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General News

Microsoft Hellas Supports THI’s Venture Impact Awards

ATHENS – For the past three years The Hellenic Initiative’s (THI) Venture Impact Awards have benefited 37 of Greece’s most impressive fledgling companies with a total of $645,000 in support of Greek youth entrepreneurship. On December 14 at the Book Castle of the spectacular Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens $110,000 in cash prizes was presented to five companies.

Microsoft Greece recently joined VIA’s original anchor donors, the Charles C. Condes Trust and the Helidoni Foundation, and the program’s vision is to support Greece’s brightest and most talented teams with awards based not only on their ability to generate sustainable financial returns but also to demonstrate a measurable impact on society.

The 2022 winners at the $30,000 level were Agritrack and Classter. EVO For Human Performance and MyLingoKids won $20,000, and MomCycle was the $10,00 winner.

Yannis Moutsios, Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) news anchor, was the Emcee, giving the event an informative as well as entertaining flavor that led nicely to enthusiastic networking and fellowship during the reception that followed. As he called up the winners, he said “they made it, but they can go further, and they will, with the support of VIA and the Condes Trust,” and the others.

Harriette Condes Zervakis, representing the Charles C. Condes Trust, congratulated the winners and THI when she chatted with Yannis Moutsios, Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) news anchor.

ABOUT THE FIVE WINNERS

In the $6 Trillion education industry digitalization is a critical issue. “Classter helps educational organizations streamline administrative operations and digitalize academic processes,” says Nikolas Nikou, Founder and CEO.

Agritrack is a leader in digitizing the Agri and Food sectors. Its sensors track food “from harvest to market” and better predict its expiration date, fighting food waste and securing better prices for producers, CEO Vlasis Tsezos explained.

Katerina Aichinger, Co-founder and CEO received the award for MyLingoKids. They are developing “online language learning environments that reimagine the conventional models of language learning.”

Sofia Pomakidou, Founder and CEO of EVO Human Performance, explained how through their Bioengineering expertise and analytical software, they help athletes increase their performance “through minimizing injury incidents and rehabilitation periods.”

MomCycle was represented by cofounders Ileana Ismyridi and Niki Lalioti, creators of the online marketplace for recycled high quality children’s goods . Their vision “is to create a better future for our children through sustainable consumption.”

Winning companies, donors, and THI staff gather for a commemorative photo.

After the presentations, Nikou and Tzesos participated in a Fireside Chat with Moutsios. Asked the secret of Classter’s success, Nikou emphasized the importance even of ‘baby steps’ and expressed appreciation that “Microsoft was the first organization to help us.” Tzesos noted that support from venture capitalists outside Greece was vital.

Harriette Condes Zervakis, representing the Charles C. Condes Trust, told the honorees, “congratulations to all of you – you make us all very proud.” Asked by Moutsios about Condes, her revered uncle, she said he was an entrepreneur and shrewd investor who “believed in investing in people…he was also very concerned about brain drain in Greece” during the economic crisis. She learned about THI, did her research, and “acting on his behalf, I chose THI.”

Thanks to Microsoft, in addition to the cash prizes winners will have access to the following list of benefits through the ‘Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub’:

Free Azure credits: through the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub Platform, which offers up to $150,000 over 4 years of free Azure credits

  • Free Microsoft tools: Visual Studio Enterprise, GitHub Enterprise, Microsoft 365, Power Platform, Dynamics 365
  • Exclusive partner offers from trusted partners: OpenAI, Drata, Bubble, and Ansarada, are available today, with new offerings arriving on a rolling basis
  • Technical Advisory: 1:1 technical advisory sessions and 24/7 technical assistance help startups overcome roadblocks and build at every stage
  • Workshops and Training: Tailored learning paths, content, and events designed to help startups progress to the next stage
  • Mentoring: The Microsoft Mentor Network gives startups access to expert feedback and advice on topics ranging from product roadmap to business plan and beyond
  • Help for winning teams to publish apps on the Microsoft AppSource
  • Assistance for winning teams with GTM and customer activation

Miladie Stoumbou, Sr. Regional Director for Microsoft, during her presentation said Microsoft feels a responsibility to partner with promising companies that share its vison and values regarding sustainability, climate change, fighting poverty, and cyber security. In Founders Hub, “we have offered a program for all,” she said, adding that for Greece Microsoft helps “to keep the talent here – keep the brains, export innovation.”

Michael Printzos, THI’s Program Director, congratulated the winners and noted that the VIA “would not be possible without the support of the Condes Trust led by Harriette and her son Pete Zervakis, as well as the Helidoni Foundation led by Dimitris and Sarah Georgakopoulos. We at THI will always be grateful to them and…the generosity that helped change the lives of so many in just a couple of years.”

Michael Printzos, THI’s Program Director, at the podium congratulated the winners and thanked the donors and guests.

THI’s website notes that its mission is “investing in the future of Greece through direct philanthropy and economic revitalization. We empower people to provide crisis relief, encourage entrepreneurs, and create jobs. We are The Hellenic Initiative (THI) – a global movement of the Greek Diaspora.”

Visit THI’s website: thehellenicinitiative.org

and follow them on: Instagram @the_hellenic_initiative; Facebook @thehellenicinitiative; Twitter @THI_OneGreece; LinkedIn @TheHellenicInitiative; YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/HellenicInitiative2, and at #OliMazi #THI #TheHellenicInitiative #GreeksHelpingGreeks.

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