ATHENS – Eleven of Greece’s most promising startups, led by dynamic young entrepreneurs in many fields, had the opportunity to present their project to local and international investors at the 5th Annual Hellenic Initiative Business Fair at the Athens Hilton on July 1.
Leaders and members of THI, a non-profit organization active in the Hellenic diaspora from Australia to America to London, traveled to Athens to meet the talented young people and some participated as judges to the competition whose first round narrowed the group of companies down to its five most impressive and finally – the judges heard they were all good – to the most prestigious new firm.
Guests were welcomed, organizers and cooperating groups were thanked, and entrepreneurs were congratulated by THI President and industrialist Andrew N. Liveris in his opening remarks, THI President and renowned attorney George P. Stamas in his closing remarks, and the organization’s executive director, Peter Poulos, who shared moderating duties with the Athens-based program director, Michael Printzos.
THI contributes to the creation of a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in Greece. The young Hellenic entrepreneurs represented by the 60 companies that have participated in Venture Fair so far are a mix of descendants who are taking family businesses to new levels and new worlds and pioneers who are starting from scratch.
Conversations from judges and guests were full of enthusiasm and contrasting critiques – appreciated by the young people – during the event’s valuable networking receptions.
Representatives from the 11 startups were happy to meet and connect even though for one afternoon they were competitors at THI’s Venture Garden. (Photo by TNH/Constantine S. Sirigos)
The 2019 winning company is Beenova, whose “personalized AI-infused platforms” for students are at the forefront of an educational revolution.
The next five largest companies are: Apiceuticals, whose methodology turns bee products into skincare products that neutralize free radicals, Centaur, whose cutting-edge food monitors tackle waste in the supply chain food, and Excellon, whose products aim to disrupt the banking sector. and empower consumers and businesses. Someyea seeks to help solve the looming global protein shortage through algae-generated animal feed supplements.
The other companies are also promising and have inspiring stories.
With Inomo, Vivian Parashou took her family business experience in fiberglass products and created a company that creates innovative, high-end furniture sought after by architects and the hospitality industry.
Restitution, according to George Zachartzis, “will change the way found objects are handled in hotels. Every day, 8 million people check out and 50,000 leave something behind; » he says his solutions are a win-win for hotels and guests.
Massive Grid helps protect companies’ IT infrastructures, and Xtapod helps IT companies recruit and retain top IT talent, particularly in Athens, whose international reputation has grown by leaps and bounds. Quanta & Qualia seeks “to be a leader in the technological field by connecting the invisible and the visible through its products”.
PD Neurotechnology reflects the strong presence of Greeks in the biomedical field. Their “innovative medical device and sophisticated expert system” that helps doctors monitor Parkinson’s patients “through lightweight monitoring devices that patients wear on different parts of their body” has impressed investors and researchers. large medical institutions. Its “glove” which follows the vital movements of the fingers is fascinating.
Venture Garden also included an informative conference on the challenges and opportunities of Greece’s economic development, led by Marcos Veremis and Nicholas Papapolitis. Kurt Heiar, the serial entrepreneur affiliated with the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, addressed the gathering and expressed his enthusiasm for the young Greek entrepreneurs he meets and works with.
All participants demonstrated a balanced dose of optimism and realism. The most encouraging message is that Greeks, especially the younger generation, are finally mastering the vital skill of collaboration and working together and appreciating the power of creating great teams. Over the years, the presentation skills of the participants have also improved significantly.
Lawyer Elina Paraskevopoulou, who helps members of the diaspora navigate the Greek environment, highlighted some advantages and disadvantages. Even though the long-awaited “one-stop shop” for startups is finally here, she said, the process of gathering the necessary paperwork before making that stop can still be a nightmare — but law firms can help.
One of the judges was Cleo Limberis, Investor Relations Director of Mytilineos, SA. She moved to Greece in 2001 after growing up in New York and was introduced to THI by her sister and board member, Dr. Stella Lymberis. “It was very rewarding and inspiring to see the level of talent that exists here. The entrepreneurial community is booming,” she said, adding that with the help of the diaspora, there will be many success stories.
Artemis Kohas, who works with THI and is an entrepreneur in the mastiha business herself, told TNH: “This is my first Venture Fair and I am excited to see the teams presenting their projects and the people who want to see them succeed and create many jobs in the sector. Greece.”
According to thehellenicinitiative.com, THI is “a global movement of the Greek diaspora. Our mission: to invest in the future of Greece through direct philanthropy and economic revitalization… We empower people to alleviate the crisis, encourage entrepreneurs and create jobs. Since 2010, it has distributed or committed $8.7 for economic and entrepreneurial development.
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