The article’s title is a new, important internet address I invite you to visit. It connects to a platform through which anybody who feels they belong to the growing community of innovative, creative Greeks abroad can participate in a dynamic network, and a joint effort for our country.
The Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), in cooperation with Endeavor Greece, have taken the initiative to create the Innovative Greeks’ community and to connect innovatively inclined Greeks around the world. Our ambition is to bring together managers at international corporations, successful startuppers, investors and researchers in a new, digital community that will share knowledge, connections and resources with fast-growing Greek startups. It is a process which is inextricably linked with our common prospects. Countries where innovation flourishes achieve higher growth rates and more sustainable growth models with higher resilience, while they also create better jobs and help raise prosperity throughout the economy and society. However, it is not enough to reflect on the (necessary) structural changes or to focus on abstract notions such as cooperation and networking; we also need to actually mobilize the innovation forces that already exist.
Over the last 10 years, the circumstances created by the long economic crisis have led to two noteworthy developments. First, many Greeks with high qualifications, knowledge and skills left the country and today work abroad, often in positions of responsibility in technology and innovation-intensive companies. Second, many new entrepreneurial endeavors were launched. Today they comprise a critically important mass of startups, and many of them, having successfully overcome their teething problems, are growing and spreading, both in Greece and abroad. In fact, 2020 saw some of the greatest takeovers ever of Greek startups, such as Softomotive by Microsoft, InstaShop by Delivery Hero, and Think Silicon by Applied Materials. Today, the startup market in Greece has a high – and rising – capitalization of around €4 billion.
Our new initiative for the creation of a large, interactive community of innovative Greeks from this critically important entrepreneurial ecosystem complements a wide range of existing SEV initiatives for more knowledge and innovation in Greek businesses. From connecting research to industry, digitalization, industrial PhDs and others, we strive to increase their innovation capacity and to improve their ability to compete in the demanding and complex global market.
We kick off with the first Innovative Greeks’ Digital Conference on March 2-3, with the aim of strengthening the ecosystem so that it increases its capitalization beyond €10 billion and creates 50,000 new jobs. It is an ambitious but realistic goal which can help change Greece.
Alexandros Chatzopoulos is general director of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV).