Greece seems to be very close to attaining its own version of Silicon Valley in Thessaloniki, which will soon be home to the largest state-of-the-art science and technology park (STP) and startup hub in Southeastern Europe with the establishment of Thessaloniki Innovation & Technology Center (Thess INTEC).
Thess INTEC promises to become the prime example of the private and public sector joining forces. The project is being described as a private sector initiative combining the involvement of the city’s leading industries and institutions in conjunction with the Hellenic government’s full support.
It will be a fourth generation science and technology park that will stimulate and host synergies amongst universities, research and development institutions, various companies, the public sector, and local communities. Its main aim is to promote the culture of innovation and competitiveness, resulting in cutting-edge products and services for world markets.
Thess INTEC will potentially become the most innovative and important research project in Greece and the Balkans to date. It is slated to become the first large-scale science and technology infrastructure in Greece and is being developed on a 760 thousand square meter waterfront location. The municipality of Thermaikos (Thermaic Gulf) near Thessaloniki’s International Airport in the suburb of Peraia about fifteen kilometers away from Thessaloniki’s vibrant city center will be home to Thess INTEC.
The center’s state-of-the-art amenities include industrial laboratories, machinery, computing facilities, a large-scale incubator and accelerator, flexible office spaces, co-working and networking areas, a conference center, and several educational and recreation facilities.
Thess INTEC means digital transformation
According to Deputy Development and Investment Minister Christos Dimas, who is overseeing the project, “the aim is to develop state-of-the-art infrastructure with fourth generation technologies” that will also encompass “a theme park for education and recreation, a conference center, [and] cycle paths and green spaces.”
Dimas adds that Thess INTEC will significantly contribute to Greece’s digital transformation and help the country develop all necessary competencies required in today’s knowledge economy.
Furthermore, according to Dimas, Thess INTEC will be the leading actor in Thessaloniki’s transition to a major regional research and innovation hub. It is intended that it will become the number one choice for any multinational or Greek innovative company wishing to locate its center of activities in Southeast Europe.
Thess INTEC has already attracted a great number of international investors, according to a government spokesperson. Thus far, over seventy companies, including universities and research centers, have signed MoUs (a memorandum of understanding) with Thess INTEC. According to the project’s website, it will attract approximately five hundred million euros of foreign and domestic investments within the next five to ten years, and more than seven thousand jobs will gradually be created.
The planning of Thess INTEC began in 2017, and, according to the company’s time plan, the implementation of all building and technical studies, as well as the construction of the park’s main infrastructures, will be completed by 2023.
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