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Meet the Rising Star jury 2021

The Rising Stars are assessed by an external jury, whose members will be present for the Fast 50 Rising Star pitches.

For the eighth year in a row Duco Sickinghe will preside over the jury

Duco Sickinghe

Managing Partner of Fortino Capital

Fortino Capital is a company that provides expertise and long-term investment capital to small and large businesses with growth potential. Duco Sickinghe was elected Manager of the Year in 2011 for the growth and innovation achieved during his 10 years at the helm of the telecom company Telenet.

He is assisted by:

Veroniek Collewaert 

Professor in Entrepreneurship at Vlerick Business School

Veroniek Collewaert is a professor, researcher and author who has published articles in journals such as Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice and Small Business Economics.

Omar Mohout

Professor in Entrepreneurship at Antwerp Management School and Entrepreneurship Fellow at Sirris

Omar Mohout, a former technology entrepreneur, is a widely published technology author, keynote speaker, and C-level advisor to high-growth startups as well as Fortune 500 companies.

David Muyldermans

Founding Partner proUnity

David Muyldermans has 20 years of experience in management and sales in industries such as FMCG and IT services, with good knowledge of both the private and government sectors. He was also always active as an entrepreneur, which ultimately inspired him to set up proUnity.

Ann Van Mele

Venture Acceleration Manager at Imec.istart

Ann Van Mele is passionate about innovation, embracing the unknown, and co-creation. She has helped many companies in different sectors to innovate and to grow. She currently coaches health start-ups on four levels: product, growth, market and investor readiness.

Heidi Rakels

Founder of Guardsquare

Heidi was the winner of the Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 Award in 2018 and the Deloitte Rising Star Award in 2016. Heidi was also ICT woman of the year in 2019. As a former judoka she won a bronze medal at the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992.

Rising Star process

  • Preselection: all Rising Star applicants are invited for a pre-pitch on 22 September 2021. The jury, made up of Deloitte industry leaders, presided by Duco Sickinghe of Fortino Capital, will select 10 Rising Star candidates based on company data and the pre-pitch. The selected companies will be announced on 5 October.
  • Pitch: the 10 Rising Stars that are preselected will present a two-minute pitch in front of the external Rising Star jury on 25 November. The Rising Star jury will deliberate and announce the Rising Star and Most Disruptive Innovator during the Awards Ceremony.

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