Meet the speakers

Corinne Cahen

Minister for Family Affairs and Integration – Minister for the Greater Region

Education and qualifications
Following her secondary school studies at the Athénée de Luxembourg, Corinne Cahen pursued a higher education at the Université des sciences humaines de Strasbourg from 1992 to 1995, where she was awarded a degree in applied foreign languages (specialised translation). She then studied at the Université Nice Sophia Antipolis from 1995 to 1996, where she was awarded a master’s degree in applied foreign languages, in the business and commerce section. She completed her higher education with a DESS (post-graduate diploma of specialised studies) in bilingual French-English journalism from the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3 in 1997.

Governmental posts
Following the legislative elections of 20 October 2013, Corinne Cahen was elected to Parliament. She joined the government as Minister for Family Affairs and Integration, and as Minister for the Greater Region on 4 December 2013 in the coalition government formed by the Democratic Party (DP), the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party (LSAP) and the Green Party (déi gréng).

After the legislative elections of 14 October 2018, Corinne Cahen was appointed Minister for Family Affairs and Integration, and Minister for the Greater Region on 5 December 2018 in the coalition government formed by the DP, the LSAP and déi gréng.

Other political posts
Since November 2015, Corinne Cahen has assumed the role
of chairwoman of the DP.<

Professional activities
As part of her studies, Corinne Cahen gained professional experience in the field of journalism, particularly with RTL Hei Elei Kuck Elei (now RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg), Eldoradio, Radio régionale Nice-Côte d’Azur, Radio France Internationale and Agence France Presse.

From 1995 to 2001, she worked for RTL Radio Lëtzebuerg, initially as a correspondent in France for current political, economic, legal and sports affairs, then as a political, economic and legal presenter and reporter in Luxembourg.
From 2001 to 2004, she worked as a freelance journalist for RTL Radio and Télé Lëtzebuerg.

Manager of a shoe shop in Luxembourg City from 2001 to 2013, Corinne Cahen chaired the Commercial Union of Luxembourg City from 2008 to 2012 and was an elected member of the Chamber of Commerce from 2009 to 2013.

Prof. Dr. Stéphane Pallage

Rector of the University of Luxembourg

Prof. Dr. Stéphane Pallage is the rector of  the University of Luxembourg and full professor in Economics. He heads the rectorate and is responsible for developing the overall University strategy and institutional policies.  His responsibilities also include fundraising, international relations, statistics and communications. Stéphane Pallage holds a Master’s degree in Industrial Administration (Finance) and a Ph.D. in economics from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, USA. Prior to joining the University of Luxembourg, he was professor in economics at the University of Quebec in Montréal (UQAM), where he worked extensively on applied macroeconomics, dynamic general equilibrium models, international aid, and the fight against child labour. From 2013 to 2017, he was the Dean of the School of Management at UQAM.

Dr. Werner Hoyer

Dr. Werner Hoyer – President of the European Investment Bank

Werner Hoyer has been President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the European Investment Bank since 2012. He was Deputy Foreign Minister at the German Foreign Office between 2009 and 2011 after having been Deputy Chairman and Foreign Affairs Spokesman of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) between 2002 and 2009. He also was a Member of the German Bundestag between 1987 and 2011, Deputy Foreign Minister at the German Foreign Office between 1994-1998 and President of the European Liberal Democratic Reform Party (EDLR) between 2000 and 2005. Dr Hoyer holds a PhD (economics) from Cologne University where he also started his career, as senior research assistant then as associate lecturer, before becoming Director of Economics and Information (Carl Duisberg Society) in 1985.


Céline Gruffat

Policy officer Innovation – start-ups, Directorate general for Enterprise (DGE), Ministry of the Economy and Finance (France)

Céline works for the Directorate General for Enterprise in the Ministery for Economy and Finance where she is in charge of pro start-ups policies, talent attractiveness and training policies. Prior to joining the Ministery, she worked as an economist for the Secretary General of the Employment Advisory Council to the Prime Minister.

Her main areas of expertise are : automation and the labour market, the future of work, local economic development and innovation policies.

Dr. Ralf Sänger

Head of Competence Center of Migrant Entrepreneurship

Dr. Ralf Sänger studied political science and modern history. In his dissertation “Portugal’s Long Path to Europe” he examined the political, economic and social development of Portugal in the 20th century. After completing his doctorate, he worked for several years at Justus-Liebig University in Giessen, specialising in “Europe of the Regions” and “Local Labour Market Policy”. After moving to the Institute for Social Pedagogical Research Mainz e.V., he focused on the “transition from school to work” in a national and international comparison. In 2005 he initiated the first youth employment agency in the city of Mainz.
In addition, he has been working in the field of entrepreneurship since the beginning of the 2000s and has since 2011 managed the Competence Center of Migrant Entrepreneurship in the nationwide network “Integration through Qualification”. The Competence Center prepares studies on the migrant economy and develops concepts and instruments for counselling institutions.

Prof. Dafna Schwartz

Head of the entrepreneurial management specialization – Interdisciplinary Center (IDC)- Herzliya- Israel

Prof. Dafna Schwartz joined the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya, Israel in October 2017. She is the head of the entrepreneurial management specialization, at Adelson School of Entrepreneurship, IDC.

Prior to joining IDC she was a professor at Ben Gurion University (BGU), where she initiated and headed programs in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship. She established the “Entrepreneurship, Innovation and High-Tech Management” track at the Department of Business Administration (MBA) and headed the program since its establishment. She led the “Bengis Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation” since its establishment (2000), first as the Director and later on as the Director and Chairperson. She was a member of the Executive Committee of BGU and Senate representative to the Board of Trustees

Her specialization areas are: Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Economic and Business Development, High-Tech Industry, Start-ups, SME’s, and Regional and Local Economic Development.

She is an economic consultant and has been involved in economic consulting, research and projects in Israel and abroad with leading national and international organizations (EU, World Bank, governmental entities and others) in countries such as: Brazil, China, India, Guatemala, Kenya, Angola, Paraguay and others.

She has extensive experience as a board member of many leading Israeli corporations.

She is a member of the Advisory Council of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to help formulate policy and strategy for its Department for International Development Cooperation – MASHAV. She was previously, among other,  a member of:  the Israel National Council for Research and Development;  of the Committee for the Prime Minister’s Prize for Entrepreneurship & Innovation; a member of the EU Expert Group on “Policy Relevant Research on Entrepreneurship and SME’s” ,European  Commission, Enterprise and Industry Director General and a member of  the Fifth European Framework Program Expert Advisory Group on Improving the Socio-Economic Knowledge Base, European Commission, Science, Research & Development.

In 2014 she was nominated as an honorary member of ACS – Cearense Academy of Science, Brazil

She was nominated as one of the 100 most influential people of the Israel economy for the year 2011 by the Israeli economic newspaper TheMarker. In 1996 was nominated as a “Globes Career Woman of 1996” in the field of economics.

Prior to joining  BGU during 1994-1999, she was the CEO (Director General) of the Development Study Center, an institution engaged in research and training activities related to economic and regional development in Israel and developing countries.

She received a B.A. in Economics from Tel-Aviv University, a M.Sc. from the Hebrew University and a Ph.D. in Economics from the Hebrew University. She was Visiting Scholar at Harvard University (July-August, 1991), Center for Jewish Studies.

Jean-Michel Ludwig

Director Start-up and SME Performance  – Luxinnovation

An international business management graduate in 1998, Jean-Michel had his first professional experience (4 years) as project officer in a German consultancy company involved in European R&D project management.

He joined Luxinnovation, the Luxembourg agency for innovation and research, in January 2002 to develop dedicated support services for companies and research organisations.

In March 2015 he was appointed of Director (Start-up and SME Performance 2015-2018 ; Business Development 2019-to date) while completing an Executive MBA at ICN Business School (2014-2016).

Since 2009 He has been delivering various classes at the University of Strasbourg and within ICN Business School on International Project Management, Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Guylaine Bouquet-Hanus

Business Manager – House of Entrepreneurship

Over the last nine years, Guylaine has working on the implementation of support measures for Luxembourg-based SMEs. She has been responsible for driving awareness among key stakeholders by developing the strategic framework for branding, events and communications of the Entrepreneurship Department of the Chamber of Commerce, addressing the latest issues and insights affecting local entrepreneurs.
Her core mission within the House of Entrepreneurship is the operational & strategic management of the national point of contact for entrepreneurs in Luxembourg (one-stop stop).


Michele Gallo

Director ICT Coordination – Ministry of Economy

Michele is coordinating the activities of the Ministry of the Economy in the field of ICT. He is also in charge of public funding for young innovative enterprises and of supporting the development of the Luxembourg start-up ecosystem.

After starting his career in London with Sardis Capital, a boutique investment bank focused on M&A and private placements within the High Tech sector, he joined the Corporate Finance Advisory team of KPMG in Luxembourg, where he specialised on company valuations. Before joining the Ministry of Economy Michele worked for Luxinnovation, Luxembourg’s National Agency for Innovation, where he led the Start-ups support department.

Michele serves as Chairmen of the Board of Technoport S.A., Luxembourg’s national incubator for technology start-ups and he is a member of the Investor Committee of the Digital Tech Fund, a venture capital fund investing in Luxembourg based early stage Start-ups active in the ICT sector.

Michele holds a MEng in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College London and a Master in European Business from ESCP Europe in Paris.

Martin Guerin

CEO of the Luxembourg-City Incubator
At 49 years old, Martin Guérin’s professional career of more than 25 years has enabled him to develop expertise in marketing and commercialization of innovation, in entrepreneurship, business development and project management with an international dimension.He has successfully supported several hundred startup executives in launching their business. He is also the founder of four startup incubators/accelerators and has contributed to the creation of dozens of others.

Globe-trotter from 17 years old

After several years of study abroad, including in Great Britain, Germany, Italy and the United States, he obtained his French scientific baccalaureate in 1990 and his diploma from the Normandy School of Management, with a specialization in Entrepreneurship, in 1995. Martin Guérin then spent 5 years with major innovative industrial groups (Motorola and Sony) followed by 5 years at the head of his own startups, before devoting himself to the success of others.

Self Development, contribution to the development of its ecosystem

As ICF Certified Coach and determined to contribute to the economic development of his city and country, Martin Guérin created his first startup incubator within Paris&Co in 2004, followed by another in 2008 and a last one in 2010. In 2013, he designs a collective support program for the 250 start-ups hosted by Paris&Co. He has also collaborated with numerous incubators and accelerators in Paris at the time of their launch (Agoranov, Numa, 50 Partners…). Finally, he has taught entrepreneurship in several leading business schools and trained many professionals in the support of start-ups through the RETIS Innovation Network.

Developing innovation in Paris, France and Europe

In 2016, he joined Luxembourg with the aim of helping to turn this country into a real “startup nation”. He takes over the management of Nyuko, the first startup accelerator in the Grand Duchy, and is then appointed CEO of the Luxembourg-City Incubator, one of the three major incubators in the country, supported by the Chamber of Commerce and the City of Luxembourg. Martin Guérin also contributed to the creation of the University of Luxembourg’s startup incubator, two mentoring programs, a fundraising service and two business clubs connecting large innovative companies in an open innovation approach. Finally, as a private Business Angel, he also participates in numerous conferences and events. His mastery of 5 languages, his technical knowledge, his sound experience and his excellent interpersonal skills bring a much appreciated added value to innovative projects with an international and intercultural component.

Stéphanie Damgé

CEO of Jonk Entrepreneuren Luxembourg

Stéphanie Damgé has a degree in work sociology and in business management. She joined KPMG in 2006, where she worked in the human resource department for over seven years. There, she was able to gain significant experience in human capital management coupled with business and strategic management.

Deeply engaged in entrepreneurship education, she joined Jonk Entrepreneuren Luxembourg in 2013 as CEO.

Jonk Entrepreneuren Luxembourg (JEL) is a non-profit organisation whose mission statement is to inspire and prepare young people for entrepreneurship and employment through various programmes and projects taking place at all education levels (primary, secondary and higher education). It brings schools and the corporate world closer together and involves volunteers from the world of business in each of its programmes.

The organisation works closely with both the private and public sector, following a “learning by doing” approach. Young people have a chance to be involved hands-on in projects which show them how they might develop professionally and personally by pointing to various opportunities and avenues.

Jonk Entrepreneuren currently engages with over 10,500 young people every year and, in 2018, it received the high-profile “Model Organisation Award” from Junior Achievement Europe,  Europe’s largest provider of entrepreneurship education programmes, for the 6 time.

Dr. Pranjul Shah

Head of the University of Luxembourg Incubator

Dr. Pranjul Shah is Head of the University of Luxembourg Incubator hosting the entrepreneurship program and venture mentoring service of the University. He is specifically focused on driving a mindset change towards entrepreneurship and innovation among the University of Luxembourg staff, students and alumni via the entrepreneurship program. Pranjul has experience in developing innovative teaching methodologies focused on learning by doing. He co-created the incubator’s flagship initiative – Ideation camp – a 72 h startup creation bootcamp – has now led to creation of 5 new startups within 2 years. The ideation camps have been internationally recognised and are being licensed to corporates and universities worldwide. He is passionate about knowledge-driven innovation and entrepreneurship and has championed a summer school around the topic. On daily basis, he acts as a mentor in residence to startups incubated at the incubator pushing them towards successful execution of their entrepreneurial goals and mitigating risks.

He continues to lead innovation projects across the university and as a principal investigator, he has acquired proof of concept innovation grants aiming translation of numerous biotech innovations. His patent-pending inventions, HuMiX and microGUT, where most recently confered the Outstanding Scientific Publication award 2017 as well as Outstanding Research-Driven Innovation 2017 award, respectively, by the National Research Fund (FNR) of Luxembourg. Mostly recently, his new invention of a microfluidic chip allowing rapid detection of aging in yeast cells was awarded the “Best Entrepreneurial Project” at the Entrepreneurship Summer School 2018 of the London Business School and a proof of concept grant from the FNR. He is recipient of many Innovation and business plan awards (Danisco Most Innovative Project Award, Falling Walls Lab Luxembourg 2016, Deloitte’s Mind and Market 2016 and Lush Prize for Young Researchers 2016).

Previously, Dr. Shah has acquired a PhD in Physics and Nanotechnology from the Technical University of Denmark. During his PhD, he was also instrumental in inventing a number of technologies leading to 6 invention disclosures and 4 patent applications. Numerous awards and grants felicitated these inventions such as “Dupont-Danisco Most Innovative Project award”, Venture Cup Denmark, mai Bangkok business challenge and resulted in one startup company – Immeasure. During his PhD, he was handpicked as a Kauffman Global Scholar to embark on a 6 month intensive entrepreneurial training fellowship coordinated by the Kauffman Foundation in collaboration with MIT, Stanford University and Harvard University.

Prof. Dr. Eric Tschirhart

Special Advisor – Tech Transfer – University of Luxembourg

Eric Tschirhart is full professor of physiology and as special advisor for Technology Transfer at the University of Luxembourg is managing IP valorization, licensing contract, pre-seed funding and spin-offs prospects. Professor Eric Tschirhart has a Master in Physiology, a PhD in Pharmacology and a MBA. Having worked in the pharmaceutical industry and public research institutions, he joined the University of Luxembourg in 2002, participated to Life Sciences expansion in Luxembourg, before taking serial managerial positions at the University of Luxembourg, in research, finance & administration, and academic organization as vice-president. He teaches physiology in Medical and Life Sciences programs and has been supervising PhD candidates recurrently. Professor Eric Tschirhart has more than 50 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals in physiology, pharmacology, drug development and medicinal chemistry.

More recently, he focused his activity on the development of a seed fund to support IP-driven spin-offs expansion from the University of Luxembourg.