The Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award (HEA) today announced the opening of applications for its 2014 award programme. Conceived and operated by the Libra Group on behalf of The Hellenic Initiative (THI), the Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award seeks to stimulate entrepreneurial spirit and reward Greece’s most promising start-up businesses. It is open to both experienced and first-time entrepreneurs in Greece whose business plans demonstrate innovation, job creation, financial discipline and sustainability.
Each year between one and five winners are awarded the key resources they need to get a new business started: funding, business support services and an expert mentor. The total prize fund to be shared among the winners this year is expected to be around €700,000 with the addition of new contributors, including Piraeus Bank which has committed to support the programme over five years.
In 2013, the award’s inaugural year, over 800 people registered on the Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award website resulting in the submission of 295 business plans. The judges carefully scrutinized each plan before selecting ten finalists, and finally four winners.
The 2013 winners are all now operational and responsible for the creation of over 250 direct and indirect jobs in Greece. They are: Stella Mare, a seafood business targeting Greek and export markets; Casa Parlante, a ‘living museum’ which recreates the environment of an historic 19th century mansion on Corfu; Different & Different, a culinary arts school and catering business; and ‘rabt’, a smartphone and tablet video streaming application. These businesses are expected to collectively achieve turnovers in excess of €1.7 million by the end of their first year of operations. They have been supported by mentors within the Libra Group and by a number of Greek companies who have provided legal, HR and marketing support on a pro bono basis.
Applications are now open for 2014 and can be accessed via the HEA website at www.hellenicaward.com. The closing date for all entries will be 1 March, 2014 and a public announcement of the finalists will be made in April 2014. The winners will be declared in May 2014.
Eligible applicants include: Private individuals who have a business idea, regardless of previous commercial experience; groups of people who may not yet be incorporated as a trading company; existing privately owned companies which can demonstrate that they have an all-new idea that is not a direct derivative of the company’s core competence and that cannot be adequately funded from the company’s existing resources.
The winning applicants must be based in Greece and will need to prove that they and/or the company they represent will be domiciled within the country. In addition, the judges will expect principal employees of the new venture (though not necessarily all employees) to be based in Greece.
The Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award was launched in 2012 to help experienced and new entrepreneurs bring new business ideas to fruition through the provision of funding, business support and mentoring. The Libra Group has committed over €5 million to the Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award to enable Greek entrepreneurs to support their communities and drive economic growth. Other supporters within The Hellenic Initiative include the Australia-based property investment and development company, Jalouise Pty Ltd, which has contributed US$500,000 to the award program.
Piraeus Bank Becomes Partner to The Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award
The Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award has also announced a new corporate partner of the annual award programme. Piraeus Bank has agreed to contribute to the winning funds over the next five years, commencing with the 2014 award announced today.
Through its subsidiary, the Excelixi Center of Sustainable Entrepreneurship, Piraeus Bank will also be offering support both to applicants and winners of the award. Dedicated HEA initiatives through Excelixi will include a series of workshops advising on business plan creation, and a funding search service which identifies possible funding options for HEA participants.