With participation surpassing all expectations, Greek politicians and entrepreneurs responded to SEV’s invitation to attend a New Year’s event on “Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Today’s World”. Microsoft Chairman Mr. Bill Gates was the keynote speaker at the event, which was held today, Monday, 28 January 2008, at the Athens Concert Hall.
Opening the event, SEV President Mr. Dimitris Daskalopoulos noted that the history of Bill Gates and Microsoft –along with other initiatives and activities– is a model for emulation, illustrating that in an era when it is impossible to foresee the real potential or all of the repercussions of an innovation, entrepreneurs and businesses dare to forge ahead. They plan, invest and move forward. And even when they have succeeded, they continue to seek the knowledge of tomorrow.
Mr. Daskalopoulos also pointed out that in Greece, innovation –as well as the development of knowledge– is lagging. In spite of this, robust entrepreneurship gave our country high growth rates in recent years. The business community took up the challenge of adaptation and modernisation, creating new conditions for growth and new economic frontiers for the country.
The subsoil of our society, Mr. Daskalopoulos stressed, contains deposits of gold. Many young people, many entrepreneurs, many professionals are breaking the chains of indifference and obtuseness, resisting the sirens of easy options and distinguishing themselves through hard work, imagination and consistency. They feel how imperative it is for us to once again become a society of action and dynamic adaptation, capable of taking on the future.
Concluding, Mr. Daskalopoulos noted that the dividing line today is between state-subsidised Greece and the Greece of creativity. Between the Greece of the trivial and the Greece of innovation. Between the Greece of obstructionism and stagnancy and the Greece of initiative and development.
Those attending the event had the opportunity to hear Microsoft Chairman Mr. Bill Gates analyze the opportunities arising for businesses through investment in innovative applications and the adoption of pioneering solutions based on cutting-edge technology –necessary prerequisites for strengthening their growth and competitiveness.
Participants in the event also had the opportunity to view the video “Greece Can”, which highlights examples and best practices of entrepreneurial and technological innovation that have been developed in our country and can serve as models for the entrepreneurial sector. Among the projects highlighted were technological applications at Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University and the activities of the companies Apivita, Nanophos and Tropical.
A particularly productive discussion was held of the strategies that we can and must adopt –strategies centred on innovation and entrepreneurship– to distinguish our country in today’s world. The discussion was led by panellists Ioannis A. Tsoukalas, Professor, Secretary General for Research & Development; Giorgos Papakonstantinou, PASOK National Council Member, MP for Kozani; Odysseas Kyriakopoulos, Entrepreneur, former President of SEV, President of the National Opera; Theodoros Fessas, Vice President of SEV, Chairman of Info-Quest Group; and Alexandros Samaras, Chairman of the Board of the Hellenic American Educational Foundation (Athens College, Psychiko College).
The event culminated in honorary recognition by Bill Gates and Dimitris Daskalopoulos of the Aristotle University research team and representatives of the companies Apivita, Nanophos and Tropical.