FNF Greece: Setting future entrepreneurs on the right track

Only one day after The State of the European Union speech by President Juncker and the update on the European Investment Plan, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) launched the four-day “2nd Entrepreneurship Academy” in Nafpaktos, Greece.

family-photoAfter the successful first workshop in 2015 four partners joined forces to discuss about entrepreneurship and business spirit with 26 young entrepreneurs who just started their own start-up or are in the process of preparing their business plan. To this extend, FNF was supported by the Institute for Development and Education (IMEDA), the Academy for Freedom and Democracy, and the Centre of Volunteer Managers of Greece (KEMEL).

The courses of the seminar included a concise introduction to entrepreneurship, testing the effectiveness of a product or service idea, familiarizing with the use of the Business Model Canvas, learning how to compose business plans, marketing strategies and finding the most suitable funding platform.

Dr. Kostas Theodoropoulos, economist and risk analyst of a big banking group, presented the objectives of the summer academy, mentioning the significance of new entrepreneurs to the Greek economy. Furthermore, he offered technical information on how to run successfully a business explaining the requirements on resources, skills, planning and well educated human capital. Moreover, Dr. Theodoropoulos contextualized the tools for funding an investment, presenting other sources beyond the regular banking loans such as micro- and crowdfunding.

class-2Vasilios Peratzakis, entrepreneur and e-business specialist, introduced digital entrepreneurship and electronic services. He referred to the capabilities of the electronic services for either sales or administration, explaining how they can build or improve a company’s profile helping in its sustainability.

Dr. Lili Christoforidou, corporate consultant and “Horizon 2020” specialist, spoke about European funding and how to reach it. She explained that there is a wide palette of European platforms available for small and medium enterprises that they could help Greek individuals and companies especially today that the banks are very reluctant in giving loans. Furthermore, she presented the steps on preparing proposals for these platforms using examples from successful case studies.

classPantelis Lamprou, Executive Director of the Athens Stock Market (ATHEX), focused on the notions of effectiveness and efficiency. He began with macroeconomic data for Greece reaching gradually to the investment risk, competences and competitiveness in a constantly changing/demanding economic environment. He then turned to frequent mistakes done by new start-uppers, pointing out that – although failure is always a possibility – there are methods and models that can help people have a good performance.

In addition, the seminar hosted guests from institutions who presented their views on entrepreneurship. Sokratis Kostikoglou from Etoloakarnania’s Chamber of Commerce assessed the role of the Chamber by presenting annual economic results, and the benefits of acquiring membership. Vicky Missira from the European Commission’s representation in Greece presented the predictions of the Investment Plan for small and medium enterprises. She also simulated a proposal submission through the Commission’s website to help the participants get more familiar with the Plan’s portal.

stiliaras-honeyIn the context of the seminar, the group visited a local start-up and specifically Stiliaras’s Honey, a small company producing organic honey and bee products, exporting most of its production to Germany, Russia and the United States. Mr Stiliaras, founder and CEO of Stiliaras’s Honey, had a fruitful discussion with the participants, stating his initiatives, strategy, problems with bureaucracy, along his effort in building up a viable brand name in order to attract foreign markets. Last, the group paid a visit to the Castle of Nafpaktos, thanks to the courtesy of the Directorate of Antiquities of Aetoloakarnania, where they discussed the role of cultural heritage in development and growth.

Athanasios Grammenos
Pictures: FNF Greece