The past few months we observe the emergence of a new style of incubators in Greece, a country that suffers enormous economic and social upheaval since 2010. These incubator-like organisations foster the creation of a strong startup movement and provide the environment for eventual growth.
Last Tuesday I visited three very promising places that deserve to be mentioned at length because of what they can offer to the startup community. In Greece they call them co-working places but I find this definition both self-limiting and untrue.
The first incubator is Colab and can be found in the centre of Athens. It provides offices for several tech startup companies and is considered one of the best enterprises of its kind, since it already contributed to the success of several companies.
Colab organises regularly networking meetings, where startups and investors have the chance to mingle.
Above all, it provides exquisite support to techies through a series of seminars and workshops on all kinds of topics from ruby on rails to open stack and beyond. This year, in fact, there will also be a new series of courses on all aspects of how to set up a business and how to assist its growth. Lean methodology is central in their teachings.
In addition, Colab arranges for mentoring programs that are essential for the guidance of young businesspeople.
Bottom line, if you are a tech startup and you live in Athens, make sure you become a member of the Colab community early on! Be aware, though, that places are limited!
The Cube http://thecube.gr
I was very impressed when I visited another up-and-coming incubator, again in the centre of Athens, The Cube.
The premises are nothing short of amazing! The style, the design, the surroundings… everything indicates that this incubator will become The Networking Place in Athens! I would not mind taking my morning tea there, while I observe the business crowd!
The owners believe that the cafe will buzz with people and the offices will soon fill up with residents. If you are interested in renting some space, you should speak up earlier rather than later.
This incubator will be more general in scope and will include all types of businesses. It even organises coding workshops for children!
Another ‘incubator’ deserves a special mention, Appsterdam. This space is designed to host independent software and hardware developers who are interested in becoming contractors.
It runs at a minimal budget, unlike the Cube, but the enthusiasm of its managers compensate for the lack of funding.
There are plans for courses, workshops, talks, networking events and other activities that will keep the place full of visitors throughout the year. The best part is that office accommodation will be free for those who wish to share some of their knowledge with the community.
Call for support
All of the above incubators are privately funded, since the Greek government does not have the capacity to support them in any way or form. The lack of funding in Greece, which cripples every aspect of the society, does not seem to stop them!
The people who run the incubators are all enthusiastic, persistent and attend the future with hope. They deserve our admiration and encouragement in their difficult task! They definitely get my vote of confidence and anything else I can offer to help them grow!
Support is not only about giving money! Most importantly, it is about getting involved!