Meet the jury for the Brave Founder Beginnings Award

Gautam Chandna – the CEO & Co-Founder of TikkTalk, a platform that helps interpreters connect with customers. His grandparents migrated from Pakistan after India’s Independence, his parents migrated from India to the U.A.E, and then he migrated onwards to Norway where he has worked in the IT sector for over a decade. He has experience in writing code, managing teams and running businesses, and these skills help him build and operate his startup TikkTalk – which is breaking quality records by a factor of 4x.

Silvija Seres –  a mathematician and a technology investor.  She has worked on algorithm research in Oxford, development for the search engine Alta Vista in Palo Alto, strategic leadership in Fast Search and Transfer in Oslo and Boston, and later in Microsoft. She now works as a board member in several major companies such as the Oslo Stock Exchange and DNV-GL, and as an active investor in several startup companies.

Mathilde Byskov – Humanitarian Sales and Programme Manager at BRIGHT Products. BRIGHT is a Norwegian solar product company catering to anyone who needs to be less dependent on the electrical grid, whether by choice or by living in off-grid or bad-grid communities.

Ingi Rafn Sigurdsson – CEO and co-founder at Karolina Fund, a full-stack crowdfunding business solution for platforms, governments and companies. Managing director at the Reykjavik Arts Festival in 2014 and 2015. Founded reykjavikcornerstore.com, a design web store that became the 5th most re-pinned website in the world on Pinterest.

Maia Bix – the Research, Grants, and Administration Specialist at the Tent Partnership for Refugees, a global nonprofit mobilizing the private sector to improve the lives and livelihoods of the more than 20 million people forcibly displaced from their home countries. Maia previously worked at Venture for America, the Malala Fund, the Clinton Foundation, and the International Rescue Committee, where she tackled challenges pertaining to girls’ education and refugee education, women’s economic participation, and violence against girls and women. Maia has a BA in Political Science from Barnard College of Columbia University, where she led the establishment of the Ann and Andrew Tisch Scholarship for Refugee Women.

Valentina Primo – the founder of Startups Without Borders, a platform that supports and connects refugee and migrant entrepreneurs to resources to launch their businesses, wherever they are. Valentina has been involved in the Middle East’s entrepreneurial landscape since 2013, having launched Egypt’s largest platform on entrepreneurship, Startup Scene Middle East, in 2017. It was in Egypt, where she lived for 6 years, where she discovered how brave entrepreneurs across the Middle East are defying boundaries and taking the reins of their future, against the odds. It was by telling the stories of inspiring refugee entrepreneurs that Startups Without Borders was born.

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