Initiate! Young Talent Programme

Download the 2017 Initiate! brochure here

The Initiate! Young Talent programme strives to connect the bright and eager minds with the industry in an effort to spark debate and enable collaboration between them and the more established industry professionals.  

Part inspirational, part educational, the programme gives the chance to the next generation leaders to connect to the industry and learn first-hand from their peers and the professionals in the field, walking away with industry ideas and knowledge that they can put to use right away.

In 2017, 200 free Summit tickets were granted to students with the ambition to make an impact and innovate the industry. They were actively engaged by attending and participating in the Summit, the Hub Sessions and Workshops, and were involved in the Young Talent Award.

Students and young professionals (<35) interested in working at a utility applied to join the Young Talent Programme and joined us in Amsterdam for EUW17!

Please click here to view the Initiate! Young Talent time table.

Get in touch with us if you have any questions!

The 2017 Game Changing Impact Challenges were designed to support the leverage and experiences for Master School students in undertaking typical and real challenges within the energy sector.

InnoEnergy, working in partnership with The GC Index® and Enterprise Lab®, delivered the challenge during Initiate! - European Utility Week 2017

The aim of the challenge was to provide real life experiences to students on typical challenges the industry faces and combine this with innovation and design thinking processes for the participants to deliver a response. There were 100 students participating, spread across 4 challenges and each challenge had approximately 5 teams.

This was an intense, fast-paced programme that put pressure on the teams to work fluidly and methodically.

At the end of the challenge each team presented their solution/response to a panel which consisted of representation from the 4 mentoring companies - Energinet, E.ON, Engie and XTN Group.

Click here for the 2017 programme and challenge info.

2017 Young Talent Programme participants were asked to write an abstract answering the below question:

"The road to a Clean-Economy: Given that innovative clean-power solutions are proliferating and changing the way we produce and use energy (for example: the roof of your house can now provide the fuel for your car), what other developments do you think will contribute to bending the curve of GHG emissions by 2020?”

The challenge was supported by Mission 2020.

The winner was chosen by a panel of judges and announced during the award ceremony during Initiate!

Congratulations to the 2017 winner!


The pitch of Nikolaos Alexandros Kritikos, InnoEnergy MSc Student, convinced the judges to grant him the award! 

His idea focused on 'holistic solutions in agriculture and how they can help, apart from reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in multiple other environmental, societal and economical aspects', as he explained us after receiving the award.

Congratulations, Nikolaos!


These were the nominees for the Young Talent Award 2017:

  • Yann Van Crombrugge, Centrica, Student Chemical Engineering with Business Management Studies
  • Rudolph Santarromana, InnoEnergy, Masters Student
  • Ivan Andric, IMT Atlantique, PhD candidate
  • Diana Fernandes, Instituto Superior Técnico, Student
  • Nikolaos Alexandros Kritikos, InnoEnergy, MSc Student

The Young Talent Winner prize includes:

  • Extensive media coverage
  • A complimentary flight and free ticket to European Utility Week 2018
  • Panelist slot in the European Utility Week 2018 Programme
  • Speaking opportunity in European Utility Week 2018 Programme


Kathleen Gaffney, Managing Director at Navigant
Moderator of the Judging Panel

Kathleen Gaffney is a Managing Director in Navigant’s Global Energy practice based in London. She currently leads business development activities focused on consumer engagement and demand-side policy and programmes. Prior to joining Navigant, Kathleen has held several international positions focused on demand-side market development in Europe, APAC and North America. For example, she recently led an assessment of the UK’s Electricity Demand Reduction scheme and designed a residential behaviour change trial for a UK DNO, and she produced the Demand-Side Management Strategic Plan for Ergon Energy in Queensland, Australia. Kathleen has more than 25 years’ experience directing similar activities in the US and Canada.


Laetitia Ouillet, Director - Strategic Energy Area, TU Eindhoven

Laetitia Ouillet (38) director of TU/e - Strategic Area Energy. She worked for different energy utilities in diverse positions, under which that of Director of Corporate Strategy of Eneco until end 2016 . She studied Applied Economics at the Université Paris Dauphine (France) and gained her postgraduate degree in Strategic Business Analysis and her Master’s in European Environmental Regulation from Lancaster University (UK). She also completed a post-academic specialization in Dutch and European Competition Law at the Grotius Academy.

Director, TU/e - Strategic Area Energy
Chair, NERA working group  
Alliance Director, Alliance University Utrecht  

Maikel van Verseveld, CEO, OMNETRIC Group

Previously managing director for Accenture Smart Grid Services in Europe, Africa & Latin America, Maikel van Verseveld is an industry expert with a dedicated focus on smart grids. Maikel has more than 15 years’ experience consulting utilities throughout Europe. He has worked across all facets of the utility industry.

Check out the previous winners here

More about Initiate!