Light Hub: 2021 Program Report

Light Hub: 2021 Program Report

The training modules for 2021 for the groups that joined the first stage of the Light Hub program, which is the integrated entrepreneurship support structure operating at the Evros Chamber of Commerce, have been completed.

In summary, the teams and individuals who applied to join the first stage of the business development program attended 30 hours in 6 weeks, of which the first week had daily lessons, culminating in the presentation of business ideas to the scientific committee. From the start of the program, until today, the teams and individuals who passed the first stage have had the opportunity to learn key topics of developing a business model from Light Hub staff, from renowned speakers and presenters with international experience and from start-up founders.

The program was opened on 8 November by Mr. Petros Soukoulias, head of the scientific committee of the Light Hub and culminated with Mr. Vassilios Makios, Professor Emeritus of the University of Patras and Head of the Corallia Unit. Professor Vassilios Makios welcomed the teams, spoke about startup creation issues and during his presentation he shared personal experiences and good practices. During the remaining days of the first week, the teams attended modules on business idea development, specific issues of founders and business model creation by the structure’s coordinators. At the same time, they had the opportunity to meet Dimitris Moustakas, founding member of AidPlex, a startup innovating in the field of health technology, and to learn how to present a business idea to investors from George Kokkas, director of the Entrepreneurship Center of the American College of Thessaloniki.

The first week culminated with the live presentation of the ideas to the Light Hub’s scientific committee, consisting of Mr. Petros Soukoulias, Mr. Thodoris Spiliotis, Mr. Ioannis Kessanlis and professors Mr. Panagiotis Ketsikidis, Mr. Georgios Atsalakis και Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotou.  The presentation was attended by special guest Michael Van Den Berg, a serial entrepreneur specialising in digital innovation, while Light Hub mentors also participated digitally.

Over the next five weeks the teams attended modules on business model development focusing on business opportunity identification, costing, environmental and competitive analysis and market research. During this time the teams had the opportunity to learn from Marika Lambrou, author, business consultant and one of the most influential women in the IT industry, Dimitris Karakoulas, a leadership and management expert with international experience, Thanos Pantazis, economist and accountant,  Anastasios Dampizas, Development Manager at the South East Europe Research Centre (SEERC) at City College, University of York and Harrys Lalatsis, founder of IERAX Analytics. In addition, the teams had the opportunity to discuss with Machi Simeonidou, founder of Agroapps, a start-up that has innovated while also contributing to the development of the agricultural sector.

The program continues creatively in the new year. From 14 January to 19 February, participants will attend modules on copyright protection, human-centred design, financial forecasting, getting to grips with the functioning of the investment market and financing start-ups.

Starting in the new year, teams will have the opportunity to learn from and discuss with renowned people in the business ecosystem and experts. They will be taught human-centered design by Dimitris Skourogiannis, a strategic planning consultant active on three continents,and will have the opportunity to discuss with Steve Vranakis, Creative Director at Google, who recently served as the first Creative Director of Greece. In addition, they will learn about investor financing issues with Dr. Panagiotis Ketikidis, Deputy Director of City College and Executive Board Member of the European Business Angels Network (EBAN), while they will become familiar with economic forecasting issues with Dr. Georgios Atsalakis, a specialist in technological forecasting, Associate Professor, Technical University of Crete, and head of the data analysis and forecasting laboratory. Similarly, Dimitris Kourtesis, founder of “Ideas Forward” will cover issues related to the investor perspective and the validation of a business idea and Manos Fas founder of Smile Trademarks will cover the copyright section. The program also includes two additional workshop modules on market entry strategy with Tom (Athanasios) Katsioulas, ecosystem strategy specialist from Silicon Valley, advanced innovation management practices by Dr. Fotis Filippopoulos, Corporate Innovation Specialist and Digital Transformation Strategy with Petros Soukoulias, specialist in digital transformation.

The aim of the first stage program is to provide the teams with the necessary skills to transform their idea into a business model which they will present in a comprehensive presentation. On 19 February, the teams and individuals will present their business ideas in person before the Light Hub’s scientific committee and mentors, where the readiness of the teams to move on to the second stage of the program support will be assessed.

The Light Hub, is the entrepreneurship support structure created by the Evros Chamber of Commerce. It was included in the operational program “Eastern Macedonia-Thrace” and is co-funded by Greece and the European Union.

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