Meet our Speakers


Since October 2006, Mrs. Claire Tillekaerts has been the general manager of Flanders Investment & Trade, the government agency supporting Flemish companies in their effort to deploy business internationally abroad and assisting foreign companies seeking to set up business or expand operations in Flanders, the northernmost region of Belgium. From May 1st 2012 on, she was appointed CEO of FIT by the government of Flanders.

Claire Tillekaerts has been an independent barrister at the Ghent Court of Law for 2 decades, along with a six year academic teaching commission at Ghent University.

In 2001, she was commissioned to establish the law department at the Hogeschool Gent, in a bid to bring about the merger with other centers of higher education, an assignment combined a.o. with that of advisor at the creation of the Ghent University Association and with establishing international research fundings.

Mrs. Claire Tillekaerts was born in Ghent, Flanders on 16 February 1957.  She holds a Master's degree in law and a postgraduate degree in Management Studies. Her main interests are languages and music.

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Mark Andries started his career at the University of Antwerp and the VEV (VoKa), the federation of companies in Flanders. He was the head of cabinet of Mr. Geert Bourgeois from 2004 until 2018. Mr Bourgeois was minister-president of Flanders from 2014 until 2019. Mark Andries was appointed CEO (administrator-general) of VLAIO (Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship) at 1 January 2018.

Since the merger between two former agencies in 2016, VLAIO is the executive agency of the government of Flanders for entrepreneurship, industry and innovation (2019: 350 employees, budget of 750 million euro). Main activities: grants, services and organization of the network of intermediary organizations stimulating innovation and entrepreneurship.

VLAIO has a pivotal role in the deployment of the economical and innovation policy (a regional competence in the Belgian system) and works closely together with FIT (Flanders Investment of Trade).


Conference Welcome Reception: October 8

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Merete Daniel Nielsen is the co-founder and co-director of Cluster Excellence Denmark and President of the global TCI Network. For the last 15 years, she has acted as an expert and leader in cluster and innovation projects at regional, national and international level mainly in Europe. Cluster Excellence Denmark was established with the aim of supporting Danish clusters on competence development, professionalisation and internationalisation.

Today Cluster Excellence Denmark is considered as the best practise on cluster support in Europe. Serving as President of the global TCI Network since October 2018, Merete is helping members from 110 countries around the world to improve their knowledge and competences on competitiveness, clusters and innovation. She is a frequent speaker at international conferences and has written widely on regional development, clusters and innovation.

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Tom Verbelen graduated in sociology and social work. At the start of his career he explored various fields in the social science and beyond, (theatre and television industry, detention centres,…). Joining the city administration late 1997, as manager of the public service offices of the city of Antwerp, and project leader for the founding and expansion of several new offices. At the start of the 2000s he added an active role as coordinator for Antwerp’s district management to his portfolio.

In 2007 Tom became business manager for the City Archives (FelixArchief) for a period of two years. In 2009 he became managing director of Antwerp’s Department of Governance Affairs (DGA), where he started his mandate with a reorganization aimed at preparing the department for a key role in the internal management of Antwerp’s civil administration. Since then, the DGA has taken up the role of central facilitator - the oil, so to speak, that keeps the other parts of Antwerp’s administrative machine running smoothly. The DGA also helps insure that the city administration’s internal organization remains optimally aligned with new developments in Belgian society and supports the administration’s ambitions for optimal procedural efficiency. That makes permanent awareness of best practices and trends in the fields of e-government, privacy, transparency and communication a crucial aspect of all DGA operations.

In 2013 Tom added the role of Information Security Consultant (ISC) and external relation management to his function as head of Antwerp’s Department of Governance Affairs. A combination he took on until the end of 2016.

By January 2017 Tom switched his mandate and  started as director external relations and international affairs for the city of Antwerp. This department acts as an ambassador for the city on a local, national and international level. External Relations connects Antwerp to its citizens and the world, organises networking and cultural events, liaises with diplomats, maintains a knowledge and expertise center, fosters existing partnerships and builds new ones. Its core objective is to help maintain and improve Antwerp’s international reputation based on five core values: trustworthiness, stability, personal attention, cultural sensitivity and transparency.

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Olivier Vanden Eynde founded Close the Gap, an international social enterprise, in 2001 as a spin-off at the Solvay Business School of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in Belgium. Close the Gap creates a win-win between companies and non-profits to provide affordable IT solutions to social projects in developing countries. Today, Close the Gap is considered one of three largest ICT suppliers worldwide for budget-limited not-for-profits in developing countries.

More and more Close the Gap is evolving as “digital for development” topic owner with new strategic programmes and initiatives, both in Africa and in Europe. As a social enterprise in Kenya, Close the Gap has secured private sector investments to further develop the ‘no aid but trade’ perspective on the ground in Africa. With the recently launched Innovation Hub in Mombasa, Close the Gap has set up the first ‘incubator’ for the coastal area in East Africa. This Hub is focused on three pillars: educate, innovate and manufacture, for tech-4-development entrepreneurs and their poverty-alleviation innovations. Moreover, Close the Gap has also established the Circular Economy Hub in Nairobi, an IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) business. To ensure the success of these recent extensions to the Close the Gap social enterprise ecosystem, Olivier Vanden Eynde and his family moved to Mombasa in the summer of 2019.

Also in Europe, the social enterprise position is enlarged as well, by acquiring an ITAD business in Belgium. With a production capacity of 100 000 IT devices/year, CTG Circular is now Close the Gap’s end-to-end supply chain that is in control of the whole process the computer equipment goes through: from the corporates in Europe to the end users in Africa, all with a social enterprise, and B-Corp model in mind.


Morning Keynote: October 9

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Richard Baldwin is Professor of International Economics at the Graduate Institute in Geneva. Before coming to Geneva, he was a Senior Staff Economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisors in the Bush (the Elder) Administration (1990-1991) following trade negotiations such as the Uruguay Round, NAFTA and numerous US-Japan trade disputes. He has been a visiting professor at Oxford and MIT, having started his academic career as a professor at the Columbia School of Business in New York.

His research interests include international trade, globalisation, regionalism, and European integration. His latest book, The Globotics Upheaval: Globalisation, Robotics and the Future of Work was published in 2019. His 2016 book, The Great Convergence: Information technology and the New Globalisation, was published by Harvard University Press in 2016, and nominated by the Financial Times and Economist for Best Books of 2016.

He wrote his PhD at MIT under the guidance of Paul Krugman, with whom he has co-author a half dozen articles. His MSc in economics is from LSE, his BA in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and he has three honorary doctorates.

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Koenraad Debackere is a professor of Technology and Innovation Management and Policy at the Faculty of Economics and Business of KU Leuven. He is managing director of KU Leuven Research and Development, the technology transfer organization of KU Leuven.

He chairs the board of Gemma Frisius Fonds, the seed fund of BNP Paribas Fortis, KBC and KU Leuven. He has been a board member of technology startups as well as established companies. He focuses on the technology dimension of corporate governance.


Morning Panel: October 9


Ifor Ffowcs-Williams, CEO, Cluster Navigators Ltd, New Zealand. Ifor is acknowledged as one of the most influential cluster practitioners in the world, with hands-on experience extending to over 50 countries. Ifor is a Founder, Past President and Member of the Board of Advisors of TCI Network.  He has been an advisor to The World Bank, EU, OECD, UNDP, international aid agencies and national & regional economic development agencies on six continents.

Ifor’s popular Cluster Development Handbook is the first comprehensive guide to the What? Why? and the How? of cluster engagement. Prior to establishing Cluster Navigators Ltd in 1997, Ifor was with New Zealand’s national export agency, encouraging SMEs to cooperate-to-compete through networking and clustering.


Jan Van Havenbergh, International Marketing, Sales and Communications Manager with over 25 years of expertise in the international Healthcare market, innovation and Chemical industry. Experienced in Strategic analysis of companies in a changing environment.

Market expertise, entrepreneur, having his own management consultant company, with good people management skills. Scientific background, with experience in chemical research and product development. Currently Managing Director of Catalisti vzw (former FISCH vzw), spearheadcluster for Chemistry & Plastics.


Frederik Loeckx is Managing Director of Flux50. He graduated in 1996 as electrical engineer at the University of Leuven with a master thesis on data security and public key infrastructures. In 2001, Frederik obtained a Master in Business Administration from the Vlerick Leuven Ghent Management School.

Frederik started his career at Utimaco, a data security specialist. Between 2002 and 2006, he worked as advisor on innovation strategy and innovation projects at the Flemish government. In 2006, Frederik Loeckx founded Triphase, a spin-off of the university of Leuven, operating internationally with research systems for smart energy systems and grew the company to 16 people on own accounts. Up to 2016, Frederik was CEO of the company. On behalf of Triphase, Frederik was founder and member of the board of Smart Grid Flanders, the predecessor of Flux50, for 6 years, as well as present in several innovation advisory groups in Flanders.

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Danny Van Himste has over 30 years strategic and operational experience in the logistics sector. He began his career with 10 years in a variety of roles at the Belgian retailer GB, now Carrefour. He then spent 5 years as European Logistics Director of Gates Europe before becoming Managing Director of Christian Salvesen Food & Consumer Mainland Europe Division in 2001.

Since 2007 he is CEO for DHL Express Belux. Danny is also Chairman of the Board of the Flemisch Institute of Logistics (VIL).


Jan Vander Stichele, Chairman of the Board of Directors Lotus Bakeries (since 2016). Has a Master in Civil Engineering (KU Leuven) and a Bachelor in Applied Economics (KU Leuven). He was technical director of the Verlipack Group. Since the end of 1996 he was active in the Lotus Bakeries Group as General Manager Lotus Bakeries France, thereafter as General Manager Operations and between 2011 and 2016 as Executive Director.

Chairman of Fevia, the Belgian Food Industry Association. Chairman of Flanders’Food, the Flemish Food Innovation Cluster. Member of the Committee of Directors at KULAK. Chairman of the Board of Directors at Team Industries. Member of the Board of Directors at TVH Parts, Beaulieu International Group and OLV Ziekenhuis Aalst.


Dirk Fransaer is Managing Director of VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research, the largest research institute in Belgium in the field of sustainable land use, sustainable energy (deep geothermal energy included), sustainable chemistry, sustainable health and sustainable materials. VITO counts more than 850 staff members with an available budget of more than 185 MEUR.

Prior to joining VITO he worked as an assistant professor at the university of Ghent in the field of hydraulics research, at Baxter, a large US pharmaceutical company, on artificial organs and for 13 years in the field of aerial and satellite remote sensing.

Dirk Fransaer is president of LIBOVITO, a 100 % daughter company in Beijing, president of the board of directors of VITO Middle East in Qatar, of VITO Arabia in Dubai, and of VITO Asia in Hong Kong. He is also member of the board of Von Karman Institute on fluid dynamics, president of the Audit Committee of the University of Antwerp, member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and Arts, and Honorary professor at KU Leuven.

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Karin Vercauteren (born 1967)  holds a PhD in chemistry.  She has been working in the chemical sector for more than 20 years . She has held national and international sales and marketing functions in different companies (1996-2006). She started at Agfa-Gevaert in 2006 as Category Manager Chemicals. In September 2013 she was appointed as Head of the Materials Technology Centre at Agfa-Gevaert.

The Materials Technology Centre (175 coworkers) is an open competence centre for materials R&D. She is also responsible for the SHERA department within Agfa-Gevaert. She has been appointed in 2018 as chairman of the cluster SIM.


Morning Speakers' Session: October 9

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Joan Martí Estévez' current occupation is Director of Cluster Unit at ACCIÓ, the Catalan Agency for Competitiveness, Catalonia Government. Currently, he's involved in 30 different clusters, for instance, the gourmet food, fashion, advanced materials, optics, beauty, railway or water. He's been a cluster practitioner for more than 15 years. Nowadays, he's working with more than 2.000 companies which are involved actively in the Catalan clusters. And is also the book author of "Clusters: winning strategies and teamwork" (2013). 

He's led international missions of cluster managers to Boston (2012), Israel (2013), Silicon Valley (2014), Québec (2015), Korea (2016), Singapore (2017) and New York (2018). As a cluster practitioner he's member of TCI network, and he's been a speaker in their International Congresses in Lyon (2006), Portland (2007), Cape Town (2008), Chihuahua (2008), Jyväskylä (2009), Delhi (2010), Auckland (2011), Euskadi (2012), Denmark (2013), Monterrey (2014), Korea (2015), Eindhoven (2016), Bogotà (2017) and Toronto (2018). He's also a TCI mentor on its mentoring program. He's been also a speaker in cluster conferences in Brussels, Brasil, Turkey, Mexico, Croatia, Poland, Ireland, Slovenia and Wales and has been teaching cluster strategy in several Business Schools and Universities.

Joan was born in Barcelona (26/01/1974). He’s a Degree on Economy and a Postgraduate in International Trade for the University of Barcelona.

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Göran Andersson has been part of the management team of the VINNVÄXT program at Vinnova since it started more than 16 years ago. It is the only nationally supported program for regional innovation hubs/clusters in Sweden today.

An area of special interest is how to design the program monitoring and evaluations as a part of a learning strategy. Göran Andersson is also a member of TCIs working group for evaluation.

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Glenn Gran is an expert on innovation managment. Currently he is reponsible for the Vinnväxt programme at Vinnova. The aim of the programme is to promote sustainable regional development by developing internationally competitive research and innovation clusters in specific growth fields. Among other reposibilities he is also working on developing needs-driven process- and innovation management support for increased impact during project-life-cycle. The overall purpuse is to strengthen collaboration (incl. local, regional, national and international cooperation); learning to eliminate silos structures in organisations and lock-ins in ecosystems; and leadership (competences, attributes and traits).

Prior to this, he was reponsible for the research grant development at Brunel Business School in London. As Director of the Entrepreneurship School at a center for virtual reality in Oman, his worked focused on running an incubation programme to support start-ups and equipping students with soft skills to foster new innovations in digital media. Mr. Gran has also managed projects in Malaysia and Egypt focusing on developing new learning and training approaches for fostering creativity and innovation and an entrepreneurial mindset, as well as addressing the special needs of start-ups, and how they can take advantage of business opportunities through cluster development. At the Global Trust Center, he was the Research Director, working on radical new solutions to improved ICT authentication and governance. He holds an MSc(Res) in Environmental Science from the University College London (UCL) and an MSc in Public Policy and Management from the University of Glasgow.

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Evgeniy Kutsenko is a nominee to the Board of TCI Network-2019. Since 2012, he has been running Russian Cluster Observatory, which he established at National Research University Higher School of Economics (a TCI Network member) in Moscow. Russian Cluster Observatory (RCO) is a cluster-specific research and consulting center, offering a wide-range expertise on cluster benchmarking, evaluation and policy design. Evgeniy and his team perform various activities from legal acts drafting to cluster managers training, from policymakers consulting to cluster mapping, and from cluster studies to delivering lectures on regional innovations and clustering within “STI Governance” Master Program. The RCO is also a single access point to data on clusters and cluster organizations throughout Russia. One of the RCO web-resources is Cluster Map of Russia, which is an online, free and user-friendly platform with relevant data on clusters countrywide (currently, there are 118 cluster initiatives on the map that make up a pool of RCO contacts, partners and clients).

Evgeniy has a fine blend of knowledge and expertise in cluster analysis, regional innovation ranking, institutional economy and economic history. He has successful experience in arranging large-scale international events to promote Russian clusters the world over (e.g. TCI Global Conferences, APEC-supported initiative on fostering international cluster cooperation in the Asia-Pacific), as well as academic and research background. Prior to obtaining a position at the Higher School of Economics, Evgeniy was involved in R&D projects and policy making for the Ministry for Economic Development of Russia, Ministry for Industry and Trade of Russia, Ministry for Education and Science of Russia, Ministry of Agriculture of Russia, Russian Venture Company, Moscow City Government, World Bank,  and several regional administrations.

Evgeniy holds a M.Sc. degree in corporate management, Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics, and a PhD degree in Economics and National Economy Management, Council for the Study of Productive Forces under Russian Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Economic Development (his thesis was in particular devoted to the analysis of cluster approach for a regional innovation policy).

Evgeniy lives with his wife and two children in Moscow.


Afternoon Keynote: October 9

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Ulla Engelmann is Head of Unit for Clusters, Social Economy and Entrepreneurship within DG GROW, the Directorate General being responsible for Internal market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, at the European Commission since March 2017. Previously, she worked at the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the in-house science service of European Commission, for many years in different functions.

She started in the JRC in Ispra (Italy) in 1993 as a post-doc in fusion research, and moved on to manage various units (communication, international relations, and others) in Ispra and Brussels. Dr Engelmann holds a PhD in analytical and radiochemistry completed at the National Research Centre in Karlsruhe. 

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Wim De Waele is General Manager of The Beacon. The Beacon is based out of Antwerp, Belgium, and is supporting an ecosystem of companies and research organizations in the domains of the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence, applied in smart logistics and mobility, industry and smart cities.

Wim De Waele obtained his master degrees in Economic Sciences and Computer Sciences at the University of Ghent in 1987. He started his career as scientific researcher at the university in the area of artificial intelligence in industrial applications. He applied this at Siemens and Numetrix before joining i2 In 1994 as Services Director for Europe, where he built the European organization. He was promoted to vice-president of consumer goods and retail, and moved to i2 headquarters in Dallas. Upon his return to Europe, Wim was the founder and Chief Executive Officer at iMinds (a digital technology research center which started in 2004 and that he grew to a 50 Mio Euro organization by 2015, now merged with IMEC). Under his management iMinds iStart incubator was rated one of the top 3 university business incubators, which got him nominated as one of the top 100 most influential accelerator leaders. He then moved on to become the CEO of the European fintech cluster B-Hive from 2016 tot 1018. Wim De Waele is also active as a business angel and sits on the boards of several companies.

He lives in his town of birth, Ghent, in Belgium. In his spare time he enjoys music, travel and culinary experiments carried out by himself.


Conference Dinner: October 9

© Maarten De Bouw

© Maarten De Bouw

Bart De Wever has been general chairman of the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) since 2004. He helped lay the foundations for the young party. He succeeded in his ambition to make the N-VA the ultimate people’s party of Flanders, which defends the common interests of all 6.5 million Flemish people.

Since 2004, he has served as a representative in several of the country’s parliaments, including the Senate. Since 2013, he has also been mayor of Antwerp, the largest city in Flanders.

Bart De Wever studied history and worked for a time as an assistant at KU Leuven. He is fascinated by the figure of Julius Caesar and possesses an almost inexhaustible knowledge of Ancient Rome. His Latin expressions are already legendary in Belgium. One example is ‘Nil Volentibus Arduum’: ‘Nothing is impossible for the willing’, which also subtly refers to his party’s name.

Bart De Wever has written editorials for various Flemish newspapers for years about social trends and events that preoccupied him. These have been bundled in several books, along with essays he has written. As an indisputable opinion maker, Bart is a particularly sought after speaker and participator in debates.


Morning Keynote: October 10


Robin De Cock is a professor of Entrepreneurship and the academic director of the master in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Antwerp Management School (AMS). He received his PhD from Ghent University and worked 3 years at Innovation and Entrepreneurship group of Imperial College London.

He is a member of the valorization board of VITO and advices start-ups and scale-up ventures at a regular basis. His research is focused on corporate entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial ecosystems and technology entrepreneurship. He presented his work at various top conferences around the world and published in leading entrepreneurship journals.

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Omar Mohout, Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Antwerp Management, is a former technology entrepreneur, a widely published technology author, C-level advisor to high growth startups as well as Fortune 500 companies, Entrepreneurship Fellow at Sirris and professor at the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management.

He is author of 'Pricing Strategies for Startups', 'The Belgian Startup Landscape', ‘Crowdfunding in Belgium’, ’99 reasons why startups fail’, ‘Corporate Venturing’ and the popular 'Startup Master Class series'. A contributing author to the ‘100 Days Digital Marketing Plan’ and ‘The Future of Business’ books.

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Denis Kovalevich is a co-founder and CEO of the largest Russian venture-building company “TechnoSpark” (Troitsk, Moscow) and board member of the four regional venture building funds (SBICs). From 2011 he is a member of the Governmental Expert Committee on Technological Development of the Russian economy.

He has more than 15 years of experience in technology entrepreneurship and strategic cluster development in high-tech, energy and nuclear industries, including top positions in Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation and Skolkovo Foundation. During the last 7 years he acted as a serial entrepreneur and created a cooperation with European partners like IMEC, Holst-center, KU Leuven, Solliance, venture capitalists and technology corporations.


Elvira Haezendonck is a full-time professor at the Solvay Business School of the Free University of Brussels (VUB) and a part-time professor at the Faculty Business and Economics of the University of Antwerp. She has more than 20 years of expertise in the strategic and policy aspects of competition and the role of infrastructure, as well as the evaluation of port projects and strategies, in particular in the areas of clustering and sustainability.

From 2010 to 2018 she was chair holder and co-promoter of the Public-Private Partnership (PPS) Chair at the VUB and since year she leads a chair in Infrastructure Asset Management. Her applied research, including in more than 50 research projects and numerous publications, aims primarily to be practical and policy relevant.

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Silvia Lenaerts is Vice rector Valorisation & Development at the University of Antwerp. She acquired hr PhD in Chemistry at IMEC and KULeuven on gas sensors. Formerly she was in charge of the gas sensor development at Heraeus Sensor-Nite and at Seghers Better Technology. She has also been working as lead assessor at Lloyd’s Register of Shipping. She continued as a pioneer by founding the research group DuEL, Sustainable Energy, Air and Water Technology, part of the Department of Bioscience Engineering at the University of Antwerp. DuEL focuses on photocatalysis, the conversion of photo-energy to chemical or electrical energy and circular air and water technology.

As Vice rector Valorisation & Development she connects the academic world to the business world. She strives towards the implementation of research results into society and vice versa translating the big challenges in society into research projects. Multidisciplinary teams working on projects in a quadruple helix approach in a vibrant ecosystem can create more impact. We want to bridge the gap by initiating open innovation hubs on priority domains, such as renewable energy and sustainable chemistry.


Afternoon Keynote: October 10

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Based in Stockholm, Christian Ketels engages with BCGs teams and clients globally, and works with several BCG partners and practice areas in a wide range of fields.

His research themes include the impact of structural changes in the global economy on business, from macroeconomic trends to global trade, the role of innovation, and the repercussions of changes in political and societal conditions. He has also deep expertise in developing growth strategies for countries and regions, and analyzing the strategic role of locational choice for companies.

Before joining BCG, Christian has been a member of the Harvard Business School for 17 years, where he led the research team at Michael Porter’s Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness. He was a Visiting Professor at the NUS Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, and had further affiliations with BI Norwegian School of Management, EBS Business School in Germany, and the Stockholm School of Economics. He has been an advisor to national governments and international organizations including the World Bank, the European Commission, and the Nordic Investment Bank, and a visiting researcher at the IMF. Christian chairs the advisory board of TCI, a global network of public and private organization active in cluster-based economic development, where he served as President from 2011 to 2018.

Christian holds a PhD in Economics from the London School of Economics and further degrees from the Kiel Institute for World Economics and Cologne University. He was awarded an Honorary PhD in Economics and Business Administration by Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland.

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisKetels and @BCGHenderson.


Afternoon Panel: October 10

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Marc Van Gastel, MBA heads the Invest Department at Flanders Investment and Trade, an autonomous agency of the Flemish Government (Belgium). It is responsible for the attraction and development of foreign investment in the Northern region of Belgium - Flanders. It develops sustainable relationships with foreign companies interested in investing in Flanders and provide on-going assistance to companies locating here, together with its sister-agencies and strategic partners. A range of services and incentives, including financial & structural modelling, funding and grants, are available to those considering foreign direct investment in Flanders. For companies already in the region, Flanders Investment & Trade assists in numerous matters, including plant expansions or export services. He is also one of the founders of Locate in Limburg and serves as Secretary on its Board of Directors.

Marc has acquired a Master’s Degree in Science, a Master’s Degree in Government Policy, a Postgraduate Certification in Economics and a Postgraduate degree in Computer Science. As parttime lectorer and Guest lecturer Marc has been teaching all his working life at several higher educational institutes, as Adjoint Professor at Vesalius College/VUB in Brussels and as Freelance Lecturer at the Antwerp Management School, the Universities of Hasselt, ULeuven, VUB, for Strategic Management, part-time lecturer at SYNTRA Antwerp, at the Vlerick Management School. The diverse topics include Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Government Policy, Investment Strategies, Corporate Finance, ERP, Business Intelligence and e-commerce. He features as a Guest Lecturer at several universities around the world. He has organised, moderated and conducted seminars in numerous countries and platforms around the world.


Piet Vandendriessche is the Chief Executive Officer of Deloitte Belgium. He first took up the position on 1 June 2016. As CEO, Piet leads and manages the Executive Committee and sets the strategic direction of the firm. He is also a member of the Deloitte North South European Executive.

Piet believes strongly in the impact Deloitte can create for its clients and talent, and for society as a whole. Our strategic professionals stay abreast of the changes shaping our world and bring innovative and sustainable solutions to our clients. Similarly, through the Deloitte Foundation the firm supports a wide range of social projects in Belgium and abroad. These focus on education, innovation and entrepreneurship – areas that make the best use of our skills.  In a long career at Deloitte with many opportunities to grow, Piet attaches great importance to maintaining a transparent, dynamic environment that provides people with plenty of room for personal and professional advancement.

Marco A. Llinas is the Vice President for Competitiveness at the Bogota Chamber of Commerce, where he leads a cluster-based development agenda for Bogota-region that currently includes 15 cluster initiatives, articulated with a Research & Innovation Smart Specialization Strategy (RIS3) for Bogota-Cundinamarca.

Formerly, as Vice President at the Colombian Private Council on Competitiveness, he was one of the leading voices behind the definition and implementation of Colombia’s National Competitiveness Agenda, which included, among others, the following areas: modern industrial policy; science, technology, and innovation policy; and cluster-based development agendas. He started and led the Colombian Cluster Network (Red Cluster Colombia -, which aims at articulating the more than 80 cluster initiatives around the country, in order to exchange best practices as well as create synergies between them. He was Risk Management Director at the National Federation of Coffee Growers and a negotiator for the Colombia-US Free Trade Agreement. He holds a Master in Public Administration in International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School, as well as a Master in Economics and a BS in Industrial Engineering from Los Andes University.

He is currently a Board Member to the TCI Network Board of Directors. The Competitiveness Institute (TCI -, is the most important international network for clusters and competitiveness practitioners and policymakers, with over 400 members around the world. It is worth mentioning that this year Bogota will be hosting in November TCI’s 20th Global Conference, where the city and Colombia as a whole will be able to show what they are doing in terms of local development efforts and productive development policies.

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Tracy Scott-Rimington is an economic developer and cluster expert and was appointed to the TCI Board of Directors in November 2015. She coordinated the hosting of the TCI 2002 Global Conference in Cairns, Australia. She works with Regional Development Australia's Brisbane office, facilitating the internationalisation of the region's high value knowledge based clusters and supports the formation of national clusters for competitiveness.

Tracy is Chair of the TCI Oceania Chapter and with the help of other TCI Oceania members, convenes the annual TCI Oceania conference to raise awareness of the value of a cluster approach for economic competitiveness.