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Keynote speakers


Cutting-edge insights from leading experts


Professor Jan Cobbenhagen


CEO Maastricht University Holding b.v.
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Professor dr. Jan Cobbenhagen (1963) joined Maastricht University Holding B.V. in 2003 as its CEO. The Maastricht University Holding group is the university’s corporate venturing firm that holds equity in over 50 strategic ventures and spin-offs. Furthermore, he is director of the “Knowledge Transfer Office” of Maastricht University, responsible for technology transfer, research cooperation, knowledge dissemination and entrepreneurship at Maastricht University and its Medical Centre. After having served as professor of Entrepreneurship for eight years, he was recently appointed professor of “Knowledge Transfer and University Venturing” at the School of Business and Economics.

He serves as Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Early Stage Financing to the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs and as a member of the Valorisation Advisory Committee to the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs and the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science. In addition he is a member of the supervisory boards of MAASTRO Clinic for Radiotherapy, Virenze RIAGG (mental healthcare), MECC Maastricht B.V. (convention and exhibition centre) and StudiJob B.V. (employment agency of Amsterdam University).

Previously, he was founding director of the Maastricht Center for Entrepreneurship; founding director of BioPartner Center Maastricht (life sciences incubator) and co-founder and managing director of Smart Capital Network B.V. (venture capital firm). Jan holds a Bachelor degree in Hotel Management, a Master degree in Business Administration and Quantitative Economics as well as a PhD in Business Administration.

Professor Peter Kelly


Professor of Practice at the Aalto School of Science
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Professor Peter Kelly is an award-winning entrepreneurship educator and practitioner. He is a leading international authority on business angels and was directly involved in the creation of Europe’s first university pre-seed fund and an associated angel network.

Peter’s experience includes a period as an investment and corporate banker in Canada where he managed a portfolio of high profile clients in the cable television and publishing industries. He has also had teaching positions and faculty appointments at Helsinki University of Technology, Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration, London Business School, University of Notre Dame and Wilfrid Laurier University. He has also been involved with the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship since its founding.

Over the past 15 years, he has worked with entrepreneurs in Finland, Sweden, UK, Portugal, Russia, Latvia, Estonia, Norway, Switzerland, and Canada.

Since arriving in Finland in 1998, Peter has been the driving force behind entrepreneurship education at Aalto University, heading up the Helsinki School of Creative Entrepreneurship (HSCE). Among many other initiatives, HSCE seed funded the creation of the world’s largest student entrepreneurship society, Aalto Entrepreneurship Society, a student led and inspired movement that supports applied entrepreneurship at the university.

During 2010, he held an appointment at Aalto University as Professor of Practice at the School of Art & Design where he developed a rapid opportunity prototyping course to explore the intersection between the disciplines of design and entrepreneurship.

Professor Kelly obtained his PhD in Entrepreneurship from London Business School and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame, USA.

Professor Mike Wright


Professor of Entrepreneurship, Imperial College Business School
Research Gate profile

Professor Mike Wright joined Imperial College Business School as Professor of Entrepreneurship in September 2011. He is Director of the Centre for Management Buy-out Research, the first centre to be established devoted to the study of private equity and buyouts, which was founded in March 1986 at the Nottingham University Business School.

He has written over 40 books and more than 300 papers in academic and professional journals on management buy-outs, venture capital, habitual entrepreneurs, academic entrepreneurs, and related topics. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Ghent and was recently ranked #1 worldwide for publications in academic entrepreneurship.

He has held major research grants from financial institutions and national and international research agencies totaling almost £4 million for studies in the areas of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial finance and governance. These grants have resulted in numerous reports for research funders, extensive media coverage (including Financial Times, The Economist, Wall Street Journal, etc.), and leading international journal articles for academic and more applied audiences (such as Review of Economics and Statistics, Economic Journal, Academy of Management Review, Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, Harvard Business Review, etc.).

Filip Arnaut


Research and Development Director at Puratos - a global player and innovator in the food industry
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Filip Arnaut is leading the Group Research & Services lab at the headquarters of Puratos Group in Groot‐Bijgaarden (Belgium). He graduated as Bio‐Engineer in Food Chemistry and Technology at the UGent. He held various research positions at Puratos where he is working now for more than 30 years. He and his team regularly work together with universities especially in the area of food engineering and biochemistry. He is also active in national and international professional organizations such as AACC International. Puratos is a leading global player, which offers a full range of innovative products, raw materials and application expertise for artisans, industry, retailers and food service customers in the bakery, patisserie and chocolate sectors.

Reinier Grimbergen


Director Science to Innovate at Royal DSM
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Reinier Grimbergen (08/12/1969) is Director Science to Innovate at Royal DSM, based in Urmond, the Netherlands, and is responsible for turning DSM’s global Life Science and Material Science competences into innovation opportunities.

Mr. Grimbergen obtained a MSc degree in Chemistry at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands and holds a PhD in Solid State Chemistry from the same university. He joined DSM in 2008, where he has held several positions in R&D, Sustainability, Regulatory Affairs and Business Development. Since February 2014 he is at his current position.

Selected previous keynote speakers


Professor Carl Schramm

American economist, entrepreneur, and former President and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Professor Scott Shane

Author of the bestseller "Illusions of Entrepreneurship" and Professor in Entrepreneurship at Case Western Reserve University, US

Dr. Natascha Eckert
Department Head University and Research Cooperation at SIEMENS

Dr. Manfred Meier
Head of the department “University Cooperation” at AutoUni of Volkswagen AG

Professor Henry Etzkowitz
President of the Triple Helix Association






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