Greek organization Corallia helps small businesses grow and conquer global markets through a network of business accelerators and mentoring programs.
In this episode of Smart Regions, we met the people behind Corallia, a unit of the Athena Research Center in Greece that brings together high-tech clusters, business incubators and extensive entrepreneurship programs. Corallia’s goal is to help local businesses and start-ups grow from scratch and reach the international stage.
Corallia works with more than 500 innovative companies and has created three high-tech clusters, an attractive proposition for investors, who have so far injected more than €500 million of private and foreign investment into the organization.
Corallia Senior Director Nancy Liva said the company’s goal is to “connect businesses of all sizes, universities, research centers, business angels and financial institutions.”
“Our role is to be a cluster facilitator and bring all these players together to collaborate and grow their businesses.”
Corallia notably facilitates business growth by supporting STARTAB, an entrepreneurship program designed for young “start-uppers”. As part of this program, they have the opportunity to participate in seminars and benefit from a mentor to promote their ideas and projects.
Komitis Stavros is a young start-up who participated in the program and told Euronews that before joining STARTAB he only had a “general idea” of what he wanted to do with the company, but the program gave him a “more precise idea of the tasks on which (he) should concentrate (his) energy and time”.
Corallia also supports various accelerator programs, including Enter Grow Go (EGG), sponsored by Eurobank, the most successful business accelerator in Greece.
For example, one startup that grew up here is an automated smart farm that lets you grow lettuce indoors without soil.
The success of Corallia
Between 2007 and 2020, the project “Corallia Creation and Development of the Hellenic Technology Cluster Initiative” received 36 million euros in EU funding, and Corallia is now considered one of the top 15 EU-funded programs in Europe.
But Corallia’s success can also be measured in other ways; he has won numerous awards and was even nominated for the latest RegioStars prices, having been preselected in 2009 in the “Research, Technological Development and Innovation” category.
Christina Vassilopoulou, director of Corallia, told Euronews that they were helping the country “focus on indicators such as high-skilled employment, new patents, trademarks and industrial property rights as well as new products, new services and new synergies”.
To provide an overview of the rich variety of companies supported by Corallia, one successful company is SaMMY, a technology platform that brings global digital transformation to marinas and connects them to maritime travelers. Through their app, sea travelers can reserve a berth, guided by real-time data on free spaces in sensor-based marinas.
Ioannis Kostopulos of SaMMY explained that he plans to expand this innovation across Greece and the world, thus achieving Corallia’s goal of helping Greek companies spread their wings and conquer global markets.