Mobilizing the Startup Ecosystem of Epirus in Ioannina

In the frame of Interreg YESS project ERFC organized on Wednesday, 3 April 2019 in the Conference Centre “Karolos Papouias” of the University of Ioannina the dissemination event with title “Mobilizing the Startup Ecosystem of Epirus”.

The event was a big success!!! It gathered the participation of more than 120 people and 30 speakers!!

Initially, key facilitators provided welcome remarks including Prof. Triantafyllos Albanis (Rector of University of Ioannina), Mr. Thomas Bengas (Mayor of Ioannina), Mr. Marco Della Puppa (General Secretary of Greek-Italian Chamber of Thessaloniki) and Nikolas Petropoulos (President of ERFC).

In the “Bright Examples to follow” session Mr. Ioannis Tsillimbaris discussed how P&I Hellas attracted local talent to reach 80 people in R & D in just 2 years, while Mr. Stelios Gkouskos provided us with key insights regarding EU fundraising opportunities from SME Instrument experience in Terracom.  In sequel, Prof. Vasilis Kostakis captured the attention of the audience with creative commons initiatives from P2P lab and bottom up approaches for collaborative schemes. The session was closed by the inspiring future of Epirus, the Zephyrus II Ioannina Team and their micro-satellite!

The next panel was referring to the current status of the ecosystem in Epirus and its challenges Ms. Dimitria Katsoli (from Mindspace Corfu) and Mr. Konstantinos Potsis (former coordinator of Startup Europe Week Ioannina) underlined the importance of not being afraid “Since someone else did it, you can DO it!”. Mr Ioannis Daskalopoulos explained the networking opportunities through the Enterprize Europe Network – Hellas, while Prof. Vasilis Anastasopoulos President of Patras Science Park transferred valuable experiences from the best practices and more specifically from the Proof of Concept Programme.

Angela Abrescia discussed about the most important deliverables of Interreg YESS project and called to participation to the youth communities.

In the next Panel, Mr. George Rombolas discussed about the synergies that may arise from the new strategic projects from Greece Italy programme and the initiatives of the Adriatic Ionian Chambers (AIC) in the frame of the EUSAIR strategy.  Mr Aggelos Rezos, (Founder of Rezos Brands) showed how an innovative company can operate like a startup, producing spin-offs while mentoring other ones. At the end, Mr. Ioannis Daskalopoulos referred to the support that the Ioannina Chamber of Commerce is providing to SMEs.

The collaboration between industry, academia, civil society and governments was explained in a very important session from the well-known Prof. Elias Carayannis from George Washington University via skype. Prof. Caraynnis presented the Quadruple / Quintuple Innovation Helix and the possibilities of running such a model in Epirus based on the previous experience from InnovationOdysseys.

The entire character of the event was strongly in promoting the synergy among different actors, projects and initiatives. Thus, the session about the synergies with other projects could be different. Prof. Yorgos Goletsis and Ms. Vicky Tomara not only discussed about innovation vouchers from OpenInnoBM and BlueBoost projects respectively, but started to exchange technical information regarding their operation. Mr. George Soulos from InnoPolis referred to Silver Economy and the huge opportunities for startups in the field, giving a good lead in for the next session regarding healthcare.

The Future of Healthcare session, was very interesting where Dr. Vasilis Tsimichodimos discussed about personalised medicine and genomics in the General Hospital of Ioannina, while Mr. Christos Alexakos discussed about the new field of Bioinformatics and the opportunities therein. George Rigas and Christos Bellos discussed about their experiences that started from EU projects and finalising to challenging initiatives in their companies.

The Tourism Sector, was discussed from Mr. Dimitris Faitas from Corfuland along with some ethical considerations of creating great teams and opportunities through VR. Mr. Gerasimos Papailias, Director of Development Company of Epirus SA was referred to numerous opportunities from various projects. Mr. Aristides Dervenis (Secretary Union of Tourist Offices & Tourist Buses οf Ioannina) and Mr. Konstantinos Glaros (Vice President, Comitech) discussed about opportunities and synergies from the local tourism sector.

In the next session Ms. Dora Trachana from underlined the need of creating initiatives for maturing ideas before being ready for incubation and funding and referred to the EIT Climate KIC Hub Accelerator Programme. Mr. Spyridon Tzafos, Member of Board Directors of Igoumenitsa Port Authority S.A. referred to the openness of the port to support youth initiatives and theses and why not new startup initiatives covering real needs.

In the Design sector, Mr. Iason Pantazis discussed about the FabLab Ioannina initiatives and more especially regarding the opportunities of 3D printing. Dr. Athanasios Kalogeras from Industrial Systems Institute agreed and suggested to the audience to be involved to software engineering and design as a very promising sector.

Moderator and Coordinator of the whole event was Mr. Anaxagoras Fotopoulos, Project Manager of ERFC. The whole ERFC team worked day & night to produce an energising event for the benefit of the local ecosystem of Epirus.

The event had a huge support from University of Ioannina, EIT Climate-KIC Hub Greece, EIT Health Hub Greece, European Business Angel Network (EBAN), European Crowdfunding Network (ECN), TANEO Fund, Hellenic Fund for Entrepreneurship & Development S.A (ETEAN), Greek-Italian Chamber of Thessaloniki, Greek Exporters Association (SEVE), Mindspace, Chamber of Ioannina, iNNOVact

ERFC and University of Ioannina will undertake concrete follow up actions to maximise the synergies among stakeholders and increase the participation of young entrepreneurs and startuppers in the Interreg YESS Project.

Below you may find the presentations and the profiles of the organizations that participated in event.
























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