The Venture Impact Awards aim to support projects able to demonstrate:
Who can apply?
Companies, social enterprises, NGOs, cooperatives and other organizations from the for profit and nonprofit worlds are welcome to submit their proposals by applying here. We do not accept applications at the idea or concept phase or from entities who have raised over $2,000,000 in funding from different resources, public or private.APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED
What do you get?
The VIA will distribute a total of $250,000 of prize money in total for 2021 to all winning teams. If you are interested to see which projects we have supported in the previous years, please click below.SEE PROJECTS
What are we looking for?
We are looking for entities able to improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the communities in Greece. We want to award projects that showcase human/social/environmental impact while fostering collaboration among different stakeholders and promoting innovation. We want to reward the “good done” by the for profits and the nonprofits of Greece.WATCH 2021 CEREMONY
Greeks Helping Greeks
About The Hellenic Initiative
Since our founding in 2012 The Hellenic Initiative (THI) has been working diligently to train, mentor, and create jobs and economic opportunities for Greeks of all ages and backgrounds. We are proud of the organizations and the program that we support working side by side with teams on the ground, trying to make a real difference for thousands of Greeks. Today our work is needed more than ever.
Direct Crisis Relief
THI, together with its relief partners, is answering the call by providing a critical safety net to families hardest hit by the crisisLearn More
Economic and Entrepreneurial Development
THI is supporting initiatives that promote near-term job growth while laying the foundations for long-term strategic development:Learn More
Greece is not Greece right now.
Greece is not Greece right now.
Greece is not Greece right now. Its beating heart has been slowed, its colors muted, and its voice quieted. Tourists trickle through streets that are accustomed to bustling masses. So much of what we love about our vibrant country has been muffled by a virus that feeds on community, socialization and hospitality.
Startups that we worked with in the past are now starving for cash. Many other businesses had to lay off their staff and all that is happening in a country that is still in recovery. It was an easy call for us to double down on our Economic Development assistance trying to help as many as possible.
Programs: THI's Economic Development Activities at a Glance
In Greece, THI Supports and Funds the Largest and Most Successful:
Job Creation Program
- 1,600 direct jobs created
- Working with Greece’s top 600 companies
- 150,000 hours of training delivered 90% rentention rate
- 1,200 partners from 14 cities
- Working with Greece’s top 600 companies
- 660 business ideas evaluated
- Over 60 high growth companies mentored
- Over 500 international investors participated
- Greece’s only American-style pitching event
- 8 years supporting leading startups in Greece
- Over 7,000 business plans evaluated
- Over 30,000 entrepreneurs engaged
- Over €5 million in funding awarded
Impact: THI's Economic Development Activities at a Glance
THI Programs’ Aggregate Impact on Greek Economic Development and Entrepreneurship
Over €100 million
Invested $10 million in promising Greek startups
Engaged with over 55,000 entrepreneurs and job seeking millenials
Gave back 15,000 hours of volunteer community service
The Venture Impact Awards
Honoring a Greek Startup for their exceptional work
Providing HelpThe VIA will provide much-needed help and support to startups vetted by a team of judges seeking capital to expand and create new jobs.
Award winners will be selected based not only on their ability to generate financial returns but also on how they address critical markets and how they solve a range of social and environmental problems.
The VIA will act as a tool that promotes early-stage impact investing designed to help companies produce returns while having a measurable social impact.
Minimum $10,000 max $150,000 in prize money per winner. Award winners will range according to the quality of the applications received.
The VIA will invest in various business sectors that Greece can offer a strong value proposition like Software & Deep Tech, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Agro & Food, Tourism & Real Estate.
Meet the 2021 Judges
Winners are selected by a panel of prominent business leaders within the Hellenic community.
George AntonopoulosManaging Partner & Portfolio ManagerHudson Bay
Mr. Antonopoulos is a Managing Partner and Portfolio Manager at Hudson Bay, where he works on evaluating, structuring, trading, negotiating and executing direct investments. He invests in equities, fixed income securities, convertible securities, corporate debt instruments, warrants and other structured products. He has also assisted in developing investment strategies in appraisal rights and other M&A transactions, SPACs, and other special situations. Prior to joining Hudson Bay in April 2006, Mr. Antonopoulos worked at Heights Capital Management, an arm of Susquehanna International Group that directly invested in small and mid-cap companies across all levels of the capital structure through convertibles, equity, preferred, warrants and/or options. Mr. Antonopoulos actively traded, assisted in managing risk, reviewed and modeled intricate features and optionality embedded within the group's investments. Prior to his role with Susquehanna, Mr. Antonopoulos was a Senior Trader for The Vanguard Group.
Mr. Antonopoulos received his BS in Business Administration with a Major in Finance and a Concentration in Economics from the Haub School of Business of St. Joseph's University.
Harriette Condes-ZervakisExecutorThe Charles C. Condes Trust
Harriette Condes-Zervakis is a retired secondary school educator, professional developer, and administrator. She has presented and co-presented at local and national conferences on topics regarding school improvement, small learning communities, and ethnicity. In addition to being listed repeatedly in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, she has received various awards. Condes-Zervakis is also a writer and editor.
Jeremy DownwardExecutive DirectorAristeus Financial Services
In 2016 Jeremy set up Aristeus, a fully regulated asset management firm in Cyprus and is the company’s CIO.
In 2001 Jeremy set up a family office managing the investments of a prominent European family. The office made investments across the asset class spectrum in developed and emerging markets. He acted as CIO until late 2015 and remains a board member.
Previously Jeremy was a founding partner and board member of Greece’s first investment bank, Alpha Finance from 1989 to 2001. Alpha Finance listed on the Athens Stock Exchange is April 1995 and was sold to Alpha Bank in 2001.
Prior to Alpha Finance he worked at Continental Illinois Bank in New York, Athens and Piraeus.
Jeremy graduated from Leeds University in 1976.
He sits on the boards or advisory committees of various companies, investment vehicles, educational bodies and NGOs.
Kurt HeiarAssociate Professor & DirectorUI Statewide Venture School Program, University of Iowa
Kurt Heiar is an accomplished corporate executive, serial entrepreneur, and University of Iowa Associate Professor in the professional MBA program. Kurt has been the President & CEO of multiple early stage companies for John Pappajohn, including his current role as CEO of Inseer, Inc., a company combining 3D computer vision, artificial intelligence, and ergonomics to predict and prevent injury in the industrial manufacturing, shipping, and food processing industries. Before leading five start-up companies to date, Kurt served as Vice President, Marketing & Strategic Planning, at Baxter Healthcare Biosciences and as a Director of Global Business Development, Oncology. Over the past six summers pre-Covid, Kurt worked in Greece for The Hellenic Initiative organization, where he helped co-develop the Greek Venture Capital Fair and advised 45 companies to date there. In 2018, Kurt traveled over 1,975 kilometers across Greece on a multi-city media tour, co-sponsored by THI and the U.S. Embassy, delivering business keynotes.
At the University of Iowa, Kurt is UI Director of statewide Venture Schools, a program for new and existing companies that wish to learn new techniques on business model development. As a full-time Associate Professor Kurt teaches in the MBA programs in Iowa and Italy, and with the Iowa Medical Innovation Group, the latter combining graduate medical, law, business, and engineering students. Kurt also leads the UI Faculty Innovators program to introduce concepts of research commercialization and leadership.
Kurt serves as a panel reviewer for the Iowa Dept. of Economic Development Venture Net program and speaks nationally on a variety of corporate and entrepreneurial leadership topics.
Andreas KramvisOperating PartnerAEA Investors
Andreas Kramvis is currently an Operating Partner with AEA Investors, a Private Equity Firm in New York. He serves as Director of 5 Portfolio Companies and one Public Company.
Andreas retired from Honeywell International in 2017 where he held the position of Vice Chairman. In his 30-year career with Honeywell he has served as CEO of several global businesses including Performance Materials and Technologies, Environmental and Combustion Controls and Electronic Security Systems. Before Honeywell Andreas was working in the venture capital industry investing in high technology Companies.
Andreas is author of “Transforming the Corporation” a book aimed at sharing his methodologies of managing companies for high performance. He is a graduate of Cambridge University with a degree in Electronics and holds an MBA from Manchester Business School.
Spyros LadeasHead of ContentFounders Forum
Spyros is based in London as Head of Content at Founders Forum, an invite-only network of top global tech entrepreneurs. He leads on developing the content, programming and building the FF ecosystem of founders and CEOs globally. Over the past few years he’s been instrumental in developing FF’s international links, with forums in Beijing, Hong Kong, Tel Aviv, New York and Boston. Prior to FF Spyros was US Head of Marketing of the ANT1 Media Group. Originally from New York, he holds a BA in Economics from Boston College.
Cleo LymbrerisGroup TreasurerPublic Power Corporation
Cleo made a life-change to move back to Greece in 2001, after growing up in the US since 1986, where she had started her professional career after completing her high school and university studies.
She has built a diverse level of experience all around the credit sector in Greece for almost 20 years, having worked in Corporate Finance at Citigroup Athens and then HSBC, where she originated and executed debut high yield bond issues for Frigoglass, Intralot and Motor Oil Hellas. Later, she joined Pillarstone, a KKR-backed distressed private equity firm aimed at supporting banks with non-performing corporates based in Greece.
She has since moved into the industrial and power sector, supporting Mytilineos SA as Investor Relations Director and more recently at PPC (Public Power Corporation), as Group Treasurer. She is also a Non-Executive Board member at Optima Bank SA.
Cleo has been passionately supporting the start-up community in Greece and THI, having been a mentor at Venturegarden, a judge at VentureFair as well a Non-Executive Board member of a THI start-up, RT Safe SA.
Cleo is a graduate of Columbia University, having completed both Bachelors’ and Masters’ degrees in Mechanical and Financial Engineering, respectively. As a Columbia alumna in Greece, she has been supporting the undergraduate admissions program of her university as an interviewer for over a decade.
Prior to her move to Greece, Cleo worked as a pneumatic territory manager at Parker Hannifin, among the largest diversified industrials companies in the US, and the industrials investment banking team at Deutsche Bank Alex Brown in New York.
Omiros SarikasManaging Partner (CEO) and founding memberBrookstreet Equity Partners
Omiros serves as the Managing Partner (CEO) and lead founding member of Brookstreet Equity Partners (Brookstreet) in Mayfair. His recognitions include “GameChanger of the Year”, “CEO of the Year”, "Most Influential CEO", “M&A Young Gun of the Year” and “Top 250 Deal Makers in the World”.
Brookstreet‘s awards include "UK Innovative PEVC Fund Manager of the Year”, “UK Niche PE House of the Year” and "DraxFuture40” investor that shapes the future of Europe alongside Apax, CVC, HIG, KKR etc. The firm takes particular pride in being recognised as the "Best Commercially Motivated PE".
Omiros worked in London, Zürich and New York and completed 100+ engagements over two decades. He has advised sovereigns, corporates, banks and funds including KKR, Cinven, CSFB, Morgan Stanley, Welsh Carson, Ernesto Bertarelli's VC and others.
Omiros holds the "Freedom of the City of London" as a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of International Bankers which he serves as Head of Education & Awards, Court, and Fundraising Advisory Board Chairman.
He is a Fellow at the Royal Society of Arts, a Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment and advised committees of the British Venture Capital & Private Equity Association and the House of Lords.
Omiros had an international secondary education at Tasis and ACS. He is a triple alum of the University of London (LSE, CBS, LBS) and Harvard Business School (HBS), amongst others. He is also a published researcher with Oxford and Harvard Fellows and he mentored Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs (HAE) as an Expert-in-Residence (EIR) as well as the UK Lord Mayor's Mansion House Scholars.
His work has received 200+ PR items in TV, radio, press and he has delivered 100+ conference keynotes. This includes Financial (FT, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Real Deals) and Hellenic media (SKAI, ANT1, NET, Kathemerini, Naftemporiki, Sofokleous).
Omiros acted as Keynote Speaker/Panellist in global summits (FT, Economist, Delphi, CapitalLink) and academia (LBS, LSE, Cass, Imperial), as well as a Judge/Mentor at Berkeley's Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC), Venture Capital International Competition (VCIC), Greek International Women Awards (GIWA), The Hellenic Initiative Venture Impact Awards and Reload Greece.
Brookstreet is a Corporate Ambassador of The Hellenic Initiative which donated $17M+ to date in crisis relief and economic development. In 2019, Omiros was added in the “Who is Who” list and was the November cover of CEO Today. In 2020 he was recognised with the "World's Eminent (Hellenic) Leader Award in Finance and Investments".
Philip VoutsasCo-FounderHeartwood Sustainable Industries International
Pete ZervakisAnchor/HostSpectrum Networks
Pete Zervakis is a news anchor based in Milwaukee for Spectrum TV Networks. He anchors morning headlines Monday-Friday on Spectrum News 1’s statewide morning show, and also hosts the weekly politics and public affairs show “In Focus,” which airs on Sundays all across Wisconsin. A Chicago native and graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Pete is very proud to now be a member of Milwaukee’s vibrant Greek-American community. He remains active at the Annunciation Greek-Orthodox Church in Milwaukee, where he previously served three years on the parish council.