egg - enter•grow•go : A comprehensive, innovative program to support youth entrepreneurship | Eurobank
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egg - enter•grow•go : A comprehensive, innovative program to support youth entrepreneurship

The egg - enter•grow•go is a joint Corporate Social Responsibility initiative by Eurobank (www.eurobank.gr) and the Corallia (www.corallia.org) unit of the “Athens” research centre.

Greek youth entrepreneurship is full of ideas but faces many obstacles in its effort to put them into practice. Eurobank and Corallia, having identified the main obstacles, aspire to remove them, by providing the necessary tools that will help young people bring their business plans to life.

Today, the egg - enter•grow•go program invites young people between the ages of 18 to 35 years, who are university graduates or undergraduates and have an innovative business idea, as well as the passion to turn it into a successful business activity, to submit their candidacy to participate in the programme. The submission period ends on March 26, 2013.

The participants will be selected through a meritocratic process and will have access to an incubation, acceleration and co-working hub for a whole year. This includes various supportive activities and tools, such as: mentoring by distinguished businessmen and academics, with expertise in different segments of the economy; premises i.e. fully functional and equipped co-working business spaces near the centre of Athens; one-stop-shop support services for the start-up and operation of each participating team (including accounting, business management, human resources management, corporate identity and communication, copyright claim and protection, IT support, financial advisory services, networking with potential investors). Moreover, the programme offers business training through an intensive and practical training program (“business bootcamp”) of three months, which aims to equip participants with knowledge essential for their prospective careers as young entrepreneurs.

The program is run by Eurobank and Corallia managers and is supervised by an Advisory Board consisting of nine members, all distinguished academics, businessmen and experts. The members of the advisory board are: Merrs. Efthimios Vidalis, Dimitris Vlastos, George Doukidis, Nikos Ebeoglou, Michael Bletsas, Raphael Moisis, Theodore Papalexopoulos, Josef Sifakis and Mrs. Angeliki Frangou.

The Mentors will provide guidance on business growth to each participating team. They will meet with the teams on a regular basis and discuss the progress on the implementation of the business plans. In this first circle of the egg program, the mentors are: Fotis Antonopoulos, Marco Veremis, Vangelis Gerovassiliou, Panayotis Gezerlis, Fotis Draganidis, George Zenzefilis, Georgia Kartsanis, Ioannis Kikidis, George Korres, Ioannis Kotis, Konstantinos Lafkas, Ioannis Methodios, Costas Meimetis, Michael Nafpliotis, Onik Paladjian, Pericles Stamatiades, Vassilis Trapezanoglou, Alexandre Tsoukalis, Tasos Flambouras and Spyridon Fotinos.

Moreover, numerous leading businesses and institutions from the Greek and international markets act as Sponsors and Supporters to the programme, providing free services and equipment of the highest quality to the participating teams. ALBA, Advocate Burson-Marsteller, Cisco, Microsoft, PwC and Xerox are Sponsors, while ImageFlow/Polycom, Critical Path, MPLegal, Tribe and TÜV are Supporters.

During today’s press conference, Mr Michael Bletsas, Head of IT at MIT’s Media Lab and member of egg’s Advisory Board, made a reference to the importance of developing value-adding products and services as a key factor for Greece to remain among the developed countries. He stressed that: ‘entrepreneurship in the high technology sector is a good way to achieve this. Current global conditions are favorable. The most important favourable element is that information technology has democratized access to tools required in today’s production process’’.

Mr George Korres, founder of the KORRES Natural Products brand and mentor in the egg, spoke on the importance of mentoring in the growth of youth entrepreneursip.

Professor Vassilis Makios, General Manager of Corallia, stated that the aim of the egg is “to provide a vision to young people, a vision that is much needed in the current circumstance; to offer a practical solution to the problems facing aspiring, innovative entrepreneurs; to set an example so that other similar initiatives may be launched”. He added that: “what is at stake is to guide innovative entrepreneurs on their way to become the sparkle that will re-ignite the Greek economy and will bring wealth, both spiritual and material, to the country”.

On his part, Mr Stavros Ioannou, General Manager at Eurobank, said that: “we firmly believe that we do not lack innovative business ideas. This is evident in the success of Greeks in the field of research and in the development of business plans, which, unfortunately are most often implemented abroad - not in our country. There is no lack of funds, as some voices claim. In fact, there have been numerous programs for the funding of youth entrepreneurship, with no results. What is missing is the connective fiber, the right climate for the incubation of entrepreneurship, the proper guidance to the youth so that they may enter the business arena, to develop their business idea, to enter confidently in a competitive market. What is missing is comprehensive support in all the stages of ‘enter – grow – go’, i.e. the three stages that pave the way for entrepreneurial growth. This is what defined both the content and the name of the Program we are announcing today. We decided that there was a need, to put it simply, for someone ‘to take young entrepreneurs by the hand’ and guide them in the business arena. This is what we try to do in the egg’’.

An Open Day where those interested in participating in the program may be informed in full detail will be announced shortly on the Program’s website.

For more information, including the terms of participation and the entry form for candidates, kindly visit the program’s website: www.theegg.gr