Passionate professionals

It takes a special and committed group of people to create an environment and program like iAccelerate.

Our people are passionate professionals who believe deeply in the potential of our programs and residents to drive a revolution in innovation and technology – in our region, the nation and beyond.

They’re a fundamental part of our community, living and breathing our vision to create sustainable positive change.

Don’t underestimate the power of your vision to change the world. Whether that world is your office, your community, an industry or a global movement, you need to have a core belief that what you contribute can fundamentally change the paradigm or way of thinking about problems.

– Leroy Hood

Meet our people

Discover who they are and what they’re about below, drop them a line or connect on LinkedIn.

Omar Khalifa

Omar Khalifa

Chief Executive Officer, iAccelerate

Omar Khalifa is the CEO of iAccelerate, and is driven by fuelling new ideas through innovation and collaboration. Omar has a passion for entrepreneurship particularly in the in the social enterprise and sustainability space and is driven by the possibilities that the interception of creativity and technology can deliver to innovation. Omar’s vision for iAccelerate is to create a place where artists, students from all disciplines, researchers and the community can rub shoulders and get exposed to new ideas to create sustainable businesses in the Illawarra. Omar has had a diverse career working with many businesses undergoing transition and growth, delivering new products and services in digital and technology-driven sectors including Apple Computer; Hewlett Packard; Optus; Telstra BigPond; Citigroup; and the Business Council for Sustainable Development. 

Chris Petersilge

Chris Petersilge

Ecosystem Evangelist

I am the Ecosystem Evangelist for iAccelerate: Helping share our 14-week Educate program with our regional partners, like the Bega Valley Innovation Hub. I also look after our networks of mentors, investors, and international partner programs. You can find me at events around Wollongong and regional Australia.

Astha Singh

Astha Singh

Marketing Communications and Events Manager, iAccelerate

Astha’s background is from the marketing and communications space of the scientific research, innovation and academic industry, she specialises in leveraging the digital environments, PR and media tactics to strategically market to, and reach a niche or wide variety of target audience. At iAccelerate Astha is responsible for implementing marketing and communications plans, event management and assistance in the development of the Innovation Ecosystem in the Illawarra. I’m adept at identifying emerging trends relating to young talent interaction with research commercialisation and innovation and managing programs to address them across multiple industries including tertiary education and startup ecosystems. Astha’s ability to inspire and foster robust relationships through clear cut communications form the foundation of her skill set.

John Kerr

John Kerr

Program Manager, iAccelerate

As Program Manager I am responsible for the relationship management and execution of startup engagement at iAccelerate from pre-program entry (recruiting & pipeline management), their journey through the program, and post-program support. I support businesses already based at iAccelerate by focussing on creating the best possible environment in which early-stage companies can grow and succeed, particularly through business coaching and business plan oversight.

Amira Antoun

Amira Antoun

Educate Program Manager, iAccelerate

Hi I’m Amira, Educate Program Manager for iAccelerate.  I’ve been with iAccelerate for 4 years, initially as the Executive Assistant to the CEO and then moving into the role of iAccelerate Educate Program Manager.  My role is to ensure the Educate Program runs smoothly as well as being the point of contact for iAccelerate Mentors and support and assist startups through the program from the start until they are ready for the Pitch Final. Prior to being with iAccelerate I worked with UOW for 2 years in the Business Faculty and Human Resources Unit.  Prior to that I worked overseas for multi-national companies such as Technip-Italy, Technip Offshore UK Limited and Strategy& (previously Booz Allen Hamilton).

Moira Buckley

Moira Buckley

Office Manager and Executive Assistant to CEO iAccelerate

I joined iAccelerate in 2017 as the full time Office Manager and Executive Assistant to the CEO, Omar Khalifa. My background is working in various state and federal government administrative roles. I am the Executive Assistant to the CEO, managing diary, travel and visitors, and executive administrative support. My role as Office Manager includes managing visitors and contractors to the building,  accounts payable and receivable, IMTS and records management, reception supervision and support, administrative and project support to the staff at iAccelerate. Additionally,   I contribute to events management and communication activities. 

Jonathan Chicharo

Jonathan Chicharo

Administrative Assistant

Hi I’m Jonathan, I am an Administrative Assistant at iAccelerate. I assist in the execution of administrative, operational and office management roles. You can find me sitting at reception in the iAccelerate Centre. My background is in Management.

Get in contact

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