This year signifies a decade of dedicated entrepreneurship, driven by our commitment to making a positive impact on society and the environment. Leveraging our knowledge and experience, we’re answering the pressing call for sustainable solutions. We are now expanding our network to include partners from private organizations and local bodies across Greece, as our community continues to thrive.
We’re tackling the issue of limited access to fundamental services and products in non-metropolitan areas. Our strategy involves strengthening existing entrepreneurial and innovation hubs while creating new ones within the rural Greece. In this way, we’re playing a role in promoting an entrepreneurial culture and businesses that enhance, enrich, and elevate the range of services and products available in these areas. We’re nurturing skills, cultivating opportunities, and bolstering networking through business support and acceleration programs with the aim of revitalizing the region through sustainable practices.
Rural Incubators: A Program Promoting Environmental Sustainability Through Entrepreneurship in Rural Greece
With a firm belief in the urgency of promoting solutions for environmental sustainability and social resilience at the grassroots level, we’ve initiated a groundbreaking program, supported by the Google.org Foundation. Our program is centered on fostering environmental sustainability and driving social innovation within smaller urban hubs throughout the country
The aim is to create and maintain an enduring network of business support organizations throughout Greece, extending their reach beyond the program’s completion. This network will place a strong emphasis on regions that have encountered profound environmental and economic hardships. These regions will remain in collaboration with Impact Hub Athens, actively contributing to the development and implementation of sustainable environmental solutions.
This distinct community of Rural Incubators comprises 8 organizations: The High Mountains – Northern/Southern Pindus, τη Bizrupt NGO – Regional Unit of Crete, τον Association of Active Youths of Florina – Western Macedonia, την Development Agency of Karditsa – Development Agency of Local Authorities, Etap Peloponnisos, and LightHub – Evros Chamber of Commerce.
Furthermore, we are actively fostering the development of entrepreneurial ecosystems focused on environmental sustainability in Kalamata and Epirus. These initiatives are carried out in partnership with Phaos Social Cooperative Enterprise and Boulouki, respectively.
RURAL INNOVATION BUSINESS CLINIC
Η διαδικασία των Business Clinics, ολοκληρώθηκε με μία massive clinic αφιερωμένη στην Καινοτομία στην Περιφέρεια. Φέραμε μαζί τη Symbeeosis και άλλες εξέχουσες ελληνικές εταιρείες με αναγνωρισμένες βιώσιμες πρακτικές, με κέντρα επιχειρηματικότητας σε ορεινές ή αραιοκατοικημένες περιοχές της Ευρώπης από το ευρωπαϊκό δίκτυο των Impact Hubs, αλλά και από τη χώρα μας, τα οποία συμμετέχουν στην προσπάθεια μας για την ενδυνάμωση της επιχειρηματικής κοινότητας στην ελληνική περιφέρεια.
The Business Clinics process culminated with a massive clinic focused on Rural Innovation. We brought together Symbeeosis and other prominent Greek companies known for their sustainable practices, with entrepreneurial hubs in rural and less densely populated areas across Europe, forming part of the European Impact Hub network, and also within Greece. These collaborations are integral to our mission of strengthening the entrepreneurial community in the Greek regions.
Athanassios Koutsianas – Impact Strategy VP at Symbeeosis
In collaboration with GrowCrete, Phaos, Etap Peloponnisos, OENEF and Boulouki, we explored opportunities for large companies to engage with such organizations. The objective is to establish connections with local producers and assist them in implementing circular and regenerative practices.
After the conclusion of the TENACITY EUROPEAN GATHERING, our European peers enjoyed a four-day journey to discover the splendor of rural Greece. They met with rural entrepreneurs and delved into the realm of sustainable development, along with the Impact Hub Athens team. Split into two groups, we collectively ventured into two extraordinary locations.
Mount Parnonas, Vamvakou, Peloponnese
We joined forces with Vamvakou Revival to curate an excursion as part of Vamvakou Incubator’s Demo Days – the first rural incubator within Greece.
Vamvakou Revival is committed to the reinvigoration of a quaint village housing a mere 24 inhabitants, with a broader mission to rekindle the vitality of its neighboring regions. Already, tangible outcomes are emerging, evident in the return of new residents and the unfolding of a strategy rooted in harnessing Mount Parnonas’ natural wealth, along with the endeavor to allure visitors.
As part of this partnership, we’ve cultivated an ecosystem dedicated to supporting and propelling entrepreneurial endeavors, expediting the rejuvenation of the region. During a workshop, the cohorts involved in the incubation program presented us with the “prototypes” of their upcoming services and products after 8 months of idea refinement, gathering invaluable feedback.
Furthermore, we embarked on an extraordinary journey centered around sustainable tourism and agriculture. Engaging in activities such as stargazing, cultivating and harvesting on eco-friendly farmlands, exploring unique hiking trails, enjoying a refreshing swim in a picturesque fishing village, and savoring local culinary delights and wines.
This visit was an unforgettable experience, characterized by the exchange of knowledge and ideas, offering valuable advice, and making a substantial contribution to the community’s revitalization.
The excursion to Santorini provided us with a unique opportunity to explore the island’s distinctive geology, biodiversity, and gain a new perspective.
We witnessed the magnificent sunset in Oia, engaged in path clearing efforts at Akrotiri, actively participated in cultivating caper seeds on a local farm, embarked on a trek along the mesmerizing Caldera, hosted a delightful BBQ, conducted a beach clean-up, and enjoyed a refreshing swim at the historic Agios Nikolaos beach, once a notorious pirate haven. Additionally, we had the opportunity to experience sustainable fishing practices at the Anthi Cove and indulged in a swim at the stunning Vlychada Beach, renowned for its unique gray-black sands and volcanic cliffs shaped by centuries of waves and winds.
In conclusion, we actively engaged in a community-building process at the forthcoming IHA Eco-Resort. Our journey included a visit to the esteemed Chatzidaki Winery, where we savored their exceptional wines, and culminated with a breathtaking sunset view in Pyrgos, the highest village in Santorini.