Young entrepreneurs and fund managers should "take a risk now" and invest in innovation and new businesses, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said, addressing and EquiFund start-up venture funding event at the Onassis Cultural Center on Monday.
"This is the time to take a risk. If not now, when Greece is starting to stand up on its own two feet, when? And if not they, who?" Tsipras said, as he reiterated his government's commitment to business ventures by younger entrepreneurs. He added that "innovation and human capital are two building blocks we can use to build a better future."
At the Onassis Center, Tsipras met with managers of nine funds supported by EquiFund and with young entrepreneurs supported by the Jeremie and EquiFund funding framework. He was briefed by initiatives to fund small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and participated in an open discussion on "Greece's vision for innovation".
EquiFund was created by the Greek state in cooperation with the European Investment Fund (EIF). It is and co-financed by the EU, national funds and the EIF, with the aim of strengthening the venture capital market in Greece for SMEs.
JEREMIE (Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises) is an initiative of the European Commission developed together with the European Investment Fund. It promotes the use of financial engineering instruments to improve access to finance for SMEs via Structural Funds interventions.
Alternate Finance Minister Alexis Charitsis, who also spoke at the event, said that EquiFund is a tool designed to bridge the gap between research and production. "It has met with wide appeal before it even started, and we are proud of this. It is the first funding tool that strengthens all sectors and offers targeted support and funding for every development stage at a business," Charitsis added.
A total of 18 speakers from start-up businesses in European and Greece spoke at the event at the Onassis, besides with the representatives of the nine fund managers supported by EquiFund.
The Onassis Foundation is one of EquiFund's strategic partners.