Keynote Speakers

Photo of Anni Sinijärv

Anni Sinijärv
CEO & co-founder European Innovation Academy (EIA), Estonia

Anni is a co-founder and CEO of the European Innovation Academy (EIA) where she leads strategic, organizational, and operational processes. Under her guidance, EIA (a premier non-profit educational institution) has become a recognized leader in tech entrepreneurship education, with a mission to reach one million students by 2025.

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Anni collaborates with key academic partners including UC Berkeley, the University of Calgary, Michigan University and more. She has extensive leadership and organizational management experience and has launched EIA programs in France, Italy, Portugal, Qatar, and China.

In 2018, EIA was recognized by the Financial Times and Google for being one of the top digital champions in Europe.

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Photo of Ali A. Houshmand

Ali A. Houshmand
President, Rowan University, New Jersey, USA

A lifelong believer in the power of education, Dr.  Houshmand holds masters and doctoral degrees in industrial and operations engineering and has applied an entrepreneurial approach to growing the University. His four overarching goals: increasing access, improving quality, ensuring affordability and promoting economic development.

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Before joining Academia, Dr. Houshmand worked as a staff analyst for United Airlines, developing large-scale optimization and forecasting models. Among his most notable achievements during his presidency, he created a $25,000 bachelor’s degree with partner community colleges, completed $1.5 Billion in new construction projects, and raised his school’s College of Engineering ranking to #19 in the US.

A natural social innovator, Dr. Houshmand invented the successful “Houshmand Hazardous Hot Sauce” which goes entirely to support the Student Emergency Scholarship Fund.

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Abdul Karim Mohamed
Investment Manager, Grand Challenges Canada, Ontario, Canada

Abdul is a recovering engineer that is passionate about supporting local entrepreneurs, especially African social entrepreneurs. He has led the direct investment and portfolio management of investments in excess $15 million.

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Abdul is currently an Investment Manager at Grand Challenges Canada (GCC), responsible for overseeing GCC’s mHealth and humanitarian portfolios and GCC’s work deploying development impact bonds. Prior to joining GCC, Abdul was based in Ghana sourcing early-stage FinTech and AgTech investments.

Abdul holds a Chemical Engineering degree from Ryerson University and a Master of Business Administration from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

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Dr. H. Purushotham
Chairman & MD, National Research Development Corporation 
Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India  New Delhi

Dr. H. Purushotham is the Chairman & Managing Director of the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) and the Director General of Consultancy Development Centre (CDC); both under the Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India.

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Dr. Purushotham possesses more than 33 years of broad experience in different reputable Government Institutions and held several top level Engineering, Management and Leadership positions in the Industry, Research and Consultancy.  He was a founding head of the Department for Chemical Process Design and Development at CSIR-CLRI, Hyderabad, and has led many multi-disciplinary teams in R&D, IP Management, Technology Transfer & Commercialisation projects.  Furthermore, he has executed successfully more than 100 projects as a team leader in Agro-Chemicals, Coal, Oil, Leather, Biotechnology, Agriculture, ITES, Pharma, Energy, etc.

Dr. Purushotham has delivered more than 200 invited, plenary and keynote lectures in India and abroad and led many Science & Technology delegations to USA, Canada UK, Japan, Brazil, Switzerland, Philippines, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Ghana. He has been Instrumental in establishing dynamic Academia-Industry Partnerships and was Awarded a Meritorious Young Consultant Award in 1991 by DSIR and a SKOCHBSE 2016 Award for Nurturing Creativity and Innovation in the Country.

Now, as a CMD of NRDC, he is spearheading Commercialisation of Innovative Technologies which have contributed significantly to Start-up India and Make in India Missions of Government of India. A lifelong innovator and independent thinker, Dr. Purushotham’s  initiatives have generated significant sustainable socio-economic development of the Nation, as well as large employment opportunities and economic development through  entrepreneurial ventures.

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Greg Horowitt

Greg Horowitt is a serial entrepreneur, investor, author, and innovation systems architect. He is a Managing Director of Jun Capital as well as a member of the Society of Kauffman Fellows.

Greg is the Director of Innovation at the University of California, San Diego, and also serves as an adjunct lecturer at Stanford University. He has spent 25+ years working in startups, venture capital, and is one of the pioneers in the field of innovation ecosystems.  

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He is the co-author of the bestselling book, The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley and is a trusted advisor to such notable organizations as the US State Department, Aspen Institute, University of California, World Bank, and Inter-American Development Bank, in addition to his role as a Senior Fellow with the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils.

Mr. Horowitt has worked in several executive and investment roles including a Berkshire Hathaway operating company, and continues his work today as an investor, advisor, and board member of multiple entrepreneurial startups.

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