RAINER AGSTER - Director of Private Sector Cooperation, adelphi consult

Rainer joined adelphi (www.adelphi.de) in 2002 as a Senior Project Manager and is now adelphi's Director of Private Sector Cooperation. Rainer Agster also serves as Director of Operations at SEED (www.seed.uno). His focus is on social and environmental entrepreneurship, energy efficiency, green finance and adaptation to climate change. Rainer has experience in the development, implementation and evaluation of sustainable development projects for national and international clients (EuropeAID, DG Energy and Transport, DG Education and Culture, UNFCCC, UNEP as well as Austrian, Chinese, German and Indian ministries, GIZ and KfW). Rainer graduated from the University of Applied Science Bremen in an International Study Programme for Environmental Engineering and has a Masters degree in Business Administration with a focus on sustainability management from the University of Leuphana in Lueneburg. He also studied one year at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

NORBERT BARTHLE - Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and Federal Chancellor's Commissioner for the German-Greek Assembly (DGV)

  • Two years public relations officer, then six years press spokesman at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport of the State of Baden-Württemberg
  • Since 1998, directly elected member of the Backnang/Schwäbisch Gmünd electoral district; since 2002, member of the Budget Committee of the German Bundestag
  • from October 2009 to March 2018 budgetary policy spokesman for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag, deputy chairman of the CDU regional group in Baden-Württemberg
  • February 2015 to March 2018 Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure


POONAM BIR KASTURI - Founder, PBK Waste Solutions Pvt Ltd

Poonam Bir Kasturi trained as an industrial designer graduated in 1985. Her current project called Daily Dump – Compost at Home began in 2006 April. So she spends her time figuring out which is the best way to get everyone to compost at home, make friends with maggots and understand that having a clean city starts from how you throw daily.  The word “Sustainable” in her head is all about understanding the patterns of interconnectedness.  Her previous work in the small scale industry, crafts, design education all inform her current project. She enjoys the mundane and knows there are lots of things she does not understand, especially the idea of the imaginary number.

She is the recipient of different awards, which is supposed to be a good thing people tell her, in truth, she is not so sure.

She loves her family, like sketching, enjoys being 56 and is inspired by many people who have helped her make sense of the world.

LIONEL BODIN - Europe Lead, Accenture Development Partnerships

Lionel Bodin, a Principal Director at Accenture, is the Europe Lead of Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP). ADP is a unit within Accenture that delivers the power of Accenture’s global capabilities and experience to address complex social, economic and environmental issues, positively impacting the lives of people in the developing world. For the past 10 years, Lionel has been advising NGOs, Foundations, UN agencies and other international organizations on their business and digital strategies.

Lionel is curious in anything combining the power of businesses and social impact creation. Leveraging his successful and less successful attempts in driving change, Lionel has also co-founded the “Intrapreneur Lab”. This programme, aimed at early-stage social innovators within corporations, helps developing profitable innovations that create social impact – and make participants becoming intrapreneurs in the process. 250+ innovators have benefitted from the programme since launch.

DEVIN CHESNEY - Director of Strategic Development, Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE)

Devin Chesney has played a variety of roles in the social and international development sector including time as an entrepreneur, consultant, and partnership builder. He currently serves as the Director of Strategic Development for the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) where he leads new program design, partnership development, and communications. Prior to that his work included founding FairWear, a social enterprise working to build scalable solutions to garment worker abuse in Bangladesh and managing institutional partnerships in support of the UN World Food Programme. He has a Masters in International Relations from the University of Chicago with a focus on the political economy of development.  He lives just outside Washington, DC with his wife and two kids, is a semi-professional blues guitarist and a licensed helicopter pilot.

THOMAS CIESLIK - Division 110, Cooperation with the Private Sector, Sustainable Economic Policy, Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Dr. Thomas Cieslik grew up in Northern Germany, studied political science, economic history, economic geography and Central and Eastern European history. After earning his Ph.D. from the Catholic University of Eichstätt he became professor in international relations at the largest private university of Mexico, Tec de Monterrey, Campus Estado de México, and coordinated the Mexico-Project of the political Friedrich Naumann Foundation. From 2008 until 2011 he lectured international relations at the University of Würzburg. Afterwards he changed into the Ministry for Economic Affairs as Senior Policy Officer at the Office of the Vice-Chancellor. Later, in 2013, he was in charge of Guatemala in the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, in December 2013 he became Head of Cooperation at the German Embassy in Guatemala. From 7/2017-6/2018 he was Deputy Head of Mission. Since finishing his paternal leave he has been working as Senior Policy Officer in the division of cooperation with the private sector and sustainable economic policy at the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, responsible for Business Membership Organizations Partnerships and Vocational Education and Training Partnerships as well as Private Sector Engagement in Developing and Emerging Countries.

HARRY DEVONSHIRE - Evaluation Officer, Argidius Foundation

Harry has been at the Argidius Foundation since 2015. Argidius works to improve the effectiveness and reach of small and medium enterprise capacity development services. Harry manages the learning pillar of the organization's strategy, which assess performance, and its drivers, across the portfolio, and supports research to build the evidence of what does and does not work. Before coming to Argidius, he worked at Deloitte Sustainability in the UK, and as a small business consultant in Uganda. 

AXEL KLAPHAKE - Director Economic and Social Development, Digitalisation, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Axel Klaphake is an economist and political scientist by training (University of Cologne, Université de Clermont-Ferrand) and holds a PhD in Environmental Management and Planning from the Technical University Berlin. In his further career, he worked mainly on issues linked to economic development and the sustainable management of natural resources holding jobs with several research institutes, think tanks and consulting companies in Germany, USA, and Brazil. He joined GIZ in 2007 as an adviser to the Federal German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development on G8 issue and water and infrastructure development in Africa. From 2009-2017 he worked as a head of regional and bilateral programmes in Uganda and as the GIZ Country Director in Uganda and Ethiopia. He is currently heading the Division Economic and Social Development, Digitalisation in the global department at GIZ HQs. In his career, he has been closely involved with efforts to strengthen synergies between private sector development and development cooperation. 

ANJA KÖNIG - Founder and Director, Social Impact Markets

Anja-N. König is co-founder and director of Social Impact Markets and representative of the European Venture Philanthropy Association EVPA for the DACH region based in Berlin. She a trained facilitator with 20 years of experience in action research, multisector dialogues and system change processes in Germany, (Central and Eastern) Europe and emerging countries globally. She is also an international expert in entrepreneurship development, impact finance and blended value partnerships. She supports development (financing) agencies, corporations, impact investors and philanthropic clients with strategic guidance, product and service development and programme implementation. In the past, Anja worked as Senior Entrepreneurship Advisor with Swisscontact in Zurich and co-created the Finance for Change programme at Impact Hub Berlin. In Turkey, she managed a major entrepreneurship and impact investing research programme as fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation & Mercator Foundation and led the JP Morgan Social Investment Programme at the Entrepreneurship Centre of Sabanci University. In Kenya, she was a Resident Programme Manager with GIZ and Manager in Financial Advisory Services with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). She started her career with PwC in Frankfurt in the evaluation of development finance activities of KfW before joining the Private Sector & Regulation team of an international consultancy in London. Anja holds an MBA from Mannheim University, a degree in political science from Science Po Paris and a post-master degree in development studies from the German Development Institute GDI. 

BENJAMIN MEIER - Swisscontact

Benjamin Meier is leading the Credit Suisse – Swisscontact Program (CSSC). Together, the two organisations want to identify best practice approaches to the promotion of entrepreneurship and ecosystem building and to share the insights with the global community. It’s their strong believe that only through non-competitive collaboration and partnership, we can catalyse the industries’ efforts for meaningful change. His focus is on using Social Network Analysis to better understand entrepreneurial ecosystems (follow my blog).

Prior to the CSSC project he was working for Swisscontact in Guatemala developing a lean startup program to promote entrepreneurship among vulnerable youth. Before joining Swisscontact, he was working as a Strategy Consultant. Besides, he has started his own business – fairly produced, custom made shoes from Guatemala – which unfortunately did not survive the first 3 years but thought him valuable lessons to make it better next time.

CHRISTINA SCHMITTMANN - Consultant, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Christina Schmittmann has been working on private sector development issues within GIZ for more than 10 years. After working in and leading projects in Namibia and Tunisia on topics such as Value Chain and Export Development, she is now working in Headquarters advising GIZ projects and BMZ on topics such as Entrepreneurship Development.

MERTEN SIEVERS - Value Chain Development and Entrepreneurship Coordinator, Enterprise Department, International Labour Organisation (ILO)

Merten Sievers is the Value Chain Development and Entrepreneurship coordinator in ILOs Small and Medium Enterprises Unit. In his current position Merten is responsible for 14 people in 3 teams in the SME unit that manage: (i) the Start and Improve your Business entrepreneurship and management training programme: www.ilo.org/siyb; (ii) ILOs work in Value Chain and Market Systems development www.ilo.org/valuechains, including the lab, a project on Market Systems development for Decent Work, www.ilo.org/thelab;  and (iii) ILOs work Women’s Entrepreneurship Development, www.ilo.org/wed. A fourth evolving thematic area is support to refugee and host community livelihoods under the new “Approach to Inclusive Markets”, jointly implemented with UNHCR and other partners www.ilo.org/aims. Combined the team backstops more than 70% of ILOs technical cooperation activities in the area of market systems and enterprise development with activities in more than 70 countries. Merten speaks English, Spanish and German and has good working knowledge of French, Portuguese and Italian.

SELIN ÖZ - Entrepreneurship Banking Manager and Garantipartners Acceleration Co-Founder, Garanti BBVA Bank

Selin Öz received her undergraduate degree from Middle East Technical University and her MBS from the Manchester Business School in 2001. Since 2007, she has been the SME Banking Entrepreneurship Banking Manager at Garantibank. She has also been leading the development and implementation of  the Women Entrepreneurship Program at Garantibank, Turkey's first private bank that has developed a specific program for women entrepreneurs as a worldwide best practice. She has led banking, marketing, strategy, and fund raising management of Women Entrepreneurship Program with many IFIs, government organizations, NGOs and universities.She is also Co-Founder of GarantiPartners Accelerating Program. She has more than 20 years of professional experience, in retail banking and SME banking. She is the board member of SosyalBen Foundation. She received the Women in Business Award by European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

TERESA WIDMER - Global Manager Swiss Entrepreneurship Program, Swisscontact

Teresa is leading the Swiss Entrepreneurship Program (powered by SECO, implemented by Swisscontact and J.E. Austin Associates) that aims at strengthening entrepreneurial ecosystems bottom-up by working with local entrepreneurs and organizations managing incubator and accelerator programs, mentor and angel networks. Through our network of international entrepreneurs and startup experts, Swiss EP supports these organizations to strengthen their performance, improve programs and deliver services of high value to their entrepreneurs, through strategic and practical advice as well as valuable international contacts. Before that, Teresa has worked in the field of organizational development, coaching and corporate social responsibility. Teresa holds a master of advanced studies in development and cooperation from ETH Zurich and masters in business administration and business education.

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