“You make us proud as a country,” said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, addressing the young Greek “start-ups” who won the Pan-European Awards for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, with whom he met a few days ago, at the Maximos Palace.
The Prime Minister praised the importance of children’s success and stressed that everything can start from an idea, but it requires close cooperation and a lot of work to get to the point of implementation.
“We work well together when we want to and when we realize that only through cooperation can we move forward with common goals,” he said. I have spoken to many groups of young children who have been involved in this process. “You made us proud as a country.”
Kyriakos Mitsotakis also discussed the “start-ups” and the creations they developed.
In particular, for Swim.me, which won the first prize in the Pan-European Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition JA Europe Enterprise Challenge 2021 with the “smart” cap for the visually impaired and FlowOn, which won the second prize in the Pan-European Student Innovation and Innovation Competition JA Europe Company of the Year 2021 with the “smart tap” that fights water waste and germ transmission.
“You made us proud. You realize that it all starts with an idea, but it also takes a lot of work to get to the point of implementation. This whole process: how you organize a team, how you think about setting up a business, you see the complexity behind producing a new product or service. I think that all these are very useful lessons, which will accompany you for a lifetime “, Mr. Mitsotakis noted, adding that” we also want to teach such concepts of creative entrepreneurship, much more in schools “.
The Prime Minister underlined that “your own experiences make it easier for us to break some stereotypes” and added:
“We work together when we want to and when we realize that only through cooperation can we advance common goals. A team must work together. And I think you have to learn to manage the complexity and diversity of a team, the different ideas, the tensions that can arise, to finally come up with a common component. Because as I imagine you would also have this experience, that not everything goes on the clock. There are difficulties, there are different views. You have to find a way to resolve these tensions, differences, and a collective intelligence within the group that is strangely greater than the sum of the individual intelligence of each of you. This is the great beauty of teamwork. One thing is for sure: whatever you choose to do, whatever you choose to study, you will always have to work as a team. ” He added that “for those of you who finally choose the path of entrepreneurship, I think you will always have very strong experiences inside you. I wish and hope through your support, these experiences after you pass them on to younger children, I imagine that there are thoughts and ideas on how you can, say, go to talk to schools to younger children and give them tell your own story. So that this thing can become something much, much bigger than it is today “.
The Prime Minister concluded by saying: “To congratulate first and foremost all of you again for your effort. It is not easy when you first have to think about how you will manage your free time, beyond and above the lessons and I am glad that you chose this way to be able to do something that is very important for you but also important for the country. It is a great honor for all of us to be able to excel in such competitions at European and global level. And of course to highlight the great, very important, decisive contribution of Junior Achievement. It is an organization that has passionately supported youth entrepreneurship, which is now finding its place in the official curricula of the Ministry of Education. I think only good things will come out of this choice and no matter what you end up doing, I think you will always have great memories from your experience working together and standing out together. And with the good of course, not to leave only this idea on paper, but also to become a final product, because the purpose of the business, a new business, is ultimately to be able to make a product or service that has value and the value is captured through sales and profitability. It is not the only importance of a business, now you see that there is a whole debate in the global business community that the purpose of business is not only profit, but they have a broader responsibility to society as a whole. I think these are all concepts that you are already familiar with and I am very happy about that. Congratulations again”.
What the young people said
For his part, David Begjanian, head of the FlowOn team, noted that “the truth is that through this program we have seen the importance of entrepreneurship. It is very important in addition to teaching entrepreneurship to support this and the state. We are glad to see that the state supports this. Of course, we also thank Junior Achievement for everything it has offered us this year. Thank you for the honor of welcoming us. ”
Rania Vlachou, CEO of Swim.me, said: “This was a way out for us, this period of quarantine. To be creative, productive and indeed we had all the help of Junior Achievement. We are very happy with the result. Indeed, entrepreneurship must be in both universities and colleges. ”
The two competitions took place in the context of the largest European Entrepreneurship Festival GEN-E of Junior Achievement Europe. It started online on June 29 with the Lithuanian Junior Achievement headquarters and culminated on Thursday, July 15, 2021 with the awarding of the prizes to the Greek students who excelled among the 370,000 young people who participated in the two European competitions in in the school year 2020-21. It is noted that this is the first time in the 16-year history of Junior Achievement Greece that Greek teams win first and second Pan-European awards and these successes create great optimism for the future.
Swim.me is a “smart” system for assisting visually impaired swimmers. In the swimmer’s cap there are glasses with sensors so that the athlete is alerted with vibrations about the exact moment of the turn and his position on the pool track. The system, through an IoT application, also records data and analytics for the athlete’s performance and development in training. The device is addressed to both professionals and amateurs but also to children with total or partial blindness, giving them the opportunity for complete autonomy in the pool and enhancing their psychological mood. Its executives are students of the Athens University of Economics and Business and the National Technical University of Athens.
FlowOn’s “startuppers” students come from the Experimental High School of the University of Macedonia and won second prize in the Pan-European Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition JA Europe Company of the Year 2021. They were distinguished among 40 start-up students from all over Europe the “smart tap” that fights water waste and germ transmission. The innovative accessory they created, applies to simple outdoor taps and turns them into “smart” ones that open and close intact and automatically. The “Flow On” accessory can be widely used in schools, parks, other public areas and home gardens, achieving significant water savings and ideal hygiene conditions, while the group consists of 20 children from A ‘, B’ and C class of Highschool.