Vamvakou Incubator: Open Call

In the village of Vamvakou in Lakonia, we are creating a business centre, a shared collaborative space promoting the development of ideas, as part of the Revival of the village realized by Vamvakou Revival Team with the exclusive support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF). Our vision is to create a model mountain business centre and bring together people with passion and dreams, interested start-ups, as well as business teams that wish to contribute to the revitalization of the Greek countryside and build their own future through the implementation of a sustainable business idea. Vamvakou Incubator will be operating as a growth centre and a lever for the attraction of new business activity in the area, giving answers to problems by supporting new service/product/solution development, while contributing significantly to the revitalization, as well as to the qualitative upgrade of the economy in the wider area of Mount Parnon and the region of the Peloponnese. The Programme will be supporting ideas, individuals or groups in order to be able process their business idea, create a new business or develop an already existing one.

The business incubator forms part of the Peloponnesus Operational Programme 2014-2020 and falls under the Priority Axis of “Reinforcement of competitiveness, attractiveness and extroversion of the Region, transition to a qualitative entrepreneurship with a focus on innovation and an increased regional value”. Vamvakou Incubator and its operation are supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), within the framework of the Vamvakou Revival initiative.

Open call for incorporation in the 1st Cycle of the Support & Hosting Programme

Are you about to start a new business? Do you have a business idea? Or a sense of astute business acumen? Would you like to contribute to the development of a small Greek village? Do you want to be the first to participate in the only “mountain” business incubator in Greece? Do you too believe that the countryside hides business opportunities? Then, don’t hesitate; apply now for your incorporation in the 1st Cycle of the Support & Hosting Programme by Vamvakou Incubator and let’s make together your ideas and dreams come true!

At a glance…

1st Cycle of the Business Support and Hosting Programme in Vamvakou Incubator

Application period: 10/10/2022 – 09/12/2022

Assessment & Announcement of results: January – February 2023

Duration of 1st Cycle: up to 31/12/2023

Total of beneficiaries: 5 businesses to be established in Vamvakou and 5 businesses to be established in the region of the Peloponnese

To whom is the Programme addressed?

– Natural persons, business teams of up to 5 individuals or start-ups that have a business idea or are starting a new business initiative responding to the needs of inhabitants or/and to growth opportunities in the region of the Peloponnese.

– Businesses that are being created or new businesses or prospective entrepreneurs from the wider area of Mount Parnon and the region of the Peloponnese in search of incentives or determined to live and work in a calm and fecund environment for the transformation of their business idea into a successful start-up business.

– Businesses that are being created or new businesses or prospective entrepreneurs from the wider area of Mount Parnon and the region of the Peloponnese aspiring to grow their business plans and create new businesses and services/products.

– Individuals who are at least 18 years of age.

Which are the pillars of activation?

If you have an idea or a business being created in the following sectors, you can also participate in the Programme:

Agrifood: We are looking for projects that are making the most of the natural wealth of Mount Parnon and the wider area of the Peloponnese in order to create agrifood products in accordance with the principles of sustainability or that are offering services in the primary sector (for instance, cultivation, processing, support in the stage of cultivation and pre-cultivation, services for product sales and promotion).

Tourism: We are looking for ideas offering a comprehensive and unique experience to the visitors of the village or/and the region of the Peloponnese under the themes of sports, nature, wellness and conferences.

Technology / Innovation: We are looking for proposals, ideas and solutions based on innovation and technology regarding the management of resources, optimization of the existing production process, facilitation of access to basic services (for instance, civil protection, health, education, agricultural services, production optimization, circular economy). There is also the option for in-situ application to be developed on the mountain environment.

Culture: We are looking for initiatives that combine the intangible cultural heritage with contemporary design and highlight the culture of Vamvakou, Mount Parnon and the region of the Peloponnese based on the criteria of sustainability and entrepreneurship (for instance, events, publications, digitalization).

What does the Programme offer?

– Free integrated business support.

– Workspace for the period of support for the 5 businesses to be established in Vamvakou and access to equipment (computers, fast internet, offices, printers and electronic equipment).

– Training workshops, programmes, seminars and individual and group sessions of business coaching with specialized consultants, coaches and mentors.

– Networking with pivotal bodies, organizations and investors for the development of entrepreneurship and the distinct business ideas.

– Free consulting and monitoring from third parties (legal, accounting and managerial support, company establishment process, branding-corporate identity design, webpage, social networks).

– Support to find a house in the area of Vamvakou.

– Support to find potential sources of financing.

How does the assessment process work?

The proposals submitted will be assessed by the Assessment Committee, comprising members of external partners of Vamvakou Revival and local bodies from the region of the Peloponnese. The Committee examines thoroughly and assesses the proposal submitted according to the criteria specified and then proceeds with a personal interview and presentation of the proposal by the candidate/s that will be benefiting from the Programme to decide eventually the incorporation, or not, of the proposal to the Programme.

Which are the criteria for the assessment of the proposals?

The assessment criteria are classified as follows:

Business proposal value. The project must involve a clearly specified business/social/environmental challenge and an explicitly stated solution/idea addressing the challenge.

Viability. The project must have explicitly specified target group, services/products/solutions provided and projected revenue stream, ensuring its financial viability.

Business team. The team or individual to be incorporated in the Programme must have related previous experience, knowledge and skills in the sector of activation and a strong vision towards the realization of the idea.

Growth perspective. The business idea must contribute to cover the needs of the local population or/and address the problems, challenges and opportunities of the wider area. In the case of the businesses to be established in Vamvakou, the contribution of the proposal to the Revival will be also taken into consideration.

Footprint & Ecosystem. Creation of job opportunities, provision of fair labour relations, establishment of complementary relations with existing organizations in Vamvakou, the wider area and the region of the Peloponnese, incorporation in the ecosystem.

Apart from the above assessment criteria, it is the procedure of the interview, presentation and support of the business proposal by the candidate that will determine the end result.

Why should I apply?

– Because I will have access to specialized know-how regarding the area and the mountain environment.

– Because I will get help to transform my idea into a real business, product, service, solution.

– Because I will have the chance to minimize the operating costs of my business.

– Because I will be able to make the most of a wide network of collaborators and the liaison with local and hyper-local bodies and organizations, as well as with local investors in order to develop new synergies or have access to funding.

– Because I will contribute to the establishment of a pioneering endeavour for the revival of an area.

– Because I will have the chance to proceed with a pilot application of my innovative/technological idea in a real mountain environment and create a real solution.

– Because I will be among the first ones to participate in the first mountain business incubator in Greece.

What is happening today in Vamvakou?

Vamvakou Revival was founded aiming at the full revival of the village of Vamvakou in Lakonia by a group of young people with an origin and strong ties with the village, with the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF). Over the past few years, the two organizations share the common vision for the revival of Vamvakou, drawing on the history, human capital and natural wealth of the area. The vision involves the creation of a “model” village based on the sustainable development of the wider area, primarily aiming at the return of permanent residents. The main vehicle behind the initiative involves the creation of job opportunities and the assurance of modern living conditions so that, in a few years, Vamvakou will be bustling again with life by families and children and the school bell will be ringing again. The basic pillars of the initiative are tourism, innovation, agrifood and entrepreneurship. The aspiration of Vamvakou is to open the way towards the revival vision and serve as a model for several more villages in Greece and abroad to follow.