Orange Grove was an initiative of the Dutch Embassy, which started in 2013, aiming to promote entrepreneurship and support young men and women from Greece and the Netherlands.
Five years later, Orange Grove has grown into a fully-functioning start-up incubator. It provides start-ups with training, for which we fly in experts from Amsterdam. It has a network of mentors from private companies. We have two ‘entrepreneurs in residence’: successful entrepreneurs from abroad who coach start-ups about matters such as writing a business plan and the best way to approach potential clients.
Several times a year, Orange Grove organizes a pitching competition for startups, The winner receives 15,000 euro, as seed money to help the start-up grow. The runner-up wins 10,000 euro. It is always a great event, with a lively, informal atmosphere.
I am impressed by the young Greek entrepreneurs that are working at Orange Grove. There is much talent and creativity among young people in Greece! I believe Greece needs a new generation of entrepreneurship, which is not about protecting established markets but about inventing new ones, about generating new ideas. We need innovation and a start-up mentality to refresh the Greek economy. Start-ups are not only needed to create jobs, but also force larger companies to think more ‘out of the box’.
Many in the Greek private sector still underestimate the importance of startups to the economy as a whole. In the Netherlands, startups have created more than 70,000 jobs in the past few years. But it is not only about the jobs. We believe that startups are an integral part of a modern economy. CEOs of large companies in the Netherlands see that startups generate creative ideas more easily than their own large organizations will ever do. “Startups make elephants dance!”, is what one of them says. And we should not underestimate the disruptive character startups may have by approaching things differently.
I am seeing much recognition for what Orange Grove has achieved.
Greek politicians from left to right have come to meet the start-uppers, who feel free to tell them about the bureaucratic obstacles they still face.
We have to listen to these enthusiastic young people. I have confidence in the young people of Greece, of which thousands study at Dutch universities by the way. We can learn from their ideas how to modernize the country.
Ambassador Caspar Veldkamp
Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
- Direction/Post Production: Panos Tsirozidis
- Camera: Dimitris Zografakis
- Production Co-ordination and Interview: DigitalWise – Niki Oikonomopoulou
- Texts & subtitles: Niki Oikonomopoulou
- Project Manager: Kyriaki Kostolidou