The Hellenic Initiative (THI) announced the winners of The 2021 Venture Impact Awards (VIA) on December 13 with a virtual event that presented one of THI’s newest programs, which the organization notes provides help and support to Greece’s brightest and most talented teams – for-profits and not-for-profits – helping them create ventures and projects that are scalable and sustainable and that create jobs.
For 2021, 18 entities were awarded a total of $285,000. VIA was founded with the initial support of Helidoni Foundation Inc. and The Charles C. Condes Trust. This year George Antonopoulos of Connecticut joined as a sponsor.
The co-hosts Marianna Skylakakis and Yiannis Moutsos first introduced Michael Printzos, THI’s Director of Programming, who said that the $285,000 of direct funding” – which rose from last year’s $250,000 – were “awarded to this year’s teams as a sign of recognition of their hard work and impact on the ground,” in Greece.
Dimitri Georgakopoulos, President of the Helidoni Foundation, expressed how delighted he is that the idea he discussed two years ago with THI about promoting “purposeful innovation” has become a reality embraced by the Hellenic Diaspora.
Hariette Condes Zervakis explained that her uncle, the late Charles C. Condes, was very concerned about Greece’s brain drain. A proud Hellene, Condes, Zervakis said, today would have jointly celebrated both Greece’s Bicentennial and “the winners of the Venture Impact Awards who are going to be taking us into the next 200 years.”
The $10,000-level winners included:Nosilia Association,Organization Earth,Odyssea,Epanekkinisis, andAegean Sails. The winners at the$15,000level were:Women on Top, Humane, Citycrop, Lia, Inaccel, The Greek Online School, EV Loader, Dentica, andAidPlex.
Dogs Voice, MindSpace, SciCo, and Moptil won the $25,000 grants.
There was also a live interview with 2020 winner Melina Taprantzi, founder of Wise Greece, who praised the 2021 winners, saying “they are very talented people. They had to adapt to so many crises – so they are crisis experts… if they can adapt to whatever they find in front of them… then they will be successful and they will use the amount they got today in the best possible way.”
Jeremy Downward,THI Board Member, stated, “We have seen a large numerical jump in applications that were made… we were amazed by the quality, vision, creativity, and focus of this very broad number of applications. There were not any without worth or that were discarded… the work of getting to the shortlist was complicated.”
Peter Poulos, THI’s Executive Director,stated,“this left me feeling hopeful for the future of Greece and I’m sure everyone watching felt the same way. What an incredible group of teams and ideas and brainpower! Our only regret is that we were not able to support all 176 applicants.”
About the Hellenic Initiative
Our Mission: The Hellenic Initiative (THI) is a global nonprofit organization that brings together Diaspora Greeks and Philhellenes to invest in the future of Greece through programs focused on crisis relief, entrepreneurship, and economic development.
Visit our website:thehellenicinitiative.org