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Visiting entrepreneur program: event program and speaker bios

Interested in clean tech? Join global leaders as they discuss the intersection of technology, environmental sustainability and the green economy.

The 2020 entrepreneurs include Robyn Denholm, Board Chair, Tesla, Danny Kennedy, CEO, New Energy Nexus and Shama Sukul Lee, founder and CEO, Sunfed.

Event program

In conversation with Robyn Denholm, Board Chair, Tesla

Wednesday 10 June 12.30pm to 1.30pm Sydney time

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Robyn Denholm will virtually sit down with Holly Ransom to discuss technology's role in sustainable energy and how we’ll look to new technologies to rebuild. Tesla’s focus is accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy to reduce emissions across an entire ecosystem. For Robyn, ambitious goals go hand in hand with moving the whole industry forward.

About Robyn Denholm, Board Chair, Tesla

In November 2018, Tesla’s board of directors appointed Robyn Denholm to serve as the independent chair, having considered her strong leadership, independent presence, and financial and business expertise since she joined the board in 2014 as an independent director. Her global experience encompasses leadership roles across a range of technology companies, including Telstra, Juniper Networks, and Sun Microsystems.

Most recently, Robyn served as chief financial officer and head of strategy of Telstra, where she also served as its chief operations officer. She’s widely credited with leading a team that drove significant increases in Juniper’s revenues, overseeing its corporate transformation during her 9-year tenure as chief financial and operations officer. Her experience also includes finance management roles in the automotive industry while at Toyota Motor Corporation Australia for 7 years.

She is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia and holds a Bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Sydney and a Master's degree in commerce from the University of NSW.

Asia’s clean tech transition: Opportunity for Australia

Thursday 11 June 9am to 10am Sydney time

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As the world looks to a more sustainable future, interest in clean technologies has risen sharply. Australian clean tech companies are well positioned to lead the clean energy transition. South-east Asia offers many opportunities in the transformation of industries towards a more digitised, decarbonised and resource-efficient future. Danny Kennedy, CEO of New Energy Nexus leads a panel discussion about the burgeoning clean tech market and the export opportunity this presents for a new breed of businesses.

Going green: the new economy

Wednesday 17 June 9am to 10am Sydney time

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What is green finance and how might going green be the best way to fire up Australia's economy?

There were indications pre-pandemic of a shift towards this new economy. As the economy restarts, clean energy will be more vital than ever. Holly Ransom speaks with Danny Kennedy, CEO, New Energy Nexus, and a panel of local experts about Australia’s green economic potential and how Sydney can leverage its strengths to lead this space.

About Danny Kennedy, CEO, New Energy Nexus

New Energy Nexus connects entrepreneurs to capital to build an abundant clean energy economy that benefits all. The company is a global platform for funds and incubators, with chapters in the US, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Uganda and India. He acts as managing director of the California Clean Energy Fund. This includes overseeing the CalSEED fund of $25m for very early stage companies driving innovation and building equity in the California economy and the $12m CalTestBed project with UCOP. He advises Young Greentech Entrepreneurs in China with the Asia Society. Danny also serves as president of CalCharge, a public-private partnership with DoE National Labs, universities in California, unions and companies, working to advance energy storage.

Danny co-founded Sungevity in 2007, the company that created remote solar design, and Powerhouse, an incubator and fund in California. He was the first backer of Mosaic in 2011, the $1b solar loan provider, and remains on the board of Powerhive, a solar mini-utility in Kenya. He was a founding director of Sunergise, the solar-as-a-service business in Fiji and the EnergyLab Australia. He is also a director of the non-profits Power for All and Confluence Philanthropy, and adviser to the company Solar Philippines. Danny authored Rooftop Revolution: How solar power can save our economy – and our planet – from dirty energy in 2012. Prior to being an entrepreneur and investor, he worked at Greenpeace and other non-government organisations on climate and energy since 1989.

The future of food: How entrepreneurs are innovating to feed the world

Thursday 18 June 6pm to7.30pm Sydney time

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According to the CSIRO, we’ll consume as much food in the next 4 decades as we did in the past few hundred years. This represents around a 70% increase in production by 2050. But that increase has come at a significant cost to the environment that isn’t sustainable.

How will food and agritech entrepreneurs meet the needs of a growing global population, while also committing to sustainable growth? Hear how groundbreaking innovators tackle our growing food and environmental crisis.

The hardware code: Deciphering for success

Wednesday 24 June 12.30pm to 1.30pm

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Shama Sukul Lee, founder and CEO at Sunfed, is reimagining the food system, starting with meat. A software engineer turned food industry disruptor from New Zealand, her breakthrough startup uses clean technology to make delectable meat without the animal. Shama believes changes in the food system can significantly transform the world - the better the food system, the better the wellbeing of all life. Hear about her founder journey, building a product-led engineering business and the plans for leading in this growing market.

About Shama Sukul Lee, Founder and CEO Sunfed

A software engineer turned food technology entrepreneur, Shama Sukul Lee is reimagining the food system, starting with meat. Sunfed is a next-generation protein company using proprietary processes and custom hardware to make clean lean proteins that cook, feel, and taste just like animal meat. In 2018, Sunfed raised NZ $10 million ($9.38 million) in funding to lead the charge towards a solar-powered planet.