As an effect of the economic situation of the last years, Greece today conveys a similar feeling of creative awakening that Berlin had following the fall of the wall. Through this, Greece and the surrounding region not only harbour a multitude of innovations and creativity, but also a special connection to Berlin and, with it, re:publica. As the birthplace of European culture, an intersection to the Balkans and beyond, Greece stands out as the next, relevant partner country. Thessaloniki, the "gateway" to the Balkans with its 2,300 year-old city history, makes it a very interesting destination indeed! As we see it, Thessaloniki’s multitude of creative legacies and innovations make it an ideal location for a long-lasting integration into the re:publica network.
OK!Thess wants to see a complete innovation ecosystem being created. An ecosystem with, on the one hand all those who are willing and able to contribute to the development of innovation in the region and, on the other, those active structures that are needed for healthy growth of the ecosystem itself. The ecosystem would have to include:
- Source of people with promising innovative ideas: Such sources are the city’s many universities but also society at large: Anyone can generate bright ideas.
- Processes that contribute to turn initial ideas to viable proposals: These include mentoring, seminars, competitions, training, social events promoting creativity and innovation, as well anything else that can contribute to promoting innovation at large but also of selecting the promising ideas that are worth promoting. If an idea does not seem to work, it is best abandoned sooner than later, cutting the losses to the innovative teams and allowing the more creative one to try something better sooner.
- Infrastructures: These should support the processes just described and should also give startups the opportunity to be “tried out”, for many of them to survive the test before they become investment-ready or able to move on to further development.
- “Destinations”: The end of the line process is the investment in the ideas that are investment-ready. Although this is an individual endeavour, attracting investment capital to the city is part of the function of the ecosystem. Matching successfully the best ideas with investment capital is a core characteristic of the ecosystem – its reputation is predicated on the quality of the investment ideas.
The ecosystem is open to all entrepreneurial and educational institution of the city and aims to integrate the the separate efforts that move in the direction of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Call for Startups
Do you have a fresh idea and need some help to make it a business? OK!Thess is here to guide you through the process of making it. Fill in the application form until September the 13th, join OK!Thess now!