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Techleap.nl Giving Back Awards: Introducing the selected 8 finalists

From founders and investors to mentors and role models, the Dutch tech ecosystem wouldn’t be where it is today without the incredible work of those who have selflessly given back to the very industry they’ve helped shape throughout the years.

Whether it’s through game-changing initiatives or using a platform for the greater good, we’re firm believers that these leaders shouldn’t just be recognised for their pivotal work, they should be celebrated. 

That’s why Techleap.nl has launched the Giving Back Awards, an accolade devoted to those continuously empowering others within the Dutch tech ecosystem to think bigger and scale their ambitions across the globe.

Find out more about this year’s nominees and why they’ve been selected below.

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Christina Caljé - Founder at Autheos, former Executive Director at Goldman Sachs

Born and raised in New York City, Christina Caljé is a former Goldman Sachs Executive Director, turned founder at Autheos, and an early-stage angel investor.

Since the 2021 acquisition of Autheos, the marketing tech platform she founded, Christina expanded her focus to address funding imbalances within the European startup ecosystem.  With this purpose in mind, Christina serves as advisor and board member to various accelerators, venture capital funds, startups and government entities, alike.

Christina has proved to be a tireless and ever-dependable mentor, particularly to minority and female-owned businesses, offering priceless support to startups and budding investors through continuous education.

That said, Christina is an inspiration for every entrepreneur, as she is an example of a successful business leader, a strategic mentor, and a kind person.

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Corinne Vigreux - TomTom Founder & Creator of Codam Coding College

After becoming the first female unicorn founder in Europe with TomTom, Corinne has been a major driving force for diversity in the Dutch ecosystem.

Alongside her position as Managing Director of the electronics giant, Corinne is responsible for setting up Amsterdam’s CODAM, an accessible, tuition-free computer programming school that provides a more level playing field to traditional education pathways. 

With the book she published to get girls excited about technology, Corinne reached over 500.000 girls globally and donated over 25.000 copies to underprivileged girls.  

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Dinko Valerio - Co-Founder & Chairman of the Board at Leyden Labs & ProQR Therapeutics

Domenico (Dinko) Valerio is a scientist-turned-entrepreneur with a wealth of experience in both public and private companies.

Dinko is a truly inspirational figure who has consistently invested time and energy into helping out other entrepreneurs in the Netherlands, whether that be through his own priceless experiences or via access to his industry-leading network. 

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Hans Scheffer - Founder & CEO of Helloprint, Founder of WeTechRotterdam & Co-Creator of UP!Rotterdam

Along with being a Founder and the CEO of Helloprint, which now operates across 13 European countries and delivers globally, Hans has selflessly used his in-depth know-how and experience to launch several initiatives dedicated to strengthening the tech community through coaching, resources, and investment.

His work with WeTechRotterdam in particular has been instrumental in positioning the city as a flourishing hub for Dutch innovation. 

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Heleen Dura - van Oord - Founding Partner at Peak Capital, former Co-Founder DQ&A Media

Having co-founded digital marketing powerhouse DQ&A Media, Heleen has since gone on to become a co-founder and partner at investment company Peak Capital, providing vital access to funds for some of the Netherlands’ most exciting startups. She is also the co-founder of Vivid Ventures (investments in mostly very early pre-revenue companies like Livekindly, Winc Academy, OurHouse dance music experience) and Drystack.

Heleen has also shaped the Leading Online Entrepreneur of the Year awards (LOEY), a prestigious recognition that stimulates online innovation. 

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Janneke Niessen - Co-Founder of CapitalT, D&I activist & Public Speaker

A serial entrepreneur and passionate diversity advocate, Janneke is regularly called upon by the government to share her wisdom across technology, talent, investing, and inclusion.

Janneke has also helped shape InspiringFifty, an initiative to increase diversity in technology by raising the visibility of female role models, and Fundright, a self-imposed quota for venture capital investors to improve inclusion in the ecosystem. 

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Maarten Steinbuch - Chair of Systems & Control at Eindhoven University of Technology

A high-tech systems scientist, entrepreneur, and public speaker, Maarten holds the chair of System & Control at Eindhoven University of Technology, where he is a Distinguished University Professor.

A pioneer in the field of automotive engineering, mechatronics, and motion control, Maarten has also been central to the development of the Eindhoven Engine and is an essential figure in the Board of the Academic Startup Competition

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Michiel Muller - Founder of Picnic & Route Mobiel

Michiel is a serial entrepreneur and has founded a number of incredibly successful businesses. Michiel serves on several boards of early-stage internet ventures and investment committees and as a board member of both the Erasmus and Amsterdam Centre of Entrepreneurship an active supporter of entrepreneurship being included in the faculties’ curriculum.

He is chairman of the Erasmus Trustfonds and initiator of the €100m endowment fund to support excellence in education and research. 

This has also led to the Graduate Entrepreneur Fund with funding of €56m, to invest in start-ups of students and staff in Rotterdam and Delft. He’s also a member of the committee of the National Growth Fund that supports investments for structural and durable economic growth in NL.

The winner of the first Giving Back Awards will be revealed on May 12th during the BOLD Kick-Off event. Stay tuned for the official announcement over on the Techleap.nl social media channels.


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