• The future is bright, the future is blue… Enter the sea of opportunity! – BlueGrowth

    Aephoria is a sustainable-business education and incubation program for startup companies operating in Greece. Its goal is to help entrepreneurs transform their dreams into business with a positive economic, environmental and social impact. Aephoria’s most successful initiative is  BlueGrowth  which aims to inspire and help young entrepreneurs realize their innovative concepts relating to marine and fresh water resources. 

     

    Present to us your organization in 2 sentences 

    The sea provides us with inspiration for progress. The contradictive conditions of the sea are challenging the human brain for forethought, for taking advantage of every element given, for triggering inventive imagination. When imagination leads to a feasible idea, then actual problems can be solved. When we see this energy, faith and desire for success to a 20 or 25 years old entrepreneur we can have hope for the future.

     

    Do you believe that entrepreneurship is the key to overcome not only economic crises but also social and political ones? 

    For Greeks, the sea has been timely the way of economic downturns, disastrous wars and civil conflicts. For Greeks, the sea is the timeless partner for development.

    We are among those who believe that Greece will find their ‘seaway’ to growth, through the empowerment of shipping, ports, tourism. During the years of financial crisis, shipping and tourism have been the two pillars that survived and were preserved while all other productive sectors have stalled. The Greek shipping remains 12417709_1743304712618687_4649155871951646087_na global protagonist, continues to bring foreign currency into the country, maintains and creates jobs, while the Greek tourism thrives, against forecasts and adversity. The sea provides us with inspiration for progress. The contradictive conditions of the sea are challenging the human brain for forethought, for taking advantage of every element given, for triggering inventive imagination. In the ecosystem of startups, when imagination leads to a feasible idea, then  actual problems can be solved and more jobs and growth to be created.  Blue Growth Competition startup teams make their ideas feasible. The Blue Growth is ‘in the genes of the City of Piraeus’. A basic part of the interconnectivity of the transportation and logistics system throughout Europe. The Municipality of Piraeus is spurring innovation that can leverage this dynamic, young and new business ideas, through structures like the Blue Growth.  The City of Piraeus sets the priorities and brings the innovation and entrepreneurship to the port. After two years of work has now established Piraeus the map of startups entrepreneurship.

     

    How does the social entrepreneurship scene in Greece looks like in your opinion?  

    It is doing baby steps and it is still in an initial stage (and still random) but with continuously increased human resources with the right knowledge it will grow higher.

     

    Is it important for young people to try and fail? Is this the way to be successful? 

    Try,try, try, fail, fail, fail, success. The more you try the more you learn, the more you can avoid in the future. There are many benefits that are derived from failure and disappointment. I am sure each of us can look back on some of our less successful moments and identify how they have helped us become a stronger, wiser, or a more complete person. Just as we have all learned lessons the hard way, this generation of teenagers need to be able to learn some hard earned lessons as well. In a world that is obsessed with teaching young people the ’correct’ way to do things, we risk creating a generation that is focused on not getting things wrong rather than on really understanding or exploring ideas.

    Letting young people have the freedom to fail and to make mistakes empowers them to explore their creativity, to learn real lessons, and develop a deeper understanding of the world and who they are.

     

    Share with us a moment you felt proud about something you achieved within your organisation.  

    When Blue Growth first year winners awarded by European Commissioner Karmenu Vella in European Maritime Day Conference (Solbrine, Phee, Nostimo Salt) and also when the second’s year winners already scaled abroad (XYZ laser scanning) and others became sustainable businesses (Hopwave, Journey Post, MyCityLane, Resicle). We are starting to have great exposure such as when BG II winners presented themselves at the largest shipping exhibition in the world, Posidonia, on June 2016. Our and their journey has many stops and challenges ahead, in a competitive yet fragile environment  nothing can be easy but we are starting to believe that we are reaching our goal to set the maritime economy and innovative entrepreneurship at the forefront of sustainable development here in Greece and worldwide.

     

    Thanks and good luck in the future!

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