Taking Public Education in Greece One Step Further With Innovation
It is a well-known fact that investing in qualitative education is a key pillar for the foundation of a complete and integrated business environment.
Industry Disruptors – Game Changers (ID-GC), one of the Global Entrepreneurship Network country hosts for Greece, has responded to the growing needs of the startup community for a more systematic and integrated approach on entrepreneurship. In partnership with the Athens University of Economics, one of the most high-profile universities in Greece, ID-GC established a new major on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the International MBA program of the university.
The primary purpose of this initiative was to connect a pool of talented people with experienced professionals on the base of a well-established network. The new major provides both abstract and technical knowledge to students in order to enhance the skills needed to transform their business ideas into successful and sustainable business ventures. The curriculum includes core subjects relating to management skills, innovation and entrepreneurship and is designed so that students can keep their jobs, while at the same time they can study and work on their new company. It also includes modules relating to the development and financing of a business, international management and negotiation, geopolitics and more.
In addition, in collaboration with global health leader MSD, 10 scholarships were awarded to talented applicants for the academic year 2013-2014 and 12 more scholarships for the academic year 2014-2015. The scholarships were given to candidates with potential to become “game changers” with innovative ideas that can disrupt the globe.
The projects of 22 students were selected through a wide range of business ideas, including mobile phone applications, social networking services, promotion of traditional Greek products abroad, creating networks fostering green energy, etc.
So far, nine of the first graduates have their own business and are following a successful path. The rest of them have developed their business plans and participated in various networking activities organized by ID-GC and other bodies. Six different institutional partners have already funded some of the projects while students are excelling in numerous innovation competitions in Greece and abroad.
The Director of MBA International Program Professor George Ioannou underlined that “This effort started as an experiment and the results were very encouraging. Through iMBA, we manage to have enterprises that exist and provide jobs while generating value and wealth.”
By creating the first innovation major in a Greek public university, ID-GC is changing the mindset of young people, providing them with incentives and opportunities that help them convert their theoretical knowledge into real innovative and productive enterprises. ID-GC realized the importance of the synergies and interactions of different stakeholders within the global ecosystem and managed to unify the three dimensions of the economy. Through this initiative ID-GC proved that a public-private partnership can work. Different players of the ecosystem, a public university, a private multinational company and a non-profit organization can partner together and create something really innovative and powerful with significant added value for the economy and society.
Michalis Stangos is a creative entrepreneur and politically active. He is the founder and co-founder of innovative and traditional companies and organizations. He is the president and CEO of an integrated communication group of companies MSCOMM. He is also the co-founder of Industry Disruptors – Game Changers, an ecosystem to enhance entrepreneurship in the Southeast Mediterranean region.