Senior ministers yesterday officially inaugurated the Athens Business Club (ABC) 2004, a business matching and marketing service designed to tap the potential for the promotion of foreign investment and trade during the Olympic Games. «The unique opportunity that the Olympic Games offer for the promotion of the country, its economic advantages and its large potential abroad has to be tapped at the business level as well,» said Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis. ABC 2004, under the slogan «Let’s Talk Business During the Games,» aims at networking Greek and foreign enterprises through a special website (www.abc2004.gr). Firms registering as members online can establish links and «matchmake» with a view to exploring commercial and investment deals. «The forum is part of a more general effort to make the Greek economy more outward-looking, competitive and dynamic,» said Alogoskoufis. The club is the product of a collaboration of the Economy and Finance Ministry, the Hellenic Center for Investment (ELKE), Athens 2004, the organizers of the Olympic Games, the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV), the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO) and the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry. ABC 2004 is housed in the Sarogleion Mansion, the armed forces’ Officers Club on Rigillis Street, not far from Syntagma Square. During the Games, which start today, ABC 2004 will host about 100 business and social events for foreign visitors on business opportunities in Greece, the main sectors of the economy and the regions. These include: – Presentations and networking sessions hosted by leading organizations, industrial and service companies. – Luncheons and dinners bringing together top Greek and international business leaders with members of the Greek government. – The Greek Innovation and Technology Showcase, for competitive firms in advanced technology sectors with a strong export potential. The program includes an exhibition of Greek company participants at the training center of the National Bank of Greece in Glyfada. – «Bridge: Athens 2004 – Beijing 2008,» aimed at establishing links for the development of economic and business cooperation with Chinese firms. ABC 2004 is open daily until August 29, from 8 a.m. to midnight. Club members will have access to two spacious business lounges and various media services. «Greece during the Games will be a country with international projection, more experience and modern infrastructure. We have already embarked on a new course. We are promoting a new economic and growth policy, the foundations of which we are ready to lay in the near future,» said Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas. About 2,000 Greek and foreign firms have registered with ABC 2004. Most of them are foreign, and telecommunications is the sector that has shown the strongest interest (158 enterprises). The next two largest categories are clothing (89) and food and beverages (78). The total includes 135 companies from the US, 133 from Bulgaria, 111 from Germany, 105 from the UK, 59 from Australia and 56 from Italy.