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About Us

Ocean Community is an inclusive global community and platform, for ocean caring people, innovators and entrepreneurs to connect, learn, innovate and to shape our community acting in the best interest of the ocean.

We provide learning programs and knowledge, to increase ocean awareness, support choices in daily life,

to influence regulators, and as the foundation for innovation.

Ocean Community Challenge invites early stage innovators and ideas into a structured program including master-classes, training sessions and coaching from experts together with individual mentorships. The selected teams are awarded with customised pre-acceleration programs and/or guided into a partner accelerator program and investor conversations based on solution viability and business model maturity. Focusing on early teams and ideas, we fill a void in the ocean innovation ecosystem for early innovators and ideas with impact potential that are not yet accelerator- or investor ready.

We are registered as a Portuguese legal non-profit Associacao Ambiental, NIPC 516.014.374, operating under EU law.

Our board is presented below. Our by laws can be found here.

Individual Members are welcome without mandatory membership fees.

Our Associate Member program has been launched 2024 to welcome Business and Institutions sharing our cause, to support Ocean Community outreach, operations, knowledge- and open innovation program management.

Our Team 

We are a team of seasoned professionals with extensive experience across various industries and geographies. Our expertise spans innovation, business development, digitalisation, business transformation, operations, internationalisation, program management, investments, and start-up ventures.
Our academic backgrounds are diverse, including degrees in marine sciences, technology, innovation, leadership, international business, finance, marketing, media, and communications.
United by our passion for the ocean and planet-friendly innovation, we are committed to driving sustainable solutions and impactful actions for a better world.

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Founder & Partnerships

Presidente da Direcção

Susanne Wedin-Schildt

  • LinkedIn

Susanne brings extensive experience in leading teams across diverse markets and industries. With a career spanning large enterprises and top Global Management Consulting firms, she has served as a trusted advisor to CxOs on strategic assignments. Susanne is passionate about harnessing IT to drive sustainable business growth and is currently focused on sustainable and regenerative innovation.

She is actively involved in various business, advisory, and jury boards within the green and blue sectors. A dedicated advocate for the environment, Susanne moved from Sweden to Portugal in 2020 with a mission to protect and sustainably utilize the ocean. She is also a sailor and enjoys surfing and hiking along the Portuguese Silver Coast. Beyond her professional achievements, Susanne is a devoted animal lover and a champion of plant-based living, committed to creating a sustainable future for all.

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Christina Friberg

Co-Founder & 

Secretário da Direcção

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Christina has extensive experience in management roles and leadership positions in the finance industry and global consulting firms, specializing in business and product development, innovation, corporate strategy, and change management. A thought leader and expert in the payments industry, she has held various CxO positions. A lifelong resident near the Swedish coastline, Christina is passionate about ocean sports, particularly sailing. Her primary focus is on addressing environmental and food challenges through innovative solutions and sustainable, circular economic models. Christina is dedicated to tackling the UN's Sustainable Development Goals by identifying promising start-up ideas and creating compelling business cases for investors.

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Mafalda de Freitas

Chief Marine Scientist

  • LinkedIn

Mafalda is a Marine Biologist with degrees in Marine Biology from University of St Andrews in Scotland and a Master in Marine Acoustics from Aarhus University in Denmark. She has worked in a number of research projects that used innovative technologies to study marine mammals. Mafalda has worked as Project Manager for Peniche Ocean Watch where exciting projects for fishing net recycling and ocean tech amongst others were developed and deployed. Mafalda now holds the position as Environmental Scientist at Hawaii Pacific University. Mafalda is passionate about translating science into applied innovation in the Ocean space.

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Vanessa Domingos

Chief Knowledge Officer,

Presidente, Conselho Fiscal

  • LinkedIn

Vanessa was born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal, and from early years enjoyed camping during summer holidays near the beach. She still captures energy from the ocean engaging in water sports such as swimming and surfing, and she also has a coastal boat license. Vanessa holds an MSc in Chemical Engineering - Quality & Environment and a Postgraduate Degree in Integrated Quality, Environment Management Systems. She has been working for the Pharmaceutical Industry for the past 14 years where her main tasks include project management and laboratory team supervision. She is committed to sharing ocean knowledge as the foundation for everyone to enable ocean friendly decisions.

Vanessa is passionate about the environment, sustainability and Blue Circular Economy projects - protecting the Ocean.

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Sanne Persson

Chief Social Media Officer

  • LinkedIn

Born and raised in a small seaport in the south of Sweden, the ocean has been constant in Sanne's life; both as a place for recreation as well as a creator of livelihood for the community. Sanne holds a B.A in Media and Communication Studies and a B.S.c in Business and Economics with a major in Business Administration. She has completed a communications internship in Lisbon at the Swedish-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce, worked as communications officer and her day time job is now as marketing coordinator for a Swedish' knowledge company. 

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Rimmie Duraisamy

Chief Web Officer

and Community Lead

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Rimmie comes from the western coast of India and has been living in Sweden since 2015. She has a background in Mechanical engineering and has experience from working in the automotive industry. Rimmie is currently pursuing her PhD in the field of Wave Energy Harvesting systems at KTH, Stockholm. Through her work, she aims at solving the challenges involved in the design and development of ocean energy harvesting.

Rimmie can’t resist the charm of the Scandinavian outdoors, enjoys long hikes and loves to be around animals. Having recently taken diving lessons, she is looking forward to true blue underwater adventures. 

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Frida was born in the northern part of Swedish Lapland. She has always enjoyed spending time in nature, and the ocean and rivers of the north will always hold a special place in her heart. Frida is studying a Degree of Master of Science in International Business at Umeå University in Sweden. She studied one year in the California Bay Area and one exchange semester at NOVA School of Business and Economics in Lisbon, Portugal. Frida is passionate about sustainable business growth, management and marketing and is committed to being a part of the solution - for our blue planet. 

Frida Olovsson

Ocean Ambassador Leader

Digital Marketing Projects  

  • LinkedIn
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Karen is a recent bachelor graduate in International Studies and Economics from the University of Oslo. While she grew up around the Trondheimsfjord, Norway, she has spent 1.5 years of her life in Eastern Canada, studying and working as an intern at the Norwegian Embassy in Ottawa. Her love for the ocean and ocean sports has been with her throughout her life, and she has competed nationally in flat water kayaking. During her exchange semester at NOVA SBE, Lisbon, this interest was revitalized through surfing. Karen is passionate about bringing forward blue and green solutions through supporting innovative and sustainable business ideas and promoting the circular economy principles.

Karen R. Østgaard 

Ocean Community Challenge Leader

  • LinkedIn

Advisors and Jury Members

Our competent and experienced advisors support us and our Start-Up entrepreneurs on their venture journey

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Anette Nordvall

Venture Partner, Butterfly Ventures

Anette leads the OCC Jury Assembly and is an active early stage tech investor focusing on ICT and deep-tech science based innovation while adding global environmental goals into the mist.  Anette has received multiple recognitions; One of Sweden’s most powerful tech investors 2016, Nordic 100 most influential persons 2018 and mentioned in EBAN 2018 report on 200+ most active Business Angels in Europe. Anette was crowned “Sweden’s nicest Business Angel” at Venture Cup Sweden 2018. Anette is a Partner at Stockholm Business Angels, Managing General Partner at Nordvest, Venture Partner at Butterfly Ventures, Chairwoman at “We Don’t Have Time”, Managing Partner and founding investor at Cross Nordic Capital and former Chapter President and CEO of Keiretsu Forum Nordics.

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Ann Carpenter

Founder & CEO, Braid Theory

Secretário, 

Assembleia Geral

Ann Lee Carpenter, the co-founder and CEO of Braid Theory, serves as an advisor to deep tech companies in ocean/maritime, transportation and goods movement, and related industrial sectors. She brings more than 30 years of experience in strategic planning, marketing, business development, and community outreach. Braid Theory, located at AltaSea in the Port of Los Angeles, focuses on efforts to grow a sustainable blue economy with pre-accelerator, accelerator and venture studio programs targeting blue economy entrepreneurs. These world leading programs connect seamlessly to Ocean Community Challenge for the awarded teams after completing OC acceleration preparation program, and final qualification assessment.

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Marcus Hølland Eikeland

Program Director & Partner, Katapult Ocean & Katapult Climate

Marcus has a background as angel investor and as a co-founder of 4 startups. He was the first hire in Katapult, and is leading their efforts in building the most comprehensive impact program in the world as the Program Director. Marcus also lead Katapults first white-label program in Copenhagen from 2018-2019. Marcus has double academic degrees;

Both MSc and MBA.

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Rita Sousa

Partner, Blue Pioneers Fund 

Rita Sousa is Partner at Faber Blue Pioneers Fund, an early-stage Fund, investing in the early stages of high potential deep-tech startups aiming for high positive impact on ocean sustainability and climate action. Rita has been working in VC for 7 years, is a jury member for the EIC/European Commission and has previously worked in energy & utilities, innovation and CRM consultancy. Rita is a Mechanical Engineer (IST), MSc. Energy/Environment (Strathclyde), MBA (AESE/IESE BS) and MiF (Católica BS).

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Ron Tardiff

World Economic Forum, Ocean Innovation Lead and Lighthouse Lead 1000OceanStartUps

Ron currently Leads the UpLink Ocean impact pillar of Friends of Ocean Action at the World Economic Forum in Geneva. Prior to this, he worked for Sustainable Ocean Alliance to build the world’s largest network of young ocean leaders. While engaging and empowering ocean youth from many angles, at the start of the pandemic Ron built the Ocean Solutions Microgrant Program, the first program in the world to provide small grants to youth-led ocean projects on a global scale. The program has funded more than 200 projects in more than 50 countries. Ron has conducted research, developed strategy, managed projects, and supported outreach for 11 organizations on issues ranging from fisheries governance to marine education. Ron is a marine ecologist with degrees in Marine Sciences, Maritime Studies, Aquaculture, Environment & Society, and holds a Master of Advanced Studies in Sustainable Blue Growth. He has studied at 8 universities and research institutions around the world and lived, worked or studied in 10 countries. Ron is a scientist and policy wonk at heart driven to improve ocean governance and innovation, increase equitable access to marine resources and services, and to restore ocean biodiversity. 

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Robin Teigland

Professor, Chalmers University of Technology and Founder, Peniche Ocean Watch 

Robin is Professor of Strategy and Management of Digitalization at Chalmers University of Technology. Apart from moving research forward, she has a long track record leading international projects, working with startups, digital transformation and implementation of digital technologies. Teigland is the Director of Ocean Data Factory in Sweden and as co-founder of the Ocean Tech Hub and @penicheoceanwatch, she co-initiated Ocean Community and is actively working to develop the blue circular economy in Peniche. 2017 and 2018 she was listed as one of the most influential women in tech in Sweden. In her free time, Robin enjoys surfing longboards waves and co-running her Ocean Tech Hub coworking/coliving space and Go4Surf school in Peniche, Portugal.

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Ingrid Maurstad

Impact Director,

Katapult Ocean 

Ingrid is the Katapult Ocean Impact Director, and she is passionate about ocean impact startups. Before she joined Katpult she worked in Ferd, investing in, and supporting social entrepreneurs. She has also extensive experience from financing and leading social inclusion projects in The Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports (NIF). Ingrid believes that companies with a positive impact on the world are the future, and that financially sustainable startups can scale great solutions for a thriving ocean.  

Start-Up Mentors and Experts

Our competent and experienced advisors support both our Community and our Start-Up entrepreneurs

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Ana Pinela

Blue Economy Expert & Consultant

 Ana has a Master and a PhD in Marine Sciences and Conservation of Biodiversity and over 15 years of experience working as a Researcher, Consultant and Project manager in international projects. Since 2018, after attending the Blue Growth Summer School of the University of Ghent, she has been focused and dedicated to coordinating and managing projects in the area of the Blue Economy. Ana has successfully led complex projects, including the "Atlantic Smart Ports Blue Acceleration Network" for the European Commission. She helps organizations foster sustainable practices and develop cutting-edge technologies, driving positive change for our oceans. She combines scientific expertise with innovative solutions to build a thriving Blue Economy.

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Pedro Cerdeira

Founder & MD,

Business Plug

Pedro is a mentor, advisor and business angel passionate about the startup ecosystem, bridging the gap between investors and startups and helping companies to scale and develop their business internationally. He has mora than 25 years of experience in the Enterprise IT market, held several senior international business development, sales management and alliances and channel management positions in Oracle, Brocade, EMC2, Compaq/HP, Alcatel and Accenture. He holds a MSc in Computer Engineering, and 2 post-grads, Advanced Management Program for Executives, and Advanced
Program in Entrepreneurship & Innovation Management.

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Jim Cooper

CEO, Blue-X

Jim Cooper has over 20 years of experience from start ups, market research, market intelligence and competitive analysis experience. Jim was co-founder and CTO for Braid Theory, an early stage start up advisory and consulting group in California, US with extensive traction in BlueTech. Jim also has a strong acumen innovation in the the field of Syntetic Bio. Jim is now the CEO for Sydney bases Blue-X.

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César Couto Ferreira

Fábrica do Futuro 

César is a Viacom and Vice Media Alumni and Co-Founder of Fábrica do Futuro in Porto Alegre, Brazil. This innovation hub mixes culture, arts and technology and has been granted a merit award from the city of Porto Alegre for its work with Innovation and Technology Development of the State of Rio Grande do Sul. César also Co-Founded ONG Instituto Fábrica focused on mental health and education. He is an Advisory Board Member of Enrich in Brazil and Co-Founder of TippingUP media activism organisation focused on SDGs2030. Mentor and advisor of several startups and scale-ups globally. César is a passionate scuba diver who embraces the ocean below the surface.

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Malin Friberg

Cabonline Group

Malin the Head of Strategy at Cabonline Group, and has past experience from Senior Management Consultant roles at CapGemini and Arthur D. Little's Strategy & Organization Team. Her experience spans across Commercial- and Technical domains delivering Vendor Due Diligence, IPO Prospectus, pre-merger strategy formulation and realization as well as growth strategy design, business plan creation and implementation. She has experience from both buy-side and sell-side with financial modelling and scenario construction. Malin is passionate about leading market change through state-of-the-art technology and holds a dual M.Sc. Degree in International Business and CEMS International Management from the Stockholm School of Economics and University of Sydney Business School. 

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Bjorgolfur Havardsson

The Seafood Innovation 

Cluster

Björgólfur is the Innovation Manager of The Seafood Innovation Cluster. He holds an MSc in aquaculture biology and has over 30 years of experience in all aspects of aquaculture in multiple geographies. He has an unbeatable network of industry actors globally and is dedicated to using his resources to push things forward, stimulating innovation, job creation, and sustainability.

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Miguel Knudsen

Aqua-Spark

Miguel Knudsen was born and raised in Cali, Colombia. He holds a Master in Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management from Wageningen University. Prior to Joining Aqua-Spark, Miguel has worked as an Analyst at Andino Capital and as a management trainee at Hendrix Genetics. Miguel is passionate about entrepreneurship and business. Besides this, he loves to scuba dive and he enjoys salsa dancing.

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Steffen Knodt

Deepblue Earth

Dr. Steffen Knodt is a seasoned entrepreneur with a focus on ocean impact. His work spans technology & innovation, corporate venturing and impact entrepreneurship, culminating in the founding of Deepblue Earth. As a founding member of the Africa-Europe Strategy Group on Ocean Governance, he bridges philanthropy, science, and business, collaborating globally to drive sustainable ventures in the blue economy. Dr. Steffen Knodt serves as the chairman of the German UN Ocean Decade Committee.

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Andre Almeida Santos

Indico Capital Partners

André Almeida Santos is passionate about social innovation and environmental sustainability. With over 20 years of experience across the private sector, development finance institutions, and academic research, André specializes in responsible investment solutions. His focus is on preserving ocean health through venture impact investment in the Blue Economy. André advises governments on pro-poor policies, leads high-impact investment operations, and supports impact-driven entrepreneurs. His expertise includes Responsible Investment, Venture Capital, Adaptive Leadership, and Impact Investing.

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Megan Sorby

Pine Island Redfish

Megan Sorby is the founder and CEO of Pine Island Redfish, leading its site selection, permitting, and biological preparation, including broodstock procurement and pilot production trials. With a Master’s in Sustainable Aquaculture from the University of Stirling and a BSc in Marine Biology and Chemistry from the University of Miami, she has nearly 20 years of experience in commercial aquaculture. Megan has specialized in new species development, land-based facility expansion, and broodstock management. Before Pine Island Redfish, she was Operations Manager for Kingfish Maine, establishing US operations and achieving their first harvest of 10,000 lbs in 2023.

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Benjamin Algreen Adler

Luminary Labs

Benjamin Algreen Adler leads innovation programs targeting high-tech sectors like space, AI/ML, geospatial data, and healthcare. His focus is on collaborative product development to tackle pressing societal challenges. Benjamin has facilitated the awarding of over $50M in nondilutive funding globally, working with government agencies and industry leaders. Notably, in Medellín, Colombia, he spearheaded the city's open data strategy and launched its first open data portal through public-private partnerships. Currently, Benjamin is involved in several grand challenges, including MagQuest, Neuromod Prize, and the Bezos Earth Fund's $100M AI for Climate and Nature challenge.

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Nickelle Presley

The Nature Conservancy

Nickelle Presley is an experienced tech professional deeply passionate about ocean health. As the Oceans Project Director for Conservation Innovation at The Nature Conservancy, she drives marine habitat restoration efforts. With a background in innovation strategy, Nickelle excels in expanding organizational impact and guiding growth. Previously, she led a Product organization at an EdTech startup, achieving a valuation over $1 billion. Now, Nickelle advises climate and ocean tech startups to scale sustainable solutions. She volunteers at marine centers and explores California's kelp forests, aiming to restore ocean health and promote stewardship. Interests include Ocean Tech, Climate Tech, and Sustainable Innovation.

Governance

General Assembly Board, Executive Board and Audit Board

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Mafalda de Taborda Lourenço

Nunes & Taborda Lourenço, Lawyers

Presidente, Assembleia Geral

Mafalda is the first chairwoman of the OCC Assembly Board, and an innovative and successful attorney. Mafalda is passionate about justice, court procedures and environmental responsibility. 

Mafalda has lived all her life by the ocean and is an active member of the Lourinhã coastal community and west coastal region in Portugal, contributing to ecological initiatives and promoting a zero-waste-lifestyle.

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Sérgio Leandro

SmartOCEAN Peniche and IPL Leira ESTM,

Primeiro Secretário da Assembleia Geral 

Sergio is the Director of the School of Tourism and Maritime Technology of Polytechnic Institute of Leiria (ESTM-IPLeiria) and Scientific coordinator of SmartOcean - Science and Maritime Technology Park, Peniche, Portugal. He is also a member of the MAB UNESCO Portuguese national committee and Co-Manager of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Berlengas. Sérgio is also a member of the MARE research unit, and a principal researcher of FCT Portugal and FEAMP projects within Marine Ecology, Marine Biotechnology, Fisheries and Aquaculture and Ocean Literacy. 

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Carlos Lobo

Founding Partner,

Lobo Carmona & Associados,

Secretário da Direcção

Carlos Lobo is a member of the OCC Executive Board with roots in the Silver Coast of Portugal and a strong advocate for SMART urbanization and digitalization of the Public Sector. Carlos has been a Partner and Manager at the Tax Department of EY Portugal and has held positions as Secretary of State for Tax Affairs, Deputy to the Office of the Minister of Finance and served as an Advisor to the Office of the Minister of Finance. Carlos has a PhD in Law and is a professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon, where he has also held positions as the Vice-rector and Pro-rector. Carlos is the Founding Partner of Lobo, Carmona and Associates in Lisbon.

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Valdemar Reis

Branch Manager,

Credit Agricola Bank,

Conselho Fiscal

Valdemar works as branch manager for Credit Agricola, also referred to as the "Green Bank" die to its historical ties to farming. It is the world's largest cooperative financial Institution.Valdemar is a strong promotor of environmental and social sustainability and sustainable ventures. He supports his local Portuguese community as President of A.M.A/

Associação musical da Atalaia.

Presented under "Team" and part of formal Governance Structure:

Susanne Wedin-Schildt, Presidente da Direcção
Christina Friberg, 
Secretário da Direcção
Vanessa Domingo, Presidente Conselho Fiscal

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