Vamvakou Incubator

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 Vamvakou Revival initiative implemented 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 supports ideas, individuals or groups in order to be able process their business idea, create a new business or develop an already existing one.

In collaboration with Impact Hub Athens.

At a glance…

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

53 total applications

11 selected business ideas

Total of selected beneficiaries: 6 businesses to be established in Vamvakou and 5 businesses to be established in the region of the Peloponnese

4 main pillars of action: Agrifood, Tourism, Culture, Innovation/Technology

Duration of 1st Cycle: up to December 2023

Application Evaluation Results

The total number of businesses that joined the Vamvakou Incubator is 11, of which 6 are for in-person support and will establish their headquarters in the village of Vamvakou and 5 are for remote support and will establish their headquarters in the Region of Peloponnese. The business proposals, the teams, the ideas or the persons that qualified and were selected to join the Program are:

Van Ysseldijk Pieter (Agrifood/Innovation): Solar Aquaponics, an independent energy community based on solar hydroponics.

Giachalis Michalis (Tourism): A proposal for the organization of mountainous sports activities and the development of alternative tourism through nature-loving, hiking and other activities on the mountain.

Xerakia Maria (Tourism): A business proposal concerning culinary tourism and the promotion of Greek Tourism as a product and its Culture through gastronomy.

Lamberis Athena (Tourism): A business proposal concerning ecotourism. The creation of a multifaceted ecotourism initiative in the village of Alepochori in Arcadia with a focus on organic farming.

Manolopoulos Konstantinos (Tourism): Promotion of medical and wellness tourism by providing services related to nutritional health and body weight issues.

Mermigka Maria (Tourism): The creation and establishment of a small grocery store in the village of Vamvakou Lakonia.

Metallinou Fiori-Anastasia (Tourism): A business proposal which involves scientific and educational tourism, offering an integrated experience, based on a program of activities in Astronomy, Astrophysics and Environmental Sciences.

Tsimpidis Georgios (Agrifood): Winery and mountain vineyards in the village of Vamvakou.

Farantatos Adamantios (Agrifood): Winery and mountain vineyards in the village of Vamvakou.

Charvourou Garyfallia (Tourism): The establishment of an independent company that will act as a “cluster” network of businesses aiming to showcase and promote Laconian and Spartan products, traditional tastes, gastronomy and culture in the region through the development of a gastronomic tourism product in Laconia and its emergence as a sustainable Agrifood Destination.

Chatzi Katerina (Culture): An entity that will focus on strengthening modern crafts, rescuing and reviving material and intangible cultural heritage, integrating diverse audiences and inclusiveness.

Kick-off Event

The Vamvakou Incubator kick-off meeting occurred on Friday 03.03.2023, that not only marked the opening of the incubator operations, but also the beginning of a new business community that will join its creative forces with activities that will take place in the region of Peloponnese.

The meeting took place at the school of Vamvakou where the beneficiaries (ideas, entrepreneurs and business teams), Impact Hub Athens and Vamvakou Revival partners attended. During the meeting, the Vamvakou Revival initiative was presented, attendees got to know each other playing an ice braker game, opinions and ideas about Vamvakou were exchanged, expectations from their participation in the incubator program as well as their contributions were expressed, but also connections and potential collaborations between them were identified. The beneficiaries were informed of the next steps, the start of the program as well as their benefits and obligations. The event closed with a “get-to-know-you-better” meal and gathering at the restaurant-cafe Voureiko.

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.

1st Cycle Assessment Committee

The proposals submitted was assessed by the Assessment Committee, comprising members of external partners of Vamvakou Revival. The Committee examined thoroughly and assessed 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.

The members of the evaluation committee of Vamvakou Incubator are renowned professionals throughout the spectrum of specializations and sectors covered by the incubator. Giorgos Koumendakis from the field of Culture, Effie Lazaridou from the Agrifood sector, Sophie Lambrou from the sector of entrepreneurship, Myrto Papathanou from the field of Investment & Innovation and Manolis Psarros from the field of Tourism are those that will be evaluating the applications/ideas for incorporation in the 1st Cycle of the Support and Hosting Programme of the incubator. We would like to warmly thank them for their help!

Assessment criteria

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.

With the support of

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.