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Greek Startups: A Word from an Athens Pirate

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*By Maria Calafatis – Greeks have always been entrepreneurial. These last few years the Startup Community has grown fast and despite the crisis, there is a lot of motivation among the startups.
The Greeks were in search of new experiences by trying out new ideas, exploring their own talents and turning into their own business. The Ecosystem boomed fast but one of the biggest challenges was that there was nowhere to host such startup ideas, a community where startups would work together on a daily basis to meet, create and network.
It was then when Stavros Messinis and his team pitched the idea at Startup Weekend Athens 2008 for the first coworking-space in Greece, the CoLab Athens.
The idea didn’t come out first or even 3rd that weekend but it was the one startup that actually managed to make it that year and since then another 8 coworking spaces have emerged. This meant that CoLab Athens knew what it was doing and was doing it right.
After just 1 year CoLab Athens opened 3 branches, one in the center, one in the outskirts of Athens and a third in the island Crete/ Iraklio.
Some of Greece’s most well known startups (TaxibeatBugsense,Locisch and OpenFund Greece’s first funding investors) were the first teams being hosted in the space.
It gives us great pride to have worked with such startups and see them grow fast. These companies are well established now, and no longer in the coworking space. It’s always sad to see them go but makes us happy to see them grow.
We have been very active with the Startup Community both in and outside Greece, facilitating Startup Weekend events in many parts of the world, like Germany, Saudi Arabia, Moldova and Cyprus, while also contributing to their organization in Greece.
After working close with CoLab Athens for the past 3 years, we understood that both the community and our team needed more and new challenges.
That is  when we decided to continue into a new and bigger project: The Cube Athens. This is Greece’s leading and biggest coworking, incubator, campus and makers-space in the heart of the city, hosting some of Greece’s most innovative startup ideas.
It’s premises are 1.700 sqm. industrial building  hosting over 20 Startups and growing. ask4foodInnovation AcceleratorFlipped Horizons, are just a few of some teams hosted at The Cube.
It must be noted that OpenFund joined The Cube Athens and it has grown into OpenFund2.
We also host Athens Information Technology Campus on the first floor of our premises as well as
A standard support program Startup business to create products, services and applications that promote sustainable economic development, ensuring significant environmental and social value.
Our concept is to provide and offer a social and innovative community for the doers of the city. We run many projects in the space with one of our latest ones being Campus Bus and are always in seek of new challenges to introduce to the community and keep them creating and innovating.
Our youngest talents rise from Coder Dojo Athens, a free coding club for young kids from ages 8 -12 years old, where our young ninjas are introduced to Scratch, LegoMindstorm, Khan Academy and JavaScript. We started it 2 years ago and since then introduced it to new towns around Greece, the latest one being the city of Kalamata with the launch of Campus Bus. CoderDojo Athens has assisted Hellenic Game Jam‎ two years in a row now, presenting their work and being influenced by some of Greece’s greatest developers.
The Cube Athens hosts a large number of startup events where Startup founders can network, learn, recruit or be inspired.
When introduced to Startup Pirates, our immediate thought  was that it will definitely be something that will add on and fit well with our community.
We believe that networking plays an essential role in the community, bringing entrepreneurs together from all parts of the world to talk and share their experiences, influencing and helping the community grow better and faster.
Some of the services we provide at The Cube Athens include the daily needs and use of the space, Internet, electricity, printing, meeting-rooms. The Cube works very closely with highly experienced startup lawyers and accountants who visit the space every couple of weeks during office hours with the startups as well as mentors.
Many Startups have emerged these last few years. Some make it, others don’t, because not everyone is cut out for this. However, the fact that especially the younger generation is creating, experimenting and trying out new ideas is great and The Cube Athens will be here to help them evolve.

*Maria Calafatis is the Athens organizer of Startup Pirates and a Community Curator at The Cube Athens

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