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Our International Advisors

Our International Advisors have been appointed for their unprecedented experience in fomenting entrepreneurship in their respective regions, and representing “gold standards” in a relevant area of entrepreneurship development. Each of the BEEP advisors has the rare combination of innovative, beyond-state-of-the-art thinking as well as tangible, down-to-earth practical accomplishments. Advisors are available to help guide our projects with innovative and practical ideas, feedback, and a constant connection to best practices around the world.

Leslie (Les) Charm is a Babson faculty member and an expert on entrepreneurial finance. Since 1972 he has been a partner in the firm of Youngman & Charm, which specializes in directorship functions for firms owned and operated by entrepreneurs. From 1977 through 1990, Les was chairman and president of a major distributor and specialty retail chain. Les served as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Franchise Association, and as a director of the National Association of Corporate Directors-New England. Les has taught throughout the world on entrepreneurship and governance. He is on the President’s Council at Babson, and is the recipient of the Appel Award for Entrepreneurship.

Yigal Erlich is one of the leaders of Israel’s venture capital industry and one of the most prominent figures in the Israeli high-tech arena in the past 25 years. Between 1984 and 1992, Yigal served as the Chief Scientist of Israel’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, managing an R&D budget of $200 million, and creating a number of programs which have been emulated throughout the world, such as the generic technology and the incubator programs. In 1992 Yigal conceived of and founded Yozma, a $100 million government fund of funds that has become the global gold standard in stimulating venture capital in support of entrepreneurship, which he also managed until 1998. Yigal founded the Israel Venture Association and has served as its chairman.

Calestous Juma is Professor of the Practice of International Development and Director of the Science, Technology, and Globalization Project at Harvard’s JFK School of Government, and director of the Agricultural Innovation in Africa Project funded by the Gates Foundation. Calestous is a former Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. He has been elected to the Royal Society of London and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, for example. Author of numerous books and articles, Calestous most recently authored The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa, published by Oxford University Press (2011). He is editor of the International Journal of Technology and Globalisation. Calestous received the Ph.D. from the University of Sussex.

Maria Meyers is the co-founder and director of U.S.SourceLink, a Kauffman Foundation spinoff in Kansas City and the leading provider of an online/offline platform that links regional entrepreneurship resources in a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs. U.S.SourceLink has been implemented and is used in 15 regions around the country and has been awarded the U.S. Department of Commerce Excellence in Economic Development Award for Enhancing Regional Competitiveness. Maria is trained as an astrophysicist.

Jorge Rodriguez is founder and CEO of PACIV, a Puerto Rican venture he founded in 1997 and which now is a global leader automation validation and compliance, with offices in San Juan, Indianapolis and London serving dozens of leading clients. Jorge is also the president of the Puerto Rico Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project, a non-profit collaboration with Babson Executive and Enterprise Education. PACIV was the first Puerto Rican venture to be featured in a Harvard Business School case study, and Jorge is a frequent speaker on entrepreneurship. He has the MBA from University of Puerto Rico (where he has also lectured) and the BA degree from Syracuse University. He is a graduate of Harvard’s Owners/Presidents Management Program.

Samantha (Sam) Hammar is presently the Executive Director of The Capital Network after four and a half years working for Boston City’s economic development team, where she was one of the crafters of the vision, strategy, and communications plan for the Innovation District following initiated in 2010 by Mayor Thomas Menino. Sam was responsible for building the district’s global communications infrastructure that served to support the rapid growth of the Innovation District, with over 100 new businesses and 3,000 new employees. She has an M.A. in Global Marketing Communications and Advertising from Emerson College and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Florida.