The unmatched expertise at H&D Partners
H&D Partners relies on a solid group of seasoned experts that continuously support the enablement of complex operations in many different domains such as: setting up coaching programs, defining entrepreneurship support programs, supporting international soft-landing and access to finance, enhancing entrepreneurship ecosystem building and, last but not least, provision of capacity building programs
Giordano Dichter (Italian, US citizen) is co-founder of the H&D Partners SRL Brussels-based consulting firm through which he continuously delivers support to a wide multitude of actors in private sector development. In a relatively short time, he has managed to place H&D Partners as an actor in the ecosystem of players that support entrepreneurial ecosystems by acquiring contracts with a variety of different organizations such as the Brussels Region, OECD, EC, EBN, CIHEAM, Tecnopolis, MPII, GIZ, GFA consulting group and ARS Progetti. He is specialized in supporting actors worldwide in creating and delivering entrepreneurship support services to startups and SMEs, including soft-landing, access to finance and open innovation and startup ecosystem building. He has provided peer-reviews, assessments and technical assistance to dozens of incubators and business support providers worldwide (e.g. all over Europe, Taiwan, China, Indonesia, Russia, Armenia, Brazil, Canada, Tunisia, Morocco, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka) where he managed to create a vast network of players with whom he constantly interacts professionally. He has developed the H&D Partners training program that enables the upscaling of business support organizations and delivers training extensively. From 2009 to 2018 Giordano headed the EU|BIC Services team at the European Business and Innovation Center Network where he managed the EUBIC trademark and was responsible for the EBN training program and publications which he produced as a service for the EBN members and at the request of third organizations (such as the European Court of Auditors and the European Commission). At EBN he was also responsible for the management of private-sector development-related technical assistance projects where he delivered expertise and coordinated experts for achieving strategic goals. Previously he has worked for the United Nations (UNOPS and ILO) where he supported local economic development actions mainly in the Balkans and he has worked for the Regional Business and Innovation Centre of the Lazio Region in Italy.
During almost 20 years, Philippe Vanrie was CEO of EBN, the leading pan-European Network bringing together 200+ Business & Innovation Centers (BICs), Innovation-based Incubators, Accelerators, Clusters, Innovation Agencies and Entrepreneurship Centers across Europe and beyond. A community gathering hundreds of business & innovation support organizations, thousands of smart innovators, and high-potential entrepreneurs. During the last 4 years, Philippe took over the mandate of Heading EUREKA, a Brussels-based inter-governmental organization supporting and funding innovators, knowledge actors, SMEs and industry leaders, across 40 countries (EU Countries but also UK, Israel, Norway, Switzerland, Russia, Canada, South Korea, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, etc). He championed the transformation of EBN and EUREKA into high-caliber innovation networks, interacting between policy-makers, promising innovative entrepreneurs, and ecosystems enablers. Philippe became a reputed international expert in innovation, incubation acceleration, entrepreneurship, economic development, public/private partnerships, and of course European funding & affairs. Philippe has indeed a long collaboration experience with the European Commission (EC) and other European institutions (EIB, EIT), as well as the European Space Agency (ESA), and a series of national & regional governmental agencies, Europewide but also worldwide across Asia (Taiwan, India, Singapore, South Korea), Americas (USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil and Chile), Africa and the Middle-East (Morocco, Tunisia, South Africa, Jordan, Israel, Palestine), as well as Turkey and Russia. He initiated and conducted a wide series of EC-funded collaborative projects in various fields: cross-border acceleration, regional innovation ecosystems, digital entrepreneurship, clusters management and inter-clusters collaboration, circular economy, satellite applications, technology transfer, open innovation, social innovation, internationalization of SMEs, innovation financing, and university/business cooperation. On the private sector side, he experimented Open Innovation partnerships between start-ups/scale-ups/business clusters, and large Corporations such as Procter & Gamble, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, JP Morgan Chase and SAP. An engineer by education (M.Sc.), graduated from the Gembloux (B) Agronomic Engineering University (Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech/Liège University), and from the University of Louvain (B) in Innovation Management, Philippe started his career as a statistician at the University of Brussels (ULB). Recently appointed Advisory Board member of the Coventry University (UK), he is invited Lecturer at the ICN-ARTEM Business School in Nancy (France), at the HANKEN School of Economics in Helsinki (Finland), and at the Louvain University (UCL) School of Management in Belgium.
A second generation entrepreneur, Francine has worked her way up through the family business to create and run her own company. In 1996 she was accredited as an expert by the Canadian Technology Network, an initiative of the National Research Council of Canada, NRC-IRAP. With this accreditation, she carries out mandates of accompaniment and coaching of innovative companies in their commercialization challenges. She has advised more than 1250 innovative SMEs, working in Europe, the United States and Japan! With an unparalleled understanding of the innovation ecosystem, she also supports economic development organizations in their strategic planning. Her activities consist of training innovative companies to integrate world-class management best practices and developing meaningful performance indicators that measure best practices and client impact. Its clients include companies such as Cascades Lupel, BioGenicQ, Weco, EERS and Argon-18 Bikes. Trainer for the City of Montreal’s Innovation Roadmap 2015 @ 2018, she also teaches at the master’s level for the Automated Production Engineering Department for the Innovation Management Program at the École de Technologie Supérieure (ETS) of Montréal. She holds an Executive-MBA from Paris-Dauphine in France, a minor in East Asian Studies (Japan) and a management degree from HÉC de Montréal. She is also a certified LEGO Serious play facilitator. She resides on the south shore of Montreal, Canada.
Vittorio is currently the Coordinator of the Evaluation and Evaluation Unit of Public Investments (NRVVIP) of the Basilicata Region. Vittorio has over 20 years of experience in supporting SMEs to innovate and internationalize. He has managed the network of business incubators of the Basilicata Region, with offices in Matera, Viggiano, and Metaponto. He has coordinated national and European projects related to local economic development and transnational cooperation. Since 2014 he is a certified evaluator for the European Business and Innovation Center Network (EBN). He has worked in Indonesia and Zimbabwe as a senior expert in international cooperation projects aimed at business development and startup support. Previously he was Head of the Territorial Development Sector and Business Incubators of Sviluppo Basilicata SpA and Director of the Project Unit of the Chamber of Commerce of Potenza. Born in 1968, married with 2 sons, Vittorio graduated in Political Science with an International Political Course, at the Sapienza University of Rome. He then attained a Master’s Degree in Management of Innovation and Service Engineering at the S. Anna High School in Pisa and an Executive Master in Economy and Development Politics at LUISS University and Management School – Rome.
Anna Thomlinson has been immersed in operations within startups and in programs that support startups for many years. Today she is cofounder of a software platform tackling climate change in hydropower. She has worked for the past two years in startups at the stage of fundraising for Series A investment, and prior to this Anna was Managing Director Start it @KBC, Belgium’s largest and one of its oldest accelerators. Here her passion for supporting diversity led to her expanding the program to Czech Republic and Hungary and she grew the female entrepreneurship program to a nationally recognised level. Before this Anna was Program Manager of the MassChallenge (a large, global accelerator) London program and she spent a further five years delivering programs in the UK for accelerators, incubators, a government fund for startups and a university department for entrepreneurship. Her international experience gives her a great perspective for startups looking to do business across borders, and her work of selling to corporate teams whilst in accelerators gives her a strong understanding of how to facilitate corporate innovation needs, as a revenue generation activity to fund startup programs. Alongside her different roles in the European startup ecosystem, she has given guest lectures at several higher education institutions including at VUB in Brussels and Imperial College in London. She has also engaged in consulting roles to deliver sections of entrepreneurship courses or internal projects with Ciheam in Italy, Triveriance Fund in Luxembourg and Capital Enterprise in London.
Entrepreneur and coach, Aurelien was able to found a startup (MotionTribe) of which he was CEO and successfully raised capital (600k€ equity + 150k debt) and managed a team of 10 people. he expanded the B2B marketplace to 7 countries and successfully exited the company in 2019. His know-how and capabilities have been retained by the Start it @KBC accelerator in Brussels where he now coaches 20+ startups and scales ups by providing support to build their growth and by connecting them with the Belgian ecosystem of investors and corporates. He has worked in open innovation challenges that have supported Italian companies to find solutions to their problems by applying lean startup methodology and design-thinking techniques. Aurelien is trained in Agile methodologies, growth hacking and uses his various business experiences as sales, head-hunter, CEO and coach, to help startups and scaleups grow. He has worked as a video producer in Switzerland, South Africa and Belgium, delivering promotional content for the web and TV.
Dr. Jane Liu serves as Associate Dean (Industry-Academia Collaboration) and Director for the Chaoyang Business Incubation Center (CBIC) at Chaoyang University of Technology (CYUT) in Taiwan. She is well-experienced in business administration, project management, HR, Entrepreneurship Incubation and innovation. The CBIC is a dynamic and energetic incubator, where the customer has the highest priority. It shows energy, commitment to the client and the overall incubator’s mission is to enhance professionalism and willing to learn and to let the staff grow. A unique system of “student incubation volunteers” enables the incubator’s basic functions to be taken care of; it also introduces an international and entrepreneurial mindset in young university students. The CBIC has received many outstanding awards from the government. It was certificated with EU-BIC Quality Mark in Europe since 2012. It was ranked by UBI Global (Sweden) as No.2 of the World and No.1 of Asia-Pacific for University Incubators of 2015-2016.
M. Jouneidi Abderrazak (Tunisian, Resident in France) is an engineer, an international senior consultant, the founder of the Global Acumen S.A.R.L Tunisia-based consulting firm and a teacher at master’s level for the International Affairs Management Departments in several Business schools in Paris (EBS, EDC, etc). Mr. Abderrazak began his career in october 2000 in the Cabinet of the Ministry responsible for industry and SMEs in Tunisia as an engineer and director of economic and strategic studies where he was among the designers of industrial development policies, support for SMEs and d innovation in Tunisia. He began working as an international senior consultant, since 2014, he delivered support to a wide range of actors and international organizations in private sector development and business support policies. He specialized in supporting Business Support Organizations (BSO’s) in: Strategic planning, value chains development, access to international markets and development of entrepreneurship support services to startups and SMEs. Among the international organizations for which he has contractually worked, there are: GIZ (2020), OECD (2019), Swiss Contact Worldwide (2018), AFREC (2017), etc. He, thus, delivered support to dozens of Business Support Organizations in Africa. Academically, Mr. Abderrazak has an Agro-Engineer Diploma since June 2000, from a Tunisian University and devoted the year 2013 to obtain an MBA in Business Strategies from the ISC Business School of Paris (France), a professional Master 2 in Sustainable Development Engineering from Versailles SQY University (France) and an RNCP1 Professional Certification as a Consultant in Competitive Intelligence. Through his career, M. ABDERRAZAK developed a wide network especially in North Africa and France and achieves its consulting and/or training missions in French, English and Arabic.
Davide De Nicolò, with a degree in political science from the University of Bari, is a project manager and coach at the Tecnopolis Science and Technology Park, where he has been directly involved in the restructuring of its business support processes. As CPO, Davide is responsible for all Tecnopolis’ project-based operations. Among other things, he is responsible for the project area, director of the training department, and manager of the incubator. Davide has been working permanently at Tecnopolis since 2012, where he has been able to be responsible for numerous cross-border cooperation projects, giving him extensive experience of best practices in international business support. He has directly supported more than 50 start-ups by helping them develop business models and plans and by accompanying them in their first years of activity. Davide has managed numerous project management and business creation laboratories and is a professor on project management in a master’s degree program at the University of Bari. Previously, Davide worked for ARTI Puglia, the regional innovation agency, where he supervised the network of Industrial Liaison Offices (TTOs) and public research institutions. There he was responsible for the patent voucher and derivative cheque systems. Davide also collaborated with the University of Bari. As an external consultant, he mapped all the research activities of the departments. He worked for the Biosistema Puglia Node, a center of expertise of the University of Bari as a technology broker and was marketing director for a private company. Davide was the sole director of a 5-year limited liability company. Over the years, Davide has gained significant experience in technology transfer of research results, business creation, and incubator management.
Tom Strodtbeck is a mentor and advisor to startups, a pitch coach, and three times a company founder. Tom is the Cofounder of Global Growth Hub Ltd, which operates seed and growth acceleration programmes for promising technology startups and scale-ups from around the world. From 2005 to 2015, Tom was director of training and international programmes for the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA), a network of over 800 entrepreneurship programmes worldwide. During his ten-years at the association, Tom created NBIA’s flagship training programme, The Certificate Programme for Incubator Managers, and which has been delivered on every continent (save Antartica) and translated in Chinese, Spanish, Russian and French. In all, Tom has collaborated with incubators, accelerators, universities, governments and investors in over 30 countries. Past clients include the Global Accelerator Network, the European Investment Bank, the InfoComm Development Authority of Singapore, The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development in Abu Dhabi, Virginia Tech University, Re:Coded in Iraq, the GITEX Summit in Dubai, among many others. Tom is a visiting lecturer on entrepreneurship at Liverpool John Moores University, a Subject Matter Expert for the Brandery Accelerator in Cincinnati, Ohio USA, and is a founding board member of GEN UK, an affiliate of the Global Entrepreneurship Network.
Tom Mancuso guides the strategy, startup and operation of business incubators focused on job creation. Finding ways to recycle existing industrial and commercial buildings to provide financially independent entrepreneurial and artisan support programs is Tom’s specialty. His firm, Mancuso Management, Inc., manages almost two million square feet of business incubator and business development real estate. From 1981 to now, Tom has worked in a variety of communities of all sizes to fill millions of square feet of empty buildings with thousands of businesses that generate countless jobs. Tom is a licensed real estate professional with decades of experience selling, leasing & managing business incubator, industrial, office and commercial buildings for private and non-profit property owners. Former owner and operator of world’s original business incubator (Batavia Industrial Center, Batavia, NY USA). More than 2,700 businesses have been served by the 900,000 square foot incubator since 1959. Current affiliations include the Society of Industrial & Office Realtors (SIOR), International Business Innovation Association (INBIA), and the Business Incubator Association of New York State (BIANYS). Past community service includes publicly elected office (city council and council president), director of publicly traded company and many non-profit organizations. Professional recognitions include the President’s Award for Lifetime Achievements (INBIA), National Vocational-Technical Honor Society (Genesee Valley BOCES) and CICU Alumni Hall of Distinction (Commission of Independent Colleges and Universities)
Alexia Hengl is currently the legal expert at H&D Partners SRL and Legal and Compliance Partner at ENABEL. Her activity within H&D Partners was instrumental for the founding of the FlopAcademy (experiencing entrepreneurship), as she was involved in the co-design of the entrepreneurship program and in its testing and delivery within the Brussels Region. Furthermore, she has been the project manager ensuring the correct implementation and compliance of the Brussels-Region funded program that seeded the FlopAcademy in 2019. From 2013 Alexia has been ensuring implementation, compliance, and delivery of many EU projects, funded through many different programs of different DGs (Justice, Near, Devco, EAS) such as Erasmus, Erasmus+ and H2020 for both Eurochambres and other external clients of H&D Partners. She has been responsible for the preparation and set-up, review and negotiation of all contractual policies related to EU funded contracts and for the supervision of legal requirements and compliance with EU rules of all contracts.(i.e. structuring & implementation of all legal aspects, herein included agreements with the EU and other institutional and private partners, procurement procedures, partnership agreements). Alexia has also secured direct management of two projects funded by the European Union focusing on awareness-raising, standardization of civil and commercial mediation training and processes, and promotion of the use of civil and commercial mediation across Europe. Previously Alexia has worked within the City of Rome, where she directed the City Observatory on Working Conditions. Within that framework, she has gained wide experience in budget and human resource management, while supervising the compliance of the awarding processes of public procurement tenders to national and European legal requirements. Alexia is a qualified Lawyer and Mediator.
Monica Santalena is founder of the “100 000 entrepreneurs” association in Brussels, whose goal is to promote the entrepreneurial culture and mind-set in Belgian schools and youth. She manages a team of 6 people, leading and motivating staff following the principles of collective intelligence and supporting it through change. Over 10 years, the association has raised awareness among more than 60 000 students on entrepreneurship thanks the involvement of more than 3 000 entrepreneurs and 1 500 teachers and professors in 300 schools. She has wide experience in dealing with motivating and supporting female entrepreneurs and she has been the main promoter of the “women entrepreneurs’ week”, a yearly event which focuses on providing opportunities for launch and growth of startup ideas with women founders. She has wide experience of delivering measurable success in improving sustainability culture in education thanks to a network of entrepreneurs developing projects with a sustainable economic model and aiming to provide societal added value. Monica is an ecosystem builder and developed partnerships with the relevant stakeholders dealing with Environmental and Social sustainability to ensure maximum impact towards the students and potential entrepreneurs she is set to serve. She has been the main promoter of the annual event #Hacksterotypes which has become an unavoidable initiative to increase young people's awareness of female entrepreneurship, and to demonstrate how women can start businesses and find success.
M. Ilyas Azzioui holds an engineering degree in agronomy, a master's degree in management (Cycle Supérieur de Gestion-ISCAE) and a master's degree in innovation management and entrepreneurship from Manchester Business School, University of Manchester. He has taken several courses related to science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship management, and evaluation. After a year of experience as a sales engineer, he joined the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique (CNRST) in 2002. In 2017, he co-founded Mathscan, an innovative math education start-up targeting the Arab and Francophone markets in collaboration with a leading US research team in the field of intelligent math tutoring systems at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He led a national research program as well as international research cooperation programs from 2002 to 2006. He was a member of the Moroccan Incubation and Spin-off Network. He was a member of the Moroccan Network of Incubation and Spinoffs (RMIE) between 2005-2012. He is currently leading CNRST's innovation and technology transfer strategy, in addition to the FINCOME program aimed at promoting the contribution of the highly skilled Moroccan diaspora to Morocco's development. Mr. Azzioui has led and contributed to several studies and projects on marketing, incubation, entrepreneurship and innovation at the national and international levels. He has organized, contributed to and chaired numerous national and international workshops and conferences on research, innovation, business incubation and entrepreneurship issues. Within the MIRA project (EU funded INCONet project), Mr. AZZIOUI was the coordinator of the EMIS (Euro-Mediterranean Innovation Space) working group. He was the national correspondent of Erawatch (http://erawatch.jrc.ec.europa.eu), the European Commission's information platform on national and regional research and innovation systems and policies in Europe and third countries.