Driving Entrepreneurship: Exploring Models of Innovation and Supports

Innovation and entrepreneurship come in many shapes and sizes. At this month’s SyracuseCoE Research & Technology forum, we will focus on different models of innovation and growth, including an award-winning student-led start-up, PAANI, that has developed clean water solutions for global health; an internal model of innovation in a global company, Ramboll, that engages students and the community to leverage hyperspectral imaging to address harmful algae blooms; and a federal agency, U.S. Trade Development Agency, that provides grant funding to support U.S. businesses in emerging markets around the world.
Join us for an exciting discussion of unique models of innovation and entrepreneurship and the agencies that support their growth.


Professor Loiuse Manfredi

Louise Manfredi, Assistant Professor, Industrial and Interaction Design, College of Visual and Performing Arts, School of Design, Syracuse University

Dr. Louise Manfredi is an assistant professor of industrial and interaction design at Syracuse University, New York and a newly appointed Syracuse CoE Faculty Fellow. Dr. Manfredi is focusing on two new areas of research interest (1) sustainable material testing, development, and adoption and (2) finding methods to improve the working relationship between designers and STEM practitioners. Both research agendas are woven through her teaching; she is always seeking innovative academics and industry partners to work with to create more immersive learning experiences for her students. Prior to Syracuse University, Dr. Manfredi was an assistant professor at Millersville University of Pennsylvania, and a postdoctoral scholar in neuroscience and biomechanics, and entrepreneurship fellow at the University of Chicago. She holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering (2011) and a B.Des. in product design (2006) from the University of Leeds, UK.


Nikita Chatterjee ’20, Co-founder & CEO, PAANI, B.S., Economics, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University

Nikita is a rising senior, studying Economics at Syracuse University. She is originally from a small town in North Jersey, and the eldest daughter to two immigrants from Kolkata and Mumbai, India. As a first-generation college student, Nikita credits her success in part to the entrepreneurial resources provided by Syracuse University. After graduation, she plans to go into financial consulting in the healthcare industry in India where she sees a great need due to low availability of resources.

Brianna Howard ’20Co-founder, PAANI, B.S., Public Health, The David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, Syracuse University

Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, Syracuse University
Brianna is a first generation college student from Queens, NY. As a Public Health major at Syracuse University, her passion is to advocate for underserved communities who lack access to the proper resources and tools necessary to live a healthy life. Brianna’s first exposure to global health began on a trip to South Africa in high school where she worked with a non-profit to promote access to education. In the future she hopes to work on similar projects like this to empower communities globally. In whatever career path she chooses, her goal will always be to save and impact lives as well as to give a voice to the people who are most often silenced.

Jamie Newtown, Director of Innovation, Ramboll

Mr. Newtown is the Director of Innovation at OBG (Part of Ramboll). In this position Mr. Newtown manages the Company’s ideation and execution process. As a founding member, he worked to establish the program, grow support for innovation initiatives through cultural activities such as SPARK and I-Factor, and identify ways to leverage the collective intelligence of the Company to differentiate from the competition. Responsibilities have included strategy and action plan development, leadership of the Innovation & Technology Committee, digitalization development, and evaluation of new business models stemming from the great ideation developed within the organization. Mr. Newtown also serves as the resource manager for a group of environmental, health, and safety (EHS) compliance practitioners. This group provides technical delivery of solutions for clients.

David Riposo, Financing & Implementation Manager, U.S. Trade and Development Agency

As the Financing & Implementation Manager for the U.S. Trade and Development Agency’s sub-Saharan Africa team, David Riposo directs a portfolio of more than 70 clean energy projects in sixteen African markets. Mr. Riposo’s portfolio features a spectrum of technologies and scales, from gas infrastructure in the Niger delta to utility-scale wind and solar projects in frontier markets and portfolios of mini-grids in remote communities. Before joining USTDA, Mr. Riposo led donor-funded energy access programs in Africa and South Asia for five years, including a USAID-funded cookstove market development program that led to the deployment of 40,000 fuel efficient stoves in Bangladesh. Previously, he was a strategy consultant advising companies and governments on clean energy markets and technologies. His professional experience also includes establishing a renewable energy consulting business in India and helping hundreds of wind and solar project developers define the pre-construction energy generation potential of their projects. Mr. Riposo earned a B.S. from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry and an M.S. from the University of Maryland, College Park.