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In this free series of presentations, learn about global entrepreneurship, with a focus on India, the power of the entrepreneurial mindset, and Lehigh’s approach to entrepreneurship education.

The Builders: Entrepreneurship in Practice

Three experienced entrepreneurs working in different countries – the United Kingdom, India and the United States – will share their stories of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. Learn about how they find inspiration and keep learning, the process of developing a new product, and opportunities for engagement in India.

Watch the recording > (Please note: This recording starts five minutes into the presentation and is missing the introduction.)


Michael Lehman teaching

Michael Lehman (moderator)

Professor of Practice and Director of the M.Eng. in Technical Entrepreneurship
Lehigh University

Pennsylvania, USA

One will find Michael S. Lehman, MD, MBA at the intersection of innovation, science, and higher education. Lehman is a Professor of Practice at Lehigh University, where he co-developed, teaches in, and is director of the Master of Engineering in Technical Entrepreneurship program. Prior to joining the faculty at Lehigh, Lehman developed and grew new entrepreneurship programs at the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence at the University of Pittsburgh and served as the founding director of the Juniata College Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. Lehman’s work experience includes Johnson’s orthopedic company DePuy International in Leeds, England, and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Lehman holds a B.S. from Juniata College, an M.D. from the Penn State College of Medicine, and an M.B.A. from the University of Leeds in Leeds, England.

Headshot photo of Hubert Dagbo

Hubert Dagbo ’12

Portfolio Manager
Development Partners International

London, UK

Hubert Dagbo graduated from Lehigh in 2012 with a degree in finance. He has spent the last eight years as an entrepreneur, equity research analyst (Credit Suisse NYC), strategy consultant (EY London), and most recently as a portfolio manager at DPI, a $1.7bn Africa-focused growth private equity fund. Dagbo recently launched an education technology startup called Equipt, an online platform where people can learn practical and industry-based skills in live interactive online classes taught by experienced professionals.

Pratheek Palanethra

Pratheek Palanethra ’16G


Bangalore, India

Pratheek Palanethra is the founder and head of business development at Freebowler, a sports-innovation brand - hardware startup best known for developing and launching cricket's first non-electric and portable ball thrower. With the patented technology currently available in 15 countries, Freebowler aims to serve the grassroots development of the bat and ball sport across the globe. Palanethra, a mechanical engineer by profession and academic background, a cricketer by heart with a professional sports upbringing, and a passion for entrepreneurship, has an ultimate vision to impact people's lives through innovation in the sports business.

Carrie Rich

Carrie Rich ’07

Co-founder and CEO
Global Good Fund

Metro DC, USA

Carrie Rich is the co-founder and CEO of The Global Good Fund. At age 26, Carrie felt privileged to have a mentor who invested in her leadership as a young professional. Together, they took this idea of pairing experienced business executives with emerging young social entrepreneurs to create a worldwide organization. Rich also serves at the managing director of The Global Good Fund's sister company, the Global Impact Fund, a venture capital fund seeking market-leading returns by backing social entrepreneurs who are people of color and women. Fundamentally, Rich's message is about accessibility, how everyday people can empower themselves and others. She is the author of three books, including Health Entrepreneurship: A Practical Guide, and two editions of Sustainability for Healthcare Management: A Leadership Imperative, which became a top-five business book in Handelsblatt (Germany). Rich is the recipient of The Daily Record’s Most Admired CEO, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award, and POLITICO Women Who Rule Award.

The Environment: Global Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

Vibrant ecosystems create the conditions—networks, culture, resources, infrastructure—that fuel entrepreneurial growth and success. Join our panel of seasoned professionals in the ecosystems of India, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as they share their experiences, the impact of COVID-19, and perspectives about what is needed and what is possible in the post-pandemic future.

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Kira Mendez ’83 (moderator)

Director, Iacocca Institute
Lehigh University

Kira Mendez is Director of Lehigh University’s Iacocca Institute, which creates transformative experiences that challenge and empower the next generation of global leaders. The Institute delivers programs for university, young professional, and high-school participants. Now entering its 25th year, the Iacocca Global Village—the Institute’s signature program—has engaged 2300+ participants from 140+ countries. Mendez joined Lehigh after 30 years of strategy consulting and is a former partner of The Bridgespan Group, where she worked with social ventures, NGOs, cross-sector partnerships, and philanthropic initiatives. Previously, she worked with private sector CEOs and investors on issues of strategy, organizational design and leadership. Mendez began her career as an aircraft engine controls design engineer with United Technologies. She holds BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering from Lehigh University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MBA from Harvard.

Nicola Corzine

Executive Director
Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center

Nicola Corzine serves as the Executive Director of the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, a nonprofit that delivers world-class resources and mentoring to enable every entrepreneur across the globe to realize their maximum potential. Nicola brings over 15 years of strategic business development and entrepreneurial thought leadership programming experience to the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, most recently in her role as Investment Manager for the Band of Angels, a position held since 2004 as well as Investment Partner in their 2009 fund. During her time at the Band, she was as an early advisor to Startup America and led the development of the first national and regional Angel Capital Association conferences. Prior to Band of Angels, Nicola was the founder and executive director of Financing Partners, an organization that delivered education to both entrepreneurs and investors to enable them to reach their mutual objectives. Before Band of Angels, she was part of the founding teams of three startup companies in the US and UK. Nicola is a frequent speaker on angel investing, technology trends and seed financing and has served as a formation advisor to several regional and international angel groups and seed funds.

Yatin Thakur

Managing Director
Global Entrepreneurship Network India

Yatin K. Thakur is a serial entrepreneur since the age of 16 when he started his first venture in the telecom space through his company “Mesmobia”. Over the last 15 years he has built several ventures before focusing full time on empowering Indian youth towards entrepreneurship. As part of his mission to promote entrepreneurship, he has been actively working with grassroot communities to provide them a platform to get started. From owning a chain of coworking spaces, to running multiple incubation and entrepreneurship programs, Yatin has been on the fore front of entrepreneurship in India. Yatin is currently the Chair of GEN Asia and also the Managing Director for Global Entrepreneurship Network India (GEN India). His work involves entrepreneurship advocacy, international diplomacy and policy discussions. He started a project to build borderless entries for entrepreneurs in form of gPass. He has represented India at various global forums and has been actively traveling around the world to share his insights and experiences on entrepreneurship development as well as build a stronger market access program for Indian entrepreneurs. He also participated at Global Entrepreneurship Summit Malaysia 2013 and Global Entrepreneurship Summit USA 2016 and played a key role in recent Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 in India, where he worked closely with Indian and US government to ensure a successful summit led by Ivanka Trump. An IVLP alum of the State Department of USA, Yatin has an active interest in civic innovations, politics and agriculture.

Richard Thompson

Managing Partner
Factory, LLC

Rich helped create over $3 billion in enterprise value as CEO of American Italian Pasta Company, The Meow Mix Company and Freshpet. He has deep operational experience across multiple disciplines, having helped build each of these organizations, including marketing and sales, manufacturing, supply chain and distribution, and innovation infrastructure, and he has supervised the design and construction of 7 manufacturing facilities. With CPG start-ups, one home run can be a lifetime achievement. Rich has helped achieve three of them.

Aneesh Varma ’06

Founder and CEO

Aneesh is the Founder and CEO of Aire, launched in 2014 in London. He pioneered use of first-party data for better credit decisions, challenging the existing oligopoly in this sector. Aire transformed the consumer credit landscape in the UK and is now expanding to the US. He previously founded FabriQate in 2007, an award-winning enterprise software company. Aneesh was a Martindale Scholar as an engineer at Lehigh University and started his career at JPMorgan in New York. He has been awarded in Europe for his contributions as an entrepreneur and to the field of finance. You can find him @aneeshvarma on Twitter.

The Talent: Developing the Next Generation of Global Entrepreneurial leaders

Entrepreneurship education is often thought to be focused on preparing one type of student for venture creation. While that traditional approach has value, the promise of developing an entrepreneurial mindset is much broader – it can empower people to create solutions with value and to promote economic growth and wellbeing inside existing organizations across sectors. In this session, you will learn what the entrepreneurial mindset is and why it matters, from the educator, the practitioner and the talent perspectives.

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Samantha Dewalt (moderator)

Managing Director, Lehigh@NasdaqCenter, Lehigh University 

Lisa Getzler (moderator)

Executive Director, Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity & Innovation, Lehigh University

Apoorv Bamba

Co-Founder and CEO, Ingenious Faces

Apoorv is the Co-Founder and CEO of Ingenious Faces and is currently busy disrupting the perception of success through transformative learning frameworks across emerging economies. He is also a Community Council Member at Silicon Cape and Co-founder at Mashauri. He has previously founded Startup Safari (Acquired by WeeTracker) & Human Circle.

He is driven (mostly) by two things in life: "how do we learn purposefully through travel" and the hunt for the best eggs benedict around the world. Apoorv does not believe he has ever learned anything worthwhile in a classroom environment but has grown immensely in knowledge, wisdom and cultural intelligence through the 40+ countries he has traveled/facilitated in. Thus, defining his personal and professional motto as "By Travel and Error".

He is also a public speaker and guest lecturer with previous talks at platforms such as PechaKucha, Graduate Women International Global Conference, Ashoka University, University of Cape Town, Ghent University, Bertha Centre of Social Innovation among others. 

Iman Braich ’21

Finance and management major at Lehigh University

Eve Freed ’21

IDEAS major (with concentrations in mechanical engineering, design, theater and entrepreneurship) at Lehigh University 

I am an artist, engineer, and entrepreneur (in no particular order).

My integrated education at Lehigh University has allowed me to explore different fields, and has elevated my curiosity and love for learning. The skills I learn in each new role have prepared me for the hat I like to wear the most: being a leader. My time spent as the President of Student Senate and an Orientation Coordinator at Lehigh University has motivated me to pursue my passion of creating lasting connections within communities.