“You are the ambassadors of new Greece,” Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media Minister Nikos Pappas told start uppers at the “Digital Greece” pavilion at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on Sunday, during an official inauguration ceremony.
This new Greece, he added, was emerging from the crisis and “afraid of nothing, not its neighbour nor even its own bad self” and promised that the state will be at their side “ensuring that your wonderful ideas can travel…and make everyone’s lives even better.”
The ceremony was attended by the deputy minister, Lefteris Kretsos, and the US Ambassador in Athens Geoffrey Pyatt, as well as the Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Deputy Assistant to the President at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Michael Kratsios, who were representing the US as the honoured country at TIF 2018.
In his address, Pappas predicted that the Digital Greece pavilion will become an institution at future TIFs and that “we will be even stronger next year”, urging the start ups to make the most of their contacts and presence in Thessaloniki.
“You cannot imagine how important a signal you are sending everywhere,” he added, noting that the time when this dynamic sector had been largely invisible to the media was now over, since images from the pavilion had flooded the media and internet.
Kretsos, on his part, said the young people of Greece could hold their own against their contemporaries from abroad, with fresh ideas “that are the future of the country”.
The US ambassador also hailed the start ups as a hopeful sign for the future of the Greek economy, saying it was “fantastic to see this energy and innovation” and congratulating all involved in organising the pavilion. He expressed the US Embassy’s interest and support for such initiatives and noted that he has been visiting innovative start-up companies in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras and Ioannina for two years.
“Of one thing I am convinced: that this is one of the great secret success stories of Greece,” he added.
Kratsios said that the US supports start-up culture and has great interest in them, adding that cooperation in this area should continue.