EBAN Congress 2023 in Thessaloniki on May 24-26th: An innovation friendly destination

by  Co-Founder of the Hellenic Business Angels Network (HeBAN),  Chairman of the South East European Research Center (SEERC), Vice President for Research and Innovation of CITY College & EBAN Board Member, Panos Ketikidis

This May 24-26, the EBAN Congress 2023 is headed to Thessaloniki, Greece, a city that’s been making waves in the innovation and angel investing scene in South Eastern Europe. With its bustling metropolitan area, home to over 1.1 million people, Thessaloniki is the place to be for companies looking for a slice of the innovation pie. Thessaloniki has become the target for major technology investments by multinational companies. The companies that have invested in Thessaloniki so far include Pfizer (with two development centers), Deloitte, CISCO (DT&S), Deutsche Telecom, Infoteam and Accenture, making the city a hotbed for tech talent.

But Thessaloniki isn’t just a city for the big players, it’s also a haven for students. With four universities and three major colleges in the metropolitan area, the city is brimming with brainpower. And if you’re looking for a research powerhouse, CERTH – the biggest research institute in the country – is located here.

One of the things that really sets Thessaloniki apart is its location. Sitting on the Mediterranean, it’s just a stone’s throw from Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. And with an international airport and a port, Thessaloniki is a major transportation hub, making it the perfect spot for companies looking to tap into the growing markets of Southeast Europe and beyond.

However, it’s not just the location that makes Thessaloniki a great place to do business. The city is home to a number of initiatives aimed at promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, such as the Alexander Innovation Zone (AZK), a public-private partnership that provides access to funding, facilities and mentoring for startups and entrepreneurs. Thessaloniki’s startup ecosystem has also caught the attention of angel investors, and it’s easy to see why. With incubators and accelerators helping to nurture and grow new and innovative companies, Thessaloniki is a breeding ground for the next big thing.

And let’s not forget the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, the most important business event in Greece. With companies and investors from all over the world in attendance, it’s a great opportunity to network and discover new business opportunities. 

But we all know you are looking for a city that’s buzzing with startup activity. Thessaloniki is the place to be, with a thriving ecosystem that’s helping to grow and nurture new and innovative companies. The city is home to four major incubators and two pre-incubators, all located in the Thessaloniki Metropolitan area, that provide support and resources to new businesses. And if that’s not enough, there’s also a mega project in the works called ThessINTECH, which will be one of Europe’s largest Science and Technology Parks and is set to attract around 500 Million Euros of investments over the next five to ten years. But it’s not just incubators and accelerators that are helping Thessaloniki’s startups. Venture Capitalists, business angels, and private equity firms are also taking notice and have invested in a number of successful exits and acquisitions in recent years. With the help of organizations like the Hellenic Business Angel Network (HeBAN), which provides funding and support to startups all over Greece, Thessaloniki is quickly becoming a hub for innovation and angel investing in South Eastern Europe. And if you’re still not convinced, just check out the success stories of Schoox, Bio2CHP, Athletopia, AidPlex, K-invent – all local startups that have received angel investment and venture capital.

Thessaloniki is not just a business destination though, it’s also a vacation hotspot. The city is packed with history and culture, from the White Tower to the Rotunda, museums, traditional markets, and more. Plus, Thessaloniki’s food scene is out of this world – from traditional Greek dishes to international cuisine, your taste buds will be in heaven. And when the sun goes down, the city comes alive with bars, clubs and tavernas that keep the party going till the wee hours.

But that’s not all, Thessaloniki is also the perfect base for exploring the surrounding area. Take a day trip to the nearby towns and villages, or head out to the famous Chalkidiki peninsula for sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. You will even be around the corner from the home of the gods, Mount Olympus. If it was good enough for Zeus, we bet you are going to love it! 

However, we left the best for last: perhaps the best thing about Thessaloniki is its people. As a multicultural, multi-ethnic metropolis, Thessaloniki is a melting pot of different cultures and backgrounds. And with a vibrant business community that’s well receptive to external establishments, Thessaloniki is a city where everyone feels welcome. Don’t believe us? All you have to do is come to the Congress to find out! 

So join us for the Thessaloniki EBAN Congress 2023, and discover a city that’s got it all: innovation, talent, location, a glorious history of 2400 years, and a cosmopolitan modern feel.

About the Author

Panos is Executive Board member of the European Trade Association for Business Angels(EBAN) and Co-Founder of the Hellenic Business Angels Network (HeBAN) . Professor Ketikidis is also the Chairman of the South East European Research Centre (SEERC) and the Vice President for Research and Innovation of CITY College, University of York Europe Campus. He has over 30 years of experience in management, education, innovation, research, and competitive research funding with various networks established as a result of this experience. Prof. Ketikidis is a Board member in several profit and non-profit professional associations supporting and mobilizing the knowledge triangle (research, business and education) to facilitate innovation.


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