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11 Powerhouse Speakers Not to Miss at Startups Without Borders Summit 2020

The second edition of the SWB Summit has over 70 speakers, but we've whittled them down to a quite excellenet eleven.

After making a splash with its maiden edition last year, the Startups Without Borders Summit is back on November 14th and - despite the many restrictions enforced by the pandemic – it’s shaping up to be even bigger and better. Like much of the ecosystem, SWB has been forced to adjust, but under the guidance of founder, Valentina Primo, the summit isn’t simply making the best of a bad situation. It’s using these most straining of circumstances to its benefits, setting up three stages in three different continents for a bumper line-up of speakers in a hybrid online/offline event. In fact, the summit directly addresses what has been a difficult and uncertain year, with the theme being ‘Brave New World’ and the concept of the ‘new normal’ running deep throughout the summit’s activities.

You can find out what else is going on at SWB 2020 here, but we’ve gathered you here today for exactly 11 reasons.

Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands
Yes ladies and gentleman, a full-on bona-fide prince will be sweeping into SWB, though probably not on a white horse. The prince isn't there just for show, however. As part of the envoy at tech accelerator, TechLeap.NL, and the founder of the Netherlands’ biggest entrepreneurial event, Startup Fest Europe, Prince Constantijn is in a better position than most to represent the ecosystem in the Netherlands. He also happens to be Director Digital Technology & Macro Strategy at Macro Advisory Partners and Edge Fellow at Deloitte Centre for the Edge, where he advises companies and the European Commission on their digital innovation strategies. In short, this is a man in the know.

Anja Monrad, Senior VP and General Manager at Dell Technologies
If Anja Monrad position at tech giant, Dell, doesn’t impress you, then maybe her additional positions as Chair of Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition’s Governing board and a Board member at DigitalEurope will. With over three decades of experience in her locker, Monrad stands as one of the most influential women in tech today, a captain of industry if ever we’ve come across one. At SWB, she’ll be taking to the stage for a talk titled ‘Leadership in the New Normal’.

Ramez T. Shehadi, Managing Director of Facebook MENA
As MD of Facebook MENA, Ramez T. Shihadi has led the line in the tech giant’s portfolio of apps, services and initiatives. What he also brings to the table, however, is years of knowhow in scaling and running regional global lines of businesses and cross-industry portfolios for some of the world’s top consulting firms, most notably at Booz Allen Hamilton, where he serves as a Senior Partner. Shehadi’s resume is also littered with work in social responsibility, as he also sits on the boards of several NGOs around the world, while also serving as a fellow and moderator for the Aspen Institute's Leadership Initiative. Xxxx

Lauren Maillian, CEO of DigitalUndivided
Many point to the fact that Lauren Maillian was the first black woman to launch an early-stage venture capital fund as her most notable achievement. One could also argue, however, that her role as founding partner and managing director at Gen Y Capital Partners is but a fraction of her ongoing efforts to push diversity and inclusion. She is currently the CEO of DigitalUndivided, a social startup that backs black and Latinox female entrepreneurs by leveraging data and advocacy. She’s also the CEO of LMB Group, a strategic marketing and brand advisory firm that seeks to drive innovation in consumer connection. Oh, and she’s also a bestselling author, with her memoir The Path Redefined: Getting to the Top on Your Own Terms, which has become a bible to female entrepreneurs of all kinds. Her fireside chat, ‘How to Turn Being Overlooked into Your Biggest Asset’, is certainly one not to miss.

Tey El-Rjula, Author of The Invisible SonOne of the most unique speakers of this year’s SWB comes in the form of Syrian entrepreneur and inspiration to refugee entrepreneurs, Tey El-Rjula. Coming into the summit on the heels of the release of his book The Invisible Son, El-Rjula’s story is as inspiring as they come. The book narrates the blockchain entrepreneur’s long road to success, one that took him through five refugee camps, during which he conceived the digital ID system that he would go on to co-found as award-winning startup, Tykn. A highlight among highlights.

Sharif El-Badawi, CO-founder Plus Venture Capital
While known to many an entrepreneur as a Managing Partner of 500 Startups MENA and for leading its Falcons I fund, Sharif El-Badawi has been the talk of the town this year after leaving 500 Startups to co-found new seed-stage investment firm, Plus VC. An ardent supporter of entrepreneurs in MENA and Arab diaspora, El-Badawi is himself a serial entrepreneur and technologist, giving him a unique view of the ecosystem as a whole.

Christie Pitts, General Partner at Backstage Capital
Women, POC and LGBTQ entrepreneurs are underrepresented segments of the ecosystem that Christie Pitts knows all about in her role as General Partner at US VC, Backstage Capital. With these marginalised members of the ecosystem accounting for less than 10% of all venture capital deals, Pitts has made it her mission to change that and Backstage Capital has completed 140 investments that work towards that goal. In fact, Pitts is neckdeep in the cause as the co-founder of Backstage Studio, where she spearheads a special accelerator program that has supported over 80 startups founded by underrepresented entrepreneurs.

Maha Abouelenein, Founder of Digital & Savvy
From heading communications at Google MENA, to sitting as CVO and Executive VP of Business Development at VaynerX, Maha Abouelenein is a tour de force, who further cemented her position as something of a guru boss-lady her Digital & Savvy podcast. The Egyptian-American expert will be honing her years of expert communications experience in the talk, ‘Mastering Media Relations When the World is Not Paying Attention’.

Anthony Rose, Co-founder and CEO of SeedLegals
Considered by some as the saviour of the BBC after spearheading the launch of the BBC iPlayer, Anthony Rose is a larger-than-life, primetime kind-of-guy, who has been hailed as a tech and product visionary who has worked in everything from 3D graphics and internet video, to P2P music and social TV. He is currently the CEO of SeedLegals, a ground-breaking legaltech platform he co-founded in 2016 that acts as one-stop-shop for all the legal needs of startups and investors alike.  The jack-of-all-trades will be drawing on his eclectic background for a fireside chat named, ‘Cutting Through the Noise: Getting People to Use Your Product.

Karim Samra, Co-Founder of Changelabs
If there’s anyone with more fingers in pies across MENA right now than Karim Samra, then we haven’t met them. You see, to call Changelabs a startup accelerator would be doing co-founder Samra and his team great disservice. Working everywhere from North Africa to the Levant, and a few more places in between, Samra and co. are on the cusp of a huge year in which they are set to launch a host of ground-breaking programmes and initiatives. Look closer, however, and you'll see that Samra's impassioned goal of serving communities and individuals, rather than corporations, makes him one of the most interesting figures in the MENA ecosystem right now. He has backed, helped launch and sparked the wick for some of the most innovative entrepreneurs and startups and will bring years of experience and knowhow to the panel, ‘Re-imagining Trillion Dollar Businesses: The Disruptions That Will Define the Post-Pandemic World’.

Eamonn Carey, Managing Director at Techstars London
Having invested in over 60 startups and worked as a mentor on several accelerator programs in Europe, the US, MENA and Asia, Eamonn Carey is another SWB speaker that has a uniquely broad and deep viewpoint of the entrepreneurial landscape. As the Manging Director of Techstars London and a partner at The Fund, Carey has been drafted in to take to the stage at some of the biggest conference around the world, including Web Summit, Collision, SXSW, Mobile World Congress, Slush, Slush Tokyo, Pioneers, Tech Open Air, the Pirate Summit, Arabnet, GITEX, the Global Apps Summit and the Mobile Games Forum. He can now add the Startups Without Borders Summit to his resume, where he will deliver a talk, 'How to Build a Product People Love - Even in Lockdown'.

This is, of course, but a fraction of the 70-plus speakers taking part in this year’s Startup Without Borders Summit. Head to the official SWB website for more, where you can also secure your ticket.




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