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Keynote speakers


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Professor Scott Shane


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

Scott Shane has written extensively about entrepreneurship and innovation. His book Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths That Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live by (Yale University Press, 2008) was one of the top ten business books of the year for Amazon.com. His 2005 book Finding Fertile Ground: Identifying Extraordinary Opportunities for New Businesses won the 2006 Golden Book Award for best business book of the year and has been translated into eight languages.

The author of numerous scholarly articles and books about many aspects of entrepreneurship, Shane was the 2009 winner of the Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research, the most prestigious award in this academic field. Shane has also written extensively for popular audiences, currently penning regular columns the Entrepreneur small business website. He has been a frequent commentator on television programs, appearing on CNN and Fox Business, and he has been a guest on dozens of radio talk shows across the globe.

After faculty stints at the University of Maryland, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Georgia Institute of Technology, Shane is currently the A. Malachi Mixon III Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University and a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

Dr. Shane has been nominated for the Wittke Award for best undergraduate teacher at Case Western Reserve University and twice for the Weatherhead School Teaching Excellence Award. He has taught in executive education programs in China, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Shane received his A.B. at Brown University and his PhD in applied economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Born in 1964, he lives in Shaker Heights, Ohio, where, in addition to his academic position, he is an active angel investor with the Northcoast Angel Fund.

Professor John Bessant


Chair in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Exeter University, UK and author of the teaching, learning and practice bible "Managing Innovation"

Originally a chemical engineer, Professor John Bessant has been active in research, teaching and consultancy in technology and innovation management for over 25 years. He has authored more than 20 books and monographs on the topic, of which most recently Managing Innovation (5th edition, 2013), Strategic Innovation Management (1st edition 2014) and Innovation & Entrepreneurship (2nd edition 2011).

He currently holds the Chair in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Exeter University where he is also Research Director. In 2003, he was awarded a Fellowship with the Advanced Institute for Management Research and was also elected a Fellow of the British Academy of Management. He served on the Business and Management Panel of both the 2001 and 2008 Research Assessment Exercises. He has acted as advisor to various national governments and to international bodies including the United Nations, The World Bank and the OECD.


Dr. Lena Christiaans


Head of Corporate Employer Branding at Henkel

During her academic and professional career, Dr. Christiaans gained expertise in the fields of talent attraction, employer branding and communications. After working as a research fellow and employer branding consultant, she joined Henkel in 2011. She held several positions in the Corporate Communications department, before switching to Human Resources, where she now heads the global Corporate Employer Branding team. Her areas of responsibility include university relations, employer branding strategy, research, and communication.

Dr. Christiaans received her PhD from Hohenheim University, Stuttgart, Germany. Besides her monograph “International Employer Brand Management”, she has published several scholarly articles on employer branding and talent attraction.


Dr. Manfred Meier


Head of the department “University Cooperation” at AutoUni of Volkswagen AG

Since 1987 Dr. Meier held several positions in the Volkswagen Group. Amongst these the position of Head of Office of Volkswagen`s Liaison office to the EU in Brussels.

Since 2013 he heads the department “university cooperation” in the Volkswagen AutoUni. Beside this he is responsible for the co-ordination of EU funded and national research projects in Volkswagen Group Research. Amongst others he is also member of EUCAR (European Council for Automotive Research and Development) and member of the working group “EU research and innovation politics” of the German BDI.



Dr. Natascha Eckert


Department Head University and Research Cooperation at SIEMENS

Information following soon.


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