Sustainable Business SDG Accelerator Launch

by admin, October 1, 2018

A collaboration between the New Jersey Innovation Institute and HealRWorld LLC



A message from NJ Governor Phil Murphy in support of the NJII – HRW SDG Accelerator Launch


The Partners…

The New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII) an NJIT corporation focused on helping private enterprise discover what’s possible. Whether it’s working to solve the grand challenges shared across an entire sector or helping a single company find an innovative way to pursue a new product or market opportunity, NJII brings world-class intellectual and technological resources to bear. It is unique in its formation and role as a not-for-profit corporation in pursuit of economic development and in its agility in transforming intellectual capital into commercial success. NJII has strategically organized Innovation Labs (iLabs) serving market verticals to follow industry-led agendas.

HealRWorld is a social impact company.  Its team combines experts in innovation, data, technology and platform delivery from global world-class organizations.  It aims to provide hard to procure data and insights on sustainable global small and mid-sized enterprises to help clients manage risk, find the right partners that align with their mission or investment objectives and, thus, drive sustainable business and innovation. HealRWorld’s mission is to drive resources and capital to these companies and make the world a better place. They are committed to helping their customers and partners achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) identified by the United Nations.

Our Mission…

The Sustainable Business SDG Accelerator brings together Impact Investing and Corporate Innovation in Sustainability to nurture breakthrough ideas into funded business plans for economic growth in the region and globally. Our mission is to support the UN SDGs by fostering business innovation through public/private partnership to help achieve the SDG goals by 2030 while also supporting small and medium businesses and female entrepreneurs where possible. Our initial focus will be these UN SDGs: Good Health & Well Being (SDG 3), Gender Equality (SDG 5), Clean Water & Sanitation (SDG 6), Decent Work & Economic Growth (SDG 8), Industry Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG 9) and Sustainable Cities & Communities (SDG 11).

We Need Your Support!

Our goal is to launch in early 2019 with our first cohort of 12 to 24 small to medium size businesses. Financial targets are a minimum of $250K per annum for the NJII Acceleration program; and $5-$10M committed for investment into cohort companies by our Investment Partners.

Who Should Attend?

  • Impact investors
  • Companies wanting to extend innovation, achieve sustainability, and sharpen venture investment focus
  • UN agencies, government organizations and NGOs
  • Key partners, innovators and thought leaders

Other SDG Accelerator partners and collaborators include:

Unify.Earth: HealRWorld will partner with Unify.Earth to deliver cutting edge blockchain, micro-investment and digital assets to our network of sustainable SMEs, including those that become part of this program. The HealRWorld/Unify.Earth partnership was recently published by NASDAQ:

NJII already collaborates with the Academic Venture Exchange (AVX) – an initiative of the Innovation Accelerator Foundation (IAF) – to source innovative ideas from a network of premier research and development universities, along with matching these innovations to successful entrepreneurs and investors that can turn them into commercial success.

One of our first initiatives we will launch to be housed in the new NJII accelerator will be The Disruptive Data Network–a global human trafficking data sharing consortium that brings together major global data and news providers, NGOs, thought leaders, and academia to create new risk data and products.

To Learn More

For more information regarding our SDG Accelerator see our recent press announcement.

As Announced at The United Nations:

To learn more about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals visit:



By entering and being present at this event you consent to be photographed. Your entry constitutes your consent to such photography and to any use, in any and all media in perpetuity, of your appearance for any purpose whatsoever in connection with this event presently entitled: Sustainable Business SDG Accelerator Launch.


Sustainable Development Goals Accelerator Launch Agenda


6:30 – 6:45 PM                     Registration & Welcoming of Guests

6:45 – 6:55 PM                     Program Opens:  NJ Innovation Institute Overview & Mission
                                                 Dr. Donald Sebastian, CEO & President, NJII

6:55 – 7:05 PM                      HealRWorld Overview and Video—A Call to Action
                                                 Michele Bongiovanni, CEO & Founder, HealRWorld

7:05-7:15 PM                        Introduction To & Vision of Accelerator
                                                George Nikolaou, Executive Director, Financial Services Innovation, NJII

7:15-7:20 PM                        New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy—Message on Public/Private Partnership for Sustainable Innovation

7:20-7:30 PM                        Introduction to The Human Trafficking-Disruptive Data Network to be Housed at NJII SDG Accelerator
                                                 Michele Bongiovanni, HealRWorld; Duncan Jepson, Liberty Shared


Key Industry Speakers from Verticals—Panel

7:30-7:40 PM                       The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals & Crucial Role of Innovation
                                               Robert Skinner, Head of United Nations Office for Partnerships

7:40-7:50 PM                       The Growing Importance of Sustainable Innovation in Corporate Strategies
                                                Jostein Solheim, Unilever, former CEO Ben & Jerry’s

7:50-8:00 PM                       Financial Innovation & Impact Investment for the SDGs at the United Nations
                                                Jeffrey Gitterman, Gitterman Wealth Management

8:00-8:10 PM                       Smart Cities Innovation in NJ and Globally
                                                Sergio Fernandez de Cordova, PVBLIC Foundation; P3 SmartCity

8:10-8:20 PM                       Smart Cities Innovation & Lessons Learned
                                                David Armour, Siemens, Chief City Executive – NYC

8:20 – 8:25 PM                     The Role of Blockchain & Digital Assets in SDG Innovation
                                                 Frank Littleton, Unify.Earth Global Ambassador

8:25 – 8:35 PM                     Progress and Challenges for Sustainable Business in Medical Devices
                                                 Emilio Sanchez, Stryker Senior Director, Business Development

8:35 – 8:50 PM                     Moderated Questions of Panel and Accelerator Team & Closing
                                                 Moderator:  Tim Franklin, Vice President & COO, NJII

8:50 – 9:30                            Continuing the Dialogue:  Mingling, Food & Refreshments


Duncan Jepson

Duncan Jepson founded Liberty Asia (now rebranded Liberty Shared), to fight human trafficking in Asia. It is the recipient of a US State Dept J-TIP award to develop and implement a victim case management system created using the Salesforce platform. He has been pioneering an approach using available anti-money laundering infrastructure to disrupt the supply of banking and financial services to the funding of modern slavery. A Hong Kong based corporate lawyer by profession, he worked in investment management focusing on regional M&A, governance, product development and white-collar crime investigation. He was at ING Investment Management Asia Pacific for nine years where he was regional general counsel and head of compliance. He was also head of legal for BNY Mellon Investment Management Asia Pacific.


Robert Skinner

Robert Skinner is the Executive Director, United Nations Office for Partnerships.  He was the Director of the UN Information Center (UNIC) in Washington. Prior to joining UNIC Mr. Skinner held the position of Executive Director at the United Nations Foundation New York Office, responsible for operations and relations. In that role, he managed the Foundation’s relations with United Nations communications officials, the press corps and Permanent Missions to the United Nations. Before joining the Foundation in 2006, Mr. Skinner held several positions in the United States Department of State, including as Deputy Spokesperson at the United States Mission to the United Nations in New York, and as Public Affairs Officer for the United States Embassy in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Mr. Skinner holds a law degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Administration from Oakland University in the United States. He is married and has two children.


Jostein Solheim EVP, Foods & Refreshments Division, Unilever North America

Jostein became the EVP of Foods and Refreshments Division, NA, in July of 2018. Prior to this role, he was the CEO for Ben & Jerry’s for the past 8 years, and successfully expanded the iconic business across 38 countries while further increasing its social mission reach and impact. Jostein spent 15 years in Unilever’s ice cream businesses across Europe, Eastern Europe and North America before leading Ben & Jerry’s. Prior to that he worked within Unilever’s Corporate Strategy department supporting the global Foods business. Jostein graduated from the London School of Economics.


Jeff Gitterman

Jeff Gitterman is a co-founding partner of Gitterman Wealth Management, and a thought leader in the field of Sustainable, Impact, and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) Investing. Jeff is the author of Beyond Success: Redefining the Meaning of Prosperity, and also an Associate Producer of the feature documentary film, Planetary. Most recently, he was named RIA “Thought Leader of the Year” by


Sergio Fernadez de Cordova

Internationally recognized entrepreneur, investor & philanthropist working at the intersection of media + policy, leveraging public private partnerships for social impact. Chairman + Co-Founder, PVBLIC Foundation, an organization focused on using media & technology to drive impact and change in the world. Chairman and Founder of P3Smartcity, a smart city and smart infrastructure, public private-partnership government advisory company sparking positive social, environmental, and economic vitality in the urban landscape.


David Armour
Appointed by the Siemens Cities Center of Competence as Chief City Executive for New York City in October, 2012, David is responsible for establishing Siemens strategy for the metropolitan New York region. As the lead City executive, David will build the regional Siemens teams, establish relationships with key city and regional decision makers, and drive Siemens solutions into the respective markets. The Cities Center of Competence (CoC) is dedicated to understanding the key challenges facing cities as they strive for economic growth and long term prosperity. The CoC strives to leverage the company’s global experience and deep portfolio of infrastructure solutions to help cities create and implement plans for the future.


Frank Littleton

Frank Littleton has spent the past 17 years as a foreign exchange e-commerce  executive, having successfully built and managed institutional sales and trading desks for global brokerages including GAIN Capital, GFI Group and Forex Capital Markets.  Frank’s deep understanding of fintech and foreign exchange markets has allowed him to apply this same skill set to clients of Unify Earth’s blockchain and digital asset ecosystem.  His focus has been on identifying and partnering with businesses that provide a meaningful social impact which aligns with Unify Earths efforts to achieve the UN’s 17 SDG’s.  Most recently, Frank has advised a leading healthcare distribution platform who partnered with a top 10 global pharmaceutical company which will help to distribute medicine to remote areas throughout Africa.


Emilio Sanchez

Emilio Sanchez is an NJIT Graduate (BSME) who has worked 20 years in Stryker Orthopaedics (MedTech sector).  Prior to that he worked at Westinghouse/Schindler as a Mechanical Engineer. Emilio designed and launched knee prosthesis and oncology prosthesis, managed Stryker’s Oncology Business (Marketing, Engineering) and led the M&A and Business Development at Stryker for the past 10 years in Sports Medicine, and currently Orthopaedics (Hip, Knee, Robotics). He is the Vice-Chair of NCE Board of Visitors.



George N. Nikolaou Executive Director Financial Services Innovation

New Jersey Innovation Institute panel discusion – Sustainable Development Goals