Meet our trainers

Green tech entrepreneurship ninjas, that’s what we like to call them. Each thoroughly vetted and seasoned by their own ventures and work in the field. You can find them all over the globe, leading our infamous Boot Camps. They shape the backbone of our success - and that of our participants and alumni.

All of our ninjas:

Lawrence Thiga

"Entrepreneurship changes lives."

Bio
Lawrence’s main goal is to empower people within start-ups and small & growing enterprises. He helps business grow and expand their impact. For the past 8 years he pursued various entrepreneurship training certifications and he is a certified business mentor in Kenya. Since 2017 he has been involved with Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) at Strathmore Business School and a Germany based organization (SEED) for Africa. Lawrence holds a B.A in Psychology and he is the founder of Novell Arch Enterprise, a training and consultancy firm for micro, small and medium sized enterprises. He joined ClimateLaunchpad in 2019. His approach to training does not only guarantee a steep learning curve, you should also brace yourself for a lot of fun during his Boot Camps.

Ron Bloemers

"Helping cleantech start-ups accelerate to global success, that’s what I love to do"

Bio
For over 20 years, Ron more than earned his tracks in the global cleantech industry. He trains other coaches, early stage start-ups & scale-ups, and works with large international corporations and government. He founded and manages Start-U-up, a boutique cleantech accelerator. Ron holds a Msc. in Business Economics and a Bsc. in Physical Education. For Ron, it’s now time to transfer his extensive, global, and hands-on cleantech experience to the younger generation. Ron loves to actively take part in the startup problem solving process and, like Mike, to contribute to initiatives that have big positive impact. He sees the ClimateLaunchpad as the ideal platform to do just that. Look for his more in-depth profile on LinkedIn.

Israel Griol Barres

"Life is a rollercoaster. Fight for your dreams when you are in a valley."

Bio
Israel is the start-up ecosystem manager of the Universitat Politècnica de València in Spain and an experienced lecturer, trainer and mentor. His specialities are innovation, business models, business strategy and entrepreneurship. Israel is a Telecommunication and Electronics Engineer. He joined ClimateLaunchpad as a trainer in 2015.

Frans Nauta

"Winning our competition is overrated. Learning how to find a paying customer, that’s the real prize"

Bio
Hm… what can we say about Frans? Accurately he describes himself as ‘a European working in Silicon Valley and a Valleyean working in Europe on innovation & entrepreneurship, with a focus on climate change’. He founded ClimateLaunchpad in 2014, teaches at UC Berkeley, is passionate about yoga and chocolate, writes books and loves to rock the boat. The list goes on, but luckily space here is limited. Frans holds an MA in Political Sciences.

Shiva Susarla

Bio
Shiva Susarla runs a Singapore-based venture studio and innovation firm. After over a decade spent with other startups and young companies in cleantech, Shiva now builds his own circular economy startups in Asia, unsuccessfully trying not to make the same mistakes he has seen other businesses make.

Hans Westerhof

"ClimateLaunchpad helps you understand your business in a very fast and a very precise way"

Bio
Hans joined ClimateLaunchpad in 2014 as Project Lead and Trainer. He's a start-up trainer, general manager, consultant and entrepreneur with a background in a broad range of industries and environments. His current focus is clean-tech start-up acceleration through entrepreneurship education, coaching and financing. Experienced in directing large projects and programs (US 100 million +). He’s the kind of guy that simply gets things done.

Elena Messiou

"Follow the path through highs and lows. Success is navigating life’s journey"

Bio
Elena is an innovation and entrepreneurship lecturer at InHolland applied sciences university in Amsterdam. She also works as a DEI consultant, helping companies, universities, and non profit organizations to create more diverse, equitable and inclusive environments. She is the founder of two business in Hong Kong and has lived and worked in Europe, Asia and the US. In her free time she volunteers coaching for refugees on developing entrepreneurial and management skills, and strives to train her border collie to stop eating the house plants.

Jennifer Githinji

"Don’t write yourself off even before you begin. You are a masterpiece with loads of potential."

Bio
Jennifer is a gender mainstreaming enthusiast. She enjoys working with women and youth to realize their business potential and drive growth and sustainability while still remaining authentically true to self. Jennifer has over 13 years’ experience in sales and marketing and has handled various leading household brands in Africa. She is the founder and CEO of Africa Instore Solutions (AIS) where she champions SME development assignments through advisory, training, coaching and mentorship programs. She has been involved in coaching ClimateLaunchpad start-ups at Kenya Climate Innovation Center since 2018 and joined as a trainer in 2020.

Paris Thomas

"I always strive to identify and tackle the elephant in the room"

Bio
Paris Thomas is a business model architect, strategy designer and communication specialist conducting training and consulting interventions that improve communication and entre- and intrapreneurial skills. Paris is also co-founder and CEO at Chrysalis Leap, Cyprus’ first accelerator programme specialising in cleantech. It is a private initiative aimed at helping entrepreneurs tweak, pivot, pitch and grow their ideas into investment-ready business opportunities. As a lead trainer and member on the Board of Directors, some of his responsibilities include the delivery of training modules on the “Business Model Generation”, “Pitching to Investors”, and coaching the teams through their start-up journey to success. Together with his sunny character it makes him the perfect ClimateLaunchpad trainer.

Pratap Raju

"Building a successful business and making a meaningful impact. Could it get any better?"

Bio
Pratap has been an entrepreneur in India for nearly 20 years, from IT to Bollywood to Solar. Since 2015, he has been helping building up the climate and cleantech startup ecosystem in India and South Asia and aims to help support the entrepreneurs in the SubContinent who are looking to solve our many environmental problems with innovative ideas, hard work, and risk-taking. Pratap has an AB in Math from Harvard University and an MSc in Economics for Development from Oxford University.

Chretien Herben

Bio
Chretien has 10 years of experience as a business coach in the Life Sciences & Medtech and has mentored over a 100 companies through his LifeSciences@Work program. Next to that he is an experienced as business coach/trainer/mentor in the Climate-KIC Accelerator and ClimateLaunchpad. Chretien has a background in Physics and Optoelectronics and started ThreeFive Photonics, a company designing and manufacturing complex optoelectronic chips for telecom applications, in 2001 from his PhD research at the TUDelft. He has experience in translating complex technologies into business, building high potential business based on breaktrough science, typically requiring venture capital.

Mike Goodfellow-Smith

"I love contributing to a massive positive difference in this world"

Bio
As Director of QUEST for Future Solutions Mike has internationally recognized experience in regional energy, construction, environmental assets and infrastructure, transport, housing, planning, waste, resource efficiency and environmental business support. QUEST provides strategic direction for sustainable development; sustainable innovation; sustainable procurement; management, reporting and training programmes. Mike holds a BA in Geography. An Msc. In Land Resource Management and is a PHD researcher on Sustainable Cities Value Capture modelling.

Lawrence Thiga

"Entrepreneurship changes lives."..

Bio
Lawrence’s main goal is to empower people within start-ups and small & growing enterprises. He helps business grow and expand their impact. For the past 8 years he pursued various entrepreneurship training certifications and he is a certified business mentor in Kenya. Since 2017 he has been involved with Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) at Strathmore Business School and a Germany based organization (SEED) for Africa. Lawrence holds a B.A in Psychology and he is the founder of Novell Arch Enterprise, a training and consultancy firm for micro, small and medium sized enterprises. He joined ClimateLaunchpad in 2019. His approach to training does not only guarantee a steep learning curve, you should also brace yourself for a lot of fun during his Boot Camps.

Ron Bloemers

"Helping cleantech start-ups accelerate to global success, that’s what I love to do"..

Bio
For over 20 years, Ron more than earned his tracks in the global cleantech industry. He trains other coaches, early stage start-ups & scale-ups, and works with large international corporations and government. He founded and manages Start-U-up, a boutique cleantech accelerator. Ron holds a Msc. in Business Economics and a Bsc. in Physical Education. For Ron, it’s now time to transfer his extensive, global, and hands-on cleantech experience to the younger generation. Ron loves to actively take part in the startup problem solving process and, like Mike, to contribute to initiatives that have big positive impact. He sees the ClimateLaunchpad as the ideal platform to do just that. Look for his more in-depth profile on LinkedIn.

Israel Griol Barres

"Life is a rollercoaster. Fight for your dreams when you are in a valley."..

Bio
Israel is the start-up ecosystem manager of the Universitat Politècnica de València in Spain and an experienced lecturer, trainer and mentor. His specialities are innovation, business models, business strategy and entrepreneurship. Israel is a Telecommunication and Electronics Engineer. He joined ClimateLaunchpad as a trainer in 2015.

Frans Nauta

"Winning our competition is overrated. Learning how to find a paying customer, that’s the real prize"..

Bio
Hm… what can we say about Frans? Accurately he describes himself as ‘a European working in Silicon Valley and a Valleyean working in Europe on innovation & entrepreneurship, with a focus on climate change’. He founded ClimateLaunchpad in 2014, teaches at UC Berkeley, is passionate about yoga and chocolate, writes books and loves to rock the boat. The list goes on, but luckily space here is limited. Frans holds an MA in Political Sciences.

Shiva Susarla

Bio
Shiva Susarla runs a Singapore-based venture studio and innovation firm. After over a decade spent with other startups and young companies in cleantech, Shiva now builds his own circular economy startups in Asia, unsuccessfully trying not to make the same mistakes he has seen other businesses make.

Hans Westerhof

"ClimateLaunchpad helps you understand your business in a very fast and a very precise way"..

Bio
Hans joined ClimateLaunchpad in 2014 as Project Lead and Trainer. He's a start-up trainer, general manager, consultant and entrepreneur with a background in a broad range of industries and environments. His current focus is clean-tech start-up acceleration through entrepreneurship education, coaching and financing. Experienced in directing large projects and programs (US 100 million +). He’s the kind of guy that simply gets things done.

Elena Messiou

"Follow the path through highs and lows. Success is navigating life’s journey"..

Bio
Elena is an innovation and entrepreneurship lecturer at InHolland applied sciences university in Amsterdam. She also works as a DEI consultant, helping companies, universities, and non profit organizations to create more diverse, equitable and inclusive environments. She is the founder of two business in Hong Kong and has lived and worked in Europe, Asia and the US. In her free time she volunteers coaching for refugees on developing entrepreneurial and management skills, and strives to train her border collie to stop eating the house plants.

Jennifer Githinji

"Don’t write yourself off even before you begin. You are a masterpiece with loads of potential."..

Bio
Jennifer is a gender mainstreaming enthusiast. She enjoys working with women and youth to realize their business potential and drive growth and sustainability while still remaining authentically true to self. Jennifer has over 13 years’ experience in sales and marketing and has handled various leading household brands in Africa. She is the founder and CEO of Africa Instore Solutions (AIS) where she champions SME development assignments through advisory, training, coaching and mentorship programs. She has been involved in coaching ClimateLaunchpad start-ups at Kenya Climate Innovation Center since 2018 and joined as a trainer in 2020.

Paris Thomas

"I always strive to identify and tackle the elephant in the room"..

Bio
Paris Thomas is a business model architect, strategy designer and communication specialist conducting training and consulting interventions that improve communication and entre- and intrapreneurial skills. Paris is also co-founder and CEO at Chrysalis Leap, Cyprus’ first accelerator programme specialising in cleantech. It is a private initiative aimed at helping entrepreneurs tweak, pivot, pitch and grow their ideas into investment-ready business opportunities. As a lead trainer and member on the Board of Directors, some of his responsibilities include the delivery of training modules on the “Business Model Generation”, “Pitching to Investors”, and coaching the teams through their start-up journey to success. Together with his sunny character it makes him the perfect ClimateLaunchpad trainer.

Pratap Raju

"Building a successful business and making a meaningful impact. Could it get any better?"..

Bio
Pratap has been an entrepreneur in India for nearly 20 years, from IT to Bollywood to Solar. Since 2015, he has been helping building up the climate and cleantech startup ecosystem in India and South Asia and aims to help support the entrepreneurs in the SubContinent who are looking to solve our many environmental problems with innovative ideas, hard work, and risk-taking. Pratap has an AB in Math from Harvard University and an MSc in Economics for Development from Oxford University.

Chretien Herben

Bio
Chretien has 10 years of experience as a business coach in the Life Sciences & Medtech and has mentored over a 100 companies through his LifeSciences@Work program. Next to that he is an experienced as business coach/trainer/mentor in the Climate-KIC Accelerator and ClimateLaunchpad. Chretien has a background in Physics and Optoelectronics and started ThreeFive Photonics, a company designing and manufacturing complex optoelectronic chips for telecom applications, in 2001 from his PhD research at the TUDelft. He has experience in translating complex technologies into business, building high potential business based on breaktrough science, typically requiring venture capital.

Mike Goodfellow-Smith

"I love contributing to a massive positive difference in this world"..

Bio
As Director of QUEST for Future Solutions Mike has internationally recognized experience in regional energy, construction, environmental assets and infrastructure, transport, housing, planning, waste, resource efficiency and environmental business support. QUEST provides strategic direction for sustainable development; sustainable innovation; sustainable procurement; management, reporting and training programmes. Mike holds a BA in Geography. An Msc. In Land Resource Management and is a PHD researcher on Sustainable Cities Value Capture modelling.

Watch them in action

Connect

Get in touch with our trainers, they love to connect and are happy to share and discuss any and all cleantech and start-up stuff. You can also benefit from their expertise and book one or more of our trainers for your own event.

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