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2022 Global Innovation Startup Competition (GI$CO) Jury List



GI$CO (Global Innovation Startup Competition) at the Global Forum in Muscat, Oman — From over 200 startups, these outstanding finalists have been announced today. They will be competing on October 18th in the W hotel.



Onsite Jury Members


Dr. Tariq Ahmed Nizami 
Founder & CEO 
CEO Clubs Network Worldwide


Tariq Ahmed Nizami is a Founder & CEO of CEO Clubs Network Worldwide a USA based organization with regional office in Dubai, UAE, CEO Clubs is the Largest Business Networking Club in the world, having presence in more than 50 countries with exclusive elite CEOs & High Executives members worldwide. CEO Clubs Network hold regular exclusive business events in Dubai and other parts of the world to provide platform for international businessmen to meet local businessmen to explore & connect business opportunities between elite exclusive members worldwide.


Tariq Ahmed Nizami has education from USA with more than 38 years’ experience by heading an International Holding company which has interest in Real Estate, Gold & Diamond, Oil, Trading, Travel, Entertainment, Media, Healthcare, Hospitality, Fashion, CEO Clubs Network, Charitable Institution, Digital TV, Education, Financial, Energy, Cryptocurrency, Metaverse and Information Technology.


Tariq Ahmed Nizami has received more than 35 International Awards & Appreciations including Medal of Honor by American Institute 1990 USA, Beijing Real Estate Developer Award 2007, Appreciation Certificate by Canada Government 2005, Appreciation by Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce
2007, California Golden State Award USA 1989, Men of Achievement Award by International Centre England 1989, Charter Founder of Ronald Reagan Republican Centre USA 1989, The American Immigrant Wall of Honor 1992 USA, BIZ AWARD 2011 UAE, Pride of Performance Award 2011 in Los Angeles, USA, Appreciation for Local and International Business Contribution by Minister of Foreign Trade UAE 2012 and Middle East Award “Master class Entrepreneur of The Year” by GCC Chamber of Commerce & Industry in 2012. CSR Leadership Award, Dubai Police Appreciation. Top 50 COVID Treatment Personality Award 2020-21. Mother Teresa Entrepreneurship Excellence & Man of Substance Award. He has also received the United States Presidential Gold Medal 1989 USA, Winner of “Dubai Quality Appreciation Award 2017 & 2022” presented by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai. And in 2021 received Special Dubai Expo Recognition from the Chairman of Expo 2020 Dubai for contribution in World Expo. He has been a Key Speaker on Investments, Networking, SDGs, Real Estate, Information Technology Media, Education, and other subjects in the worldwide conferences including United Nations UNIDO conference in China 2007 and 2008. He is CEO of Global CEO Alliance of China Shenzhen Belt & Road Initiative for Economy. He was also the United Nations Global Compact initiative representative in UAE and a UNGC-UAE Steering Committee Member for 5 years. UN Women WEPs UAE Taskforce member. The Founder & CEO of The BURJ CEO Awards brand.


In 2021 Dr. Tariq Ahmed Nizami has been appointed as the Advisory Board Member of the Middle East Cities Center at the American University of Dubai (AUD). Tariq Ahmed Nizami is also an Executive Director of “Hollywood Studios International”, Los Angeles, USA, which makes Hollywood Movies and responsible of project setting up in China & Dubai for Hollywood Movies & TV Projects. Global Partner of Gorilla Labs. Tariq Ahmed Nizami is also the Chairman & CEO of CEO Clubs Holdings a Group Parent Company. He is an International Marketing Advisor to Chinese Government for upcoming First Manmade Commercial Island in China, plus the Shareholder & Director of Connect by Stars on Board a USA celebrity mobile App. Since 2022 he is also the Vice Chairman & Board Member of United Nations Disaster Risk Reduction UN DRR Arise UAE to support and implement the Sendai Framework Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 - 2030, aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Paris Climate Agreement, New Urban Agenda and Agenda for Humanity by United Nations DRR.



Sven Oehme 
President & CEO at The European-American Business Organization, Inc.


Mr. Oehme is a recognized expert in European-American affairs. Until 1998 he served as Managing Director of the European-American Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (EACC). Before joining the EACC in 1991, Mr. Oehme held numerous executive positions for subsidiaries of Gruner+Jahr, the magazine and newspaper publishing division of the German media company Bertelsmann. He studied law and economics at the University of Hamburg, Germany and is admitted to the bar in Hamburg. Mr. Oehme's earned a Master of Laws degree in International Business and Trade Law with a focus on European Law from Fordham University, Graduate School of Law, New York. Mr. Oehme frequently speaks at trade and professional groups, as well as universities on developments in the European Union and EU-U.S. commercial and trade relations. Specifically, his expertise includes European Economic and Monetary Union, the Euro and international trade.


Mr. Oehme is the Senior Advisor for the Northeast Region of the United States for the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany. He is also a director of the American Foreign Law Association, a member of the Board of Advisors of the Weissmann Center for International Business at Baruch College. For more than 15 years he produced and anchored a weekly news show on public access television in Westchester County, NY.



Laszlo Horvath 
President & Founder -


Before founding ActiveMedia, Laszlo worked as a Strategic Consultant for America Online in 1995. He placed the first online advertising programs on AOL’s largest content site, featuring clients like the Greenhouse of AOL Studios and the AOL Finance Channel, plus interactive brands like Motley Fool, iVillage and NetNoir. Prior to his work work AOL, he established an advertising agency and TV production house in Central Europe, working with clients like the Ford Motor Company, Kellogg’s, United Distillers, Philip Morris, Fiat and the Leo Burnett advertising agency. 


Laszlo received his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1995. Prior to that, he graduated from the Film Academy of Budapest in 1989, as a film and television director. His time there included a study period at the BBC in London. Laszlo also received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Languages Literature from the ELTE University of Budapest. 


Laszlo serves on the Industry Trade Advisory Committee of the United States Department of Commerce and is a member of the Virginia-Washington DC District Export Council. He is a board member of LEROS Technologies Corporation, ShopDash, and is on the board of advisors for Five Plus. He is founding partner of Crimson Growth Partners, serves on the Board of Directors at the American Hungarian Executive Circle, and is a member of the Global Advisory Board of the CEO Clubs International.



Niki V. Santo 
Co-Founder/CEO, SWAZA


Niki V. Santo is an executive and investor who is focused on innovation and strategy. She is a member of UC Merced's Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab and serves as the Chair for the Advisory Board for the Silicon Valley Talent Partnership.


She is the President of the Harvard Club of Silicon Valley, a sponsor of the One Harvard New Venture Competition. She is an advisor to the R42 Group, and is a mentor in its founders’ program, a foundry that builds new companies with founding teams. She has invested in and mentored startups in AI, e-commerce, fintech, digital health, clean-tech, and medical devices.



Michael Stankosky D.Sc. 
Associate Professor at The George Washington University


Dr. Stankosky obtained his doctorate from George Washington University (GW) by researching organizational effectiveness. His subsequent research focuses on how to engineer and manage a global enterprise in a knowledge-based economy. He joined GW in 1998, and is currently a Research Professor & Professorial Lecturer of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering. There he created the theoretical constructs required for the master’s and doctorate in knowledge management (KM) – a first in academia.


He is Editor Emeritus of VINE: The Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems - part of Emerald Group Ltd. He is an Executive-in-Residence at the Kania School of Management, University of Scranton. He co-founded and co-directed the Institute for Knowledge & Innovation, a global network of scholars and practitioners of KM for over ten years. Their purpose was to create universally accepted frameworks and solutions for knowledge-driven enterprises. He has published many seminal articles on KM, made numerous presentations and workshops worldwide, and consults to both the private and public sectors. He is also a charter member of the New Club of Paris, dedicated to establishing international valuation and accounting standards for intellectual capital/knowledge assets.




Remote Jury Members


David Drake 
Chairman of LDJ Capital


David Drake is the Chairman of LDJ Capital, a multi-family office based in New York with investments and assets being managed in the areas of real estate, energy, clean tech, healthcare, medical and pharma, tech, telecom, mobile, entertainment, media, publishing, advertising, compliance services, aviation & aerospace, shipping & transportation. Mr. Drake has been involved in TMT (technology, media, telecoms), realty, hospitality, cleantech, energy and social impact investments for more than 20 years. 


He represented the US Commerce Department at the EU Commission in Brussels and Rome in 2012 and was invited to the White House Champions of Change ceremony in Washington, D.C. and as a speaker at the UK Parliament in 2013.


Mr. Drake’s holdings have media partnership with the European Business Angel Network, European Venture Philanthropy Association and Angel Capital Association of North America.  He sits on 4 angel networks and has co-founded two angel networks .He has collaborated with institutional media leader Thomson Reuters, with speakers from Nasdaq, NYSE, KKR and Carlyle Group because of his media investments involved in financial conferences and thought leadership. 


He has spoken in top universities like Cambridge, NYU, Cornell, Columbia, and writes regularly for major publications like WSJ, Forbes, Huffington Post, Thomson Reuters. He is the co-author of the book Planet Entrepreneur and is the author of the upcoming book LIFEE: Life Instructions for Entrepreneurs and Executives.


David is a board director for the New York City Opera Renaissance, London-based UBS Charity of the Year ARCHIVE Global, and a board advisor for The Washington Ballet. He is a board director also of the Carnegie Hall Einhorn Oratorio Project in honor of the Ukraine MH17 flight victims which allows him to work and advise US Ambassadors from, but not limited to, Dominica, Ukraine,  Marshall Islands, Australia, Canada and Sweden.


Born in Sweden and fluent in six languages, Mr. Drake has an MBA in Finance and an MA in International Law and Economics from George Washington University, where he was awarded the Wallenberg Scholarship for academic merit.



Alan Black 
VP Smart Cities Business Development, Commsignia Inc.


Currently a top performing Account Manager, selling camera, analytics and optical technology into Transportation, Homeland Security, Scientific, Machine Vision and Industrial Automation Markets with this premier CCTV Camera manufacturer. Successful development of new OEM opportunities in the Bio-Tech, Medical Equipment and Semiconductor areas, while expanding our presence in Military, Transportation and Surveillance Markets. Has met and exceeded quota every year, largest volume of sales 2014. Received “Most New Customers Award” first year in 2005, “Sales Manager of the Year” Award for 2006, 2009 and 2011.


Specialties: Business Development, Sales and Marketing in Machine Vision, Scientific Imaging, Image Processing, Government, Transportation, Military, Video Surveillance, CCTV, Public Safety as well as Prepress, Web Inspection, Multi-spectral Imaging, , Ferrous & Non-Ferrous Foundry, Rapid Prototyping, 3D Image Processing, CAD, CAM.


Experienced and driven in tough markets, new product concepts , complex sales, and turnaround situations. Seeking opportunities with organizations that have high standards, offers challenges, growth and innovation. I am interested in offering my experience and skills in an organization that offers world class technology and has an understanding of the importance of well planned product development driven by a comprehensive marketing strategy.



John Ricci


John is an Executive Director at US Angel Investors , a Partner at Crimson Growth Partners and an investor in or advisor to a number of technology companies including LinqTo, NexDefense, Vizkinekt, POC Medical Systems, ManageUP, iBidtoSave, Wingz, 1WorlOnline, Owlized, Barckback, Movez. Earlier in his career, John was COO and co-founder at JMC Telecom, a prepaid telephone card startup, and Co-founder and CEO of SupplyMasters Systems. He has also been COO at Trader Media a roll-up in classified media, VP Marketing and Sales at Zenith/Bull Computers in Europe (mid-range systems), and a manager at Boston Consulting Group. John holds an MBA from Harvard Business School where he was an Arthur Sachs Fellow, and a Master in Engineering from MinesTech in Paris.