in biotech, both for the health/pharma and agricultural sectors. UC Davis has broken ground on Aggie Square, a 2.2 million square feet, innovation campus anchored in life sciences, planned for downtown Sacramento, California. Northstate University has inaugurated a teaching hospital in Elk Grove and is interested in developing a generics play for manufacturing. Puerto Rico’s excellence in biotech manufacturing is a great case study to ensure our region’s progress, and GSEC’s economic development work to create an employment center for advanced industry from scratch is quite parallel to Puerto Rico’s current growth opportunities. GSEC would like to explore partnerships in technical assistance, trade and investment, and R&D exchange programs.

Offer: GSEC would like to explore partnerships in technical assistance, trade and investment, and R&D exchange programs.

 

Monica Novoa

Monica Novoa

Director of Latin American Initiatives for the Economic Development Lab<br /> Enterprise Innovation Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology<br />

United States

Monica Novoa is Director of Latin American Initiatives for the Economic Development Lab (EDL) at the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) of the Georgia Institute of Technology. She oversees projects that range from strategic collaborations with public and private entities to design and implement national technology extension programs, to the development of nascent innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems by applying Georgia Tech’s lean ecosystem development model. Prior to Georgia Tech, Monica was Associate Director of Global Innovation Programs in the Graduate School of Business (GSB) of Stanford University. In that role, she managed international expansion of the Stanford Ignite Program, the GSB’s flagship certificate program in innovation and entrepreneurship. Before Stanford University, Monica was Director of International Programs in the School of Management of the University of San Francisco. There, she oversaw a portfolio of certificate and consulting programs for international entrepreneurs and innovators. Monica earned an MBA from the University of San Francisco and a Systems Engineering degree from Universidad de Oriente in Venezuela.

Ask: The EDL has worked with key stakeholders of the Puerto Rico innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem since 2012. In that time, we have completed over 35 projects and brought funding opportunities for a total of $15M to the island’s ecosystem. One of our most visible projects has been the I-Corps Puerto Rico program in collaboration with Grupo Guayacán, Inc. The I-Corps Puerto Rico program has graduated 101 entrepreneurial teams which have collectively raised $5.5M. Another significant collaboration has been our efforts with the multi-sector organization Echar Pa’Lante (EPL), from the Banco Popular of Puerto Rico, to build the basis of the entrepreneurship ecosystem. With EPL, we have trained more than 400 university faculty on Evidence-Based Entrepreneurship concepts, as well as a group of 100 mentors on effective mentoring skills. Lastly, we recently worked with Universidad de Puerto Rico Mayaguez on a high-level project to develop a strategy to increase research collaborations between the university and industry. The outcome of this project was the creation of the university’s first Industry Liaison Office. Based in our experience in Puerto Rico and the rest of the region, we have developed a model to energize and mature nascent ecosystems, using lean concepts, that we believe is applicable in regions with socio-economic conditions similar to those of Puerto Rico. Hence, EDL’s interest is to meet fellow leaders and influencers and learn from their experiences and challenges, so we can explore collaboration opportunities in which the Economic Development Lab can support their initiatives to foster innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems and lead to prosperity and economic growth.

Offer: The EDL usually engages in a variety of innovation-led economic development projects. Three potential areas of collaboration are:1) Strategic collaborations to develop nascent innovation ecosystems: projects that include the evaluation and identification of an ecosystem’s current situation, coalescing key stakeholders around a common vision, creating a strategic plan for invigorating the ecosystem, and the subsequent implementation of specific initiatives with strategic partners; 2) Capacity building programs to impart Evidence-Based Entrepreneurship (EBE) concepts and methodologies: collaborations with universities, entrepreneurship support organizations (ESOs), government agencies, economic development entities and multisector organizations, to train faculty, students, scientists and researchers, entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and policy makers, among others, to be able to apply current EBE concepts; and 3) Business incubation program assessment, redesign, and strategic plan: projects with business incubators, whether academic, public or private, to assess their current program offerings and operations model to develop a comprehensive strategy and sustainable business model.

 

Ben Pingree

Ben Pingree

Director, Tallahassee-Leon County Department of Planning, Land Management & Community Enhancement

United States

Benjamin H. Pingree is the Director of the Tallahassee-Leon County Department of Planning, Land Management & Community Enhancement (PLACE). Ben is a member of Leadership Florida, Class 29 and is the President of the Florida State Parks Association. He is the former County Administrator of Wakulla County and has served as President and CEO of the Zoo Miami Foundation. He has a passion to grow business and maximize the quality of life in Florida’s Capital Community and serves with a talented and dedicated team of true professionals and public servants who work hard every day to make that happen. Mr. Pingree received his Bachelor’s Degree from Boston University. He earned Master’s in Public Administration from Florida State University.

Ask: 1) Infrastructure projects that enhance placemaking within the community; 2) Best practices on resiliency related to supporting businesses and rebuilding infrastructure in the event of large scale natural disasters; 3) Best practices to support entrepreneurship and innovation, especially regarding strengthening relationships with higher education institutions.

Offer: The Magnetic Technologies Taskforce was established by the Office of Economic Vitality of PLACE, which is focused on developing business opportunities around applied science, specifically magnetic technologies within the Florida Capital Region. Since the formation of the Taskforce in 2018, the “Magnetic Capital of the World” campaign has remained a driver for business development and the campaign has been molded by the members of the Taskforce so it is in line with the targeted industry. This campaign has been used in widely attended events, such as the Magnetics 2019 conference and the MagLab Open House, reaching out to thousands of international and local individuals. While still in its infancy, the Taskforce has made major strides in identifying and initiating discussion with businesses that would benefit from co-location with the magnetic resources in the Florida Capital Region. The effort directly impacts the Capital Region and Florida by attracting and expanding businesses directly related to magnetic technologies. Jobs in the magnetic technology industry are high paying careers that are supported by the world-class universities, colleges, and training centers in Tallahassee-Leon County. A rounded approach includes expanding local businesses and commercialization efforts in addition to business attraction/recruitment. This focus of a business cluster will bolster our regional economy by the emphasis on niche research and innovation that is preeminent in the world.

 

Michael Gay

Michael Gay

Senior Vice President, Madison Region Economic Partnership

United States

Michael Gay is Senior Vice President of Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP). In this capacity, he oversees the international programs (trade and foreign direct investment), Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programs, industry sector research, and national and global site searches. Prior to MadREP, he served as the Director of the Center for New Ventures (CNV) at UW-Platteville, which helped the university and its expansive educational resources become more entrepreneurial, promote research, and increase grant relationships. Prior to UW-Platteville, Mr. Gay worked for the City of Madison as the Business Development Coordinator, serving as the official liaison between city government and the Madison business community. His time and resources were focused on technology transfer, innovation, and the creation of new economy employment centers and business incubators. Prior to working for the City of Madison, he directed an office of a private Midwest architectural/engineering/planning consulting firm (MSA Professional Services, 1993-2000) as well as administered business development programs for the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Development (now Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation). Mr. Gay holds the Certified Economic Developer classification (CEcD) by the International Economic Development Council. He has a B.S. in Public and Environmental Administration (UW-Green Bay) and an M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning (UW-Madison).

Ask: With respect to Puerto Rico, Mr. Gay has met with Manuel Laboy Rivera at past ACE and SelectUSA events and worked with Wilfredo Reyes-Miller on the repositioning of and strategy for Naval Station Roosevelt Roads in Ceiba.  MadREP industry sectors in some fashion align with those of Puerto Rico and many other regions of the world. If there is an opportunity or partnerships to explore, he would like to do so.  MadREP has done industry profiles of industry sectors of interest and will share them with ACE Participants.  MadREP created Centers of Excellences around these industry sectors (dairy, ICT, and biosciences) to support inventors and entrepreneurs in this region.  They are considered best practices in the State and the country.

Offer: Mr. Gay is an economic development professional that has strong bonds to Latin America and the Caribbean. He continues to follow up and partner with past ACE participants in the innovation and entrepreneurship space. He concentrates his efforts around business and partnership opportunities in the industry sectors of agriculture, food and beverage manufacturing (AFB), information communication technology (ICT), Gaming (Wisconsin Games Alliance), biosciences (Medical devices, biotech and life sciences) and advanced manufacturing. MadREP is creating a strong global ecosystem supporting innovation and entrepreneurship between these sectors and other overseas regions, universities and industry consortiums of the same ilk. In December 2017 the US Embassy in Argentina asked him to help the Cordoba Region create a regional economic development strategy and I&E ecosystem to support start-ups, innovation, and technology transfer.

 

Kris Khalil

Kris Khalil

Managing Director, New Orleans BioFund

United States

Kris Khalil is the Managing Director of the New Orleans BioFund (NOBF), a leading non-profit venture-capital fund in Louisiana, and has successfully injected $4M+ into the region’s economy post-Hurricane Katrina via dilutive and non-dilutive investments in early-stage biotech and life science ventures. As managing director, he is continuously searching for new deals and developing new funding vehicles in order to expand the Fund’s economic impact. Mr. Khalil also serves as interim president of the New Orleans BioInnovation Center (NOBIC) – an incubator providing office space and pro bono commercialization support for portfolio companies and independent ventures. Before pioneering NOBF, he acquired over a decade of experience in the early-stage investment industry as an underwriter and analyst for financial institutions, including Capital One Bank and Omni Bank. Mr. Khalil holds a BA in finance from Louisiana State University, an MBA from Tulane University Freeman School of Business. He teaches Venture Capital at Loyola University NOLA.

Ask: The BioFund was recently awarded $300K through EDA’s Seed Fund Support program to implement a new funding vehicle – providing essential seed capital and educational resources to innovation-based businesses headed by Louisiana research institution faculty, students and alumni. NOBF was inspired by similarities between PR and NOLA, particularly by their mutual propensity for producing innovative technologies through research universities, and how increasing the volume/scalability of such ventures sustainably stimulates the economy post-natural disaster. Over the past year, NOBF developed a rudimentary plan for replicating its successes with translational research (i.e. job creation, business/investment attraction, infrastructure) in PR in order to further assist state efforts in their economic/infrastructure recovery. Having formulated a preliminary framework, and substantial interest from key stakeholders, NOBF currently needs through ACE to establish pivotal and committed partnerships in technology industries, research/university institutions, and political agencies in both territories to bring this new incubator to life.

Offer: Even without the present existence of a formal/physical branch of NOBIC/NOBF in PR, the organization(s) can still help fellow ACE participants who work with translational research/early-stage ventures on the mainland who struggle to consistently find capital and commercialization support for their endeavors through our digital health fund, university venture fund, or the BARDA Enact program. Additionally, similar VC organizations in attendance looking to enter this arena may benefit from the comparison of our model to their prospective approach. ACE organizers could also benefit from my attendance since the team and I have made several independent trips to the island already and would be able to share the connections I made and the opinions they have already provided on matters of innovation and economic development. Most importantly, we are hoping that our university/research fund can successfully expand its regional parameters to PR so that local hosts can start receiving the support they need in this critical time.

 

Mayda Velasco

Mayda Velasco

UNESCO Chair Professor, Physics and Astronimy Department, Northwestern University

United States

Dr. Mayda Velasco is the UNESCO Chair Professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department at Northwestern University. She is also the Director of the Institute for fundamental and interdisciplinary physics for the Americas (COFI) in San Juan, P.R., an international research institute active in theoretical, computational, and experimental disciplines with a vast number of technical projects ranging from topic in medical physics and advanced computing. Dr. Velasco has used her experience in evaluating multi-million dollar projects and her connections as a consultant to several funding agencies in the USA (like DOE, NSF and HEPAP) and internationally (Austria, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, etc.) to form solid collaboration to pursue the projects.  For example, Dr. Velasco is forming a collaboration between members of the private sector, academia and government to build a proton accelerator in Puerto Rico to be used for cancer treatment (hadron therapy) and production of medical radioisotopes.

Ask: Several of the projects from COFI and lead by Dr. Velasco are looking for a location for the proton accelerator, local experts that could help with the civil construction of a radioactive safe facility, students to train in the PhD programs, and individuals interested in being part of public-private partnerships. This also true for the private fiber optic system that COFI is investing on for the transfer of scientific data between continental USA and Puerto Rico.

Offer: Within COFI there is a vast number of scientists and engineers from universities and national/international laboratories who can collaborate and/or served as consultants in topics like renewable energy, nuclear energy, medical physics, advanced networking and computing, advanced statistics and analysis techniques, etc.

 

Caroline Wedmore

Caroline Wedmore

Head of Strategy Unit, Department for International Trade, UK Government

United Kindom

Caroline Wedmore is the Head of Strategy in the UK Government’s Department for International Trade (DIT). She leads on the role of trade and investment in the UK Industrial Strategy, including how trade and investment can ensure UK success in high-growth industries. She works across government to ensure domestic policies support exports and inward investment. Finally, she leads DIT’s horizon scanning function through which DIT seeks to anticipate global and technological trends that will impact the UK trades. Previously, she was Head of Migration, helping businesses to access talent and using investor intelligence to shape UK migration policy. Ms. Wedmore has also worked at the Department for Work and Pensions, on labour market policy, and at the Cabinet Office, coordinating the 2014 Queen’s Speech which set out forthcoming legislation. She has a BA in Classics from Oxford University and is undertaking a UCL-led economics course.

Ask: Enhance UK Government capacity to support the design and implementation of policies and programmes that encourage productivity, innovation, and international growth. Share knowledge and best practice in areas of competitiveness, innovation, and trade and investment promotion. Learn first-hand about Puerto Rico’s emerging innovation ecosystem, via the programme’s itinerary showcasing effective innovation initiatives. Understand how to improve the UK innovation landscape and promotion. Meet and collaborate with other policy makers, businesses, university leaders and innovation agencies.

Offer: The Department for International Trade (DIT) helps UK businesses export and grow into global markets. DIT also help overseas companies locate and grow in the UK. DIT can provide insight into trade and investment promotion, both in terms of the practical support the department offers to businesses, but also strategically, having developed and launched a new Export Strategy and a new Foreign Direct Investment Strategy in 2018. As DIT’s lead on the UK Industrial Strategy, it can also provide insight into how UK is encouraging investment and supporting exporters with the aim of placing the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future. The UK’s Industrial Strategy sets out a programme of work underneath four “Grand Challenges” to ensure that the UK takes advantage of major global changes and improves UK productivity. The four challenges are: AI and data, ageing society, clean growth and the future of mobility.

 

Rosario Paradinas

Rosario Paradinas

Economic Counselor, Spanish Consulate in Puerto Rico

Spain

Rosario Paradinas is the Economic Counselor at the Spanish Consulate in Puerto Rico, where she promotes Spanish companies investment in the Island, enhance the competitiveness of international markets, and advance the relationship between Spain and Puerto Rico. Previously, Ms. Paradinas worked in financial multilateral organizations and the Spanish Office on Climate Change. Ms. Paradinas holds a bachelor in Business Administration from the Universidad Pontificia de Madrid and earned a Diploma in Public Leadership from the IESE Business School.

Ask: Promoting investment in Puerto Rico

Offer: trade and investment connections with spanish firms

 

Rafael Gómez

Rafael Gómez

Sales Representative, Structuralia

Spain

Rafael Gómez is a Sales Representative in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic for Structuralia, a Spanish Business online school, which  offers training courses for engineers and all professionals certified by Spanish Universities. He has experience in legal advice and customer service. .

Ask: Exchange programs. Trade and investment connections

Offer: Online training courses to all the participants

 

Lambert Van Nistelrooij

Lambert Van Nistelrooij

Dutch Member, European Parliament

European Parliament

Lambert van Nistelrooij is a Dutch Member of the European Parliament for the CDA party (Dutch Christian Democrats) in the conservative EPP Group since 2004. In the European Parliament he is the EPP-coordinator in the Committe on Regional Development, and substitute Member in the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection. He is also the initiator of the yearly European Innovation Summit. As such, innovation policy in Europe and how this can contribute to more competitiveness and prosperity in cities and regions is one of his top priorities. Mr Van Nistelrooij holds a Master’s degree in Social Geography from the Catholic University of Nijmegen in The Netherlands.

Ask: Looking to cooperate and exchange with leaders from all over the world on matters of mutual interest, mainly in de field of regional development, innovation, and urban development policy.

Offer: The yearly high-level European Innovation Summit (EIS) in the European Parliament in Brussels that has become one of the leading European high-level innovation policy conferences in Brussels. Looking for high-level speakers from outside Europe.

 

Marijn Verhees

Marijn Verhees

Head of Office, Cabinet of Lambert van Nistelrooij, European Parliament

European Parliament

Marijn Verhees is Head of Office at the Cabinet of Lambert van Nistelrooij MEP. As such, he is responsible for managing the Cabinet, preparing and advising on legislative work in the field of EU Internal Market and Consumer Protection, ICT policy and innovation. He is active in the field of European innovation policy. Mr Verhees holds a degree from The Hague School of European Studies in The Netherlands.

Ask: Interested to exchange on world-wide innovation, trade, ICT, and related policies.

Offer: Interested in involving senior speakers from outside of Europe to further internationalise the European Innovation Summit policy conference in the European Parliament in Brussels

 

Valerie Pilgrim

Valerie Pilgrim

Coordinator of Business and Innovation Climate Reform, Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility, Inter-American Development Bank

Inter-American Develoment Bank

Valerie Pilgrim is the Coordinator of the Business and Innovation Climate reform component of the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility (CCPF), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).  CCPF is a private sector development programme that delivers innovative and practical solutions that stimulate economic growth, increase productivity and foster innovation and competitiveness in 13 countries across the Caribbean region. She also has extensive experience across the programme management cycle – strategic planning, project design, monitoring and evaluation to programme evaluation. Most of her career has been focused on improving the productivity and competitiveness of private sector enterprises either within the private sector, public sector or through the implementation of development programmes. She has either coordinated or served as a team member for various initiatives aimed at creating a more enabling business environment through policy, regulatory and institutional reforms and improvements to the trade facilitation infrastructure. Main areas of interest are strengthening entrepreneurial ecosystems, integrating gender and social equality into private sector development; making small size an asset in private sector and economic development; and regional collaboration and competitiveness.

Ask: Increase her understanding of how to strengthen ecosystems for entrepreneurship and innovation; and establish linkages and identify collaboration opportunities with counterparts in countries with more advance ecosystems and willing to share their experiences and lessons learned.

Offer: She is currently actively engaged in dialogue with 13 benefitting countries in the Caribbean towards identifying projects for funding consideration in the area of strengthening entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems

 

 

Marlon Marie

Marlon Marie

Technical Specialist on Innovation, Competitive Business Unit, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States

Organization of Eastern Caribbean States

Marlon Marie is the Technical Specialist – ICT & Innovation at the Competitive Business Unit (CBU) of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), where he is responsible for advancing the Commission’s drive in enhancing the ICT ecosystem through eBusiness and eCommerce geared towards private sector development. Previously, he served as the acting Head of Unit at the Competitive Business Unit. He has also worked as an e-Government Specialist on the E-Government for Regional Integration Project (EGRIP), and was responsible for coordinating and managing activities at the national level in Dominica. He also was an ICT local tutor at the University of the West Indies (UWI). Marlon holds an MSc in Technology & Innovation from Aspen University, Colorado USA, a BSc in Management Studies from UWI, Cave Hill, Barbados and professional certifications: CompTIA A+, Network+ and Security+.

Ask: The OECS CBU is responsible for private sector development across 10 Member States and Associated States, as such ICT development through eCommerce and eBusiness is the currently a main driving force. This includes gaining opportunities for partnerships, trade and investment connections, exchange programs, incubators, technical solutions, eGovernment opportunities and technical assistance.

Offer: Currently the CBU is implementing the European Union financed Trade Enhancement for Eastern Caribbean Project (TEECA) which offers the opportunity for mutual opportunities in both english speaking and french speaking OECS countries in the areas of Agribusiness, Manufacturing, Creative Industries, ICT and Green Tech. The CBU also provides support to national Business Development Organisations (BSOs) to strengthen their programs to work with local MSMEs including national ICT associations. The CBU will also soon be implementing the EU 11th EDF program in the previously listed focal areas for all the Member States.

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