ECONOMY

How to use the 2004 Olympics to promote business

The Ministry of Economy and Finance wants to use the 2004 Olympics as an opportunity to attract foreign direct investment, an ambitious scheme, as Giorgos Zanias, general secretary of the ministry said yesterday. The team which has undertaken to promote the initiative is composed of Zanias, Costas Kartalis, general secretary for the Olympic Games, Odysseas Kyriakopoulos, chairman and chief executive of the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV), Drakoulis Fountoukakos, chairman of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EVEA), Costas Papadimitriou, head of the Hellenic Center for Investment, Dimitris Mardas, head of the Export Promotion Organization (OPE) and Evangelos Penglis, adviser to Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis. The team met yesterday to decide on its next moves. There is already a webside on the Business Initiative. It was decided to link it with the Olympic organizers’ site (www.2004.com). It was also decided to lease the Armed Forces’ Officers’ Club, at the corner of Vassilissis Sofias Avenue and Rigillis Street, and use it as a business club. Another building to be used for that purpose is the National Bank of Greece building in the seaside suburb of Glyfada which will be used for seminars by the Hellenic Center for Investment. There is another program designed to highlight Greek businesses producing modern, hi-tech products. This program will be managed by the Export Promotion Organization, in cooperation with SEV and the Development Ministry’s General Secretariat for Research and Development. An exhibition of the products of such enterprises will be staged concurrently with the Olympics, next August. A third program called «Olympic bridge: Athens 2004-Beijing 2008» will promote the Olympics-related know-how acquired by Greek companies to Beijing in the hope that they will be chosen to undertake Olympics-related projects in China. A list of all Greek suppliers to Athens 2004, the Games’ organizers, will be the basis on which enterprises will be presented to the Beijing organizers as likely partners. Two other programs will invite 30 businessmen of Greek descent and 20 known representatives of the international financial press to spend time in Greece, including during the Olympics.