I’m committed to writing stories that aim to inspire and shed a “ray of hope” on Greek entrepreneurial endeavors. Greece has so many promising entrepreneurs, with great ideas, that wish to make a positive change and contribute to the improvement of this country’s economy and business quo. They seek guidance, education and support in order to realize projects and see their business prosper. Ideas are super important, but so many times, creative minds might not have the tools to create a solid business plan and thus, monetize a creative idea; or an excellent business plan might not have the funding to follow through and materialize a project that could potentially generate numerous job opportunities. Entrepreneurship needs guidance and support in order to flourish and become sustainable. When it does, success Stories that we all admire and get inspired by are created. Some of these success stories are already known to us: Anassa Organics, RTSafe, Yolenis, Blueground what they all have in common is Envolve (former HEA), a new global entrepreneurship support organization, which seeks to cultivate the next generation of business leaders through education, resources and regional awards. It is a new, non-profit organization that integrates Hellenic and American Entrepreneurship Awards and promises to reach wider international communities in need of economic stimulus.
Following five years of supporting Greek entrepreneurs, the Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award announced on March 07, 2018, that it will relaunch as the Greek arm of Envolve (www.EnvolveGlobal.org), a new global entrepreneurship organization established by the Libra Group (www.libra.com). Born out of the impact of the HEA, Envolve will go beyond the operation of annual award programs and serve as a single source of support for budding and established entrepreneurs globally.
Envolve Global is an entrepreneurship support organization, founded by the Libra Group, that provides resources, education and award programs for start-up businesses globally. The organization encompasses the former Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award (HEA) and the American Entrepreneurship Award (AEA) – programs which have declared 35 winners since 2012, supporting job creation and economic growth in Greece and the USA. Striving for a global society where all business owners can prosper and grow, Envolve is committed to developing and cultivating entrepreneurial ecosystems, by ensuring business support services are more readily available to diverse entrepreneurs.
Envolve’s mission rests on three pillars: education, resources and awards. The non-profit organization will provide education for start-up and early stage businesses, and leverage partnerships that increase availability of entrepreneurship resources. This in turn will leave businesses better placed to make a competitive application for one of its awards. Thus the former HEA will now become the Envolve Award Greece. As before, the award program in Greece will be conducted on behalf of The Hellenic Initiative and will enjoy the support of the numerous organizations which stepped up to support HEA and AEA. Supporters in Greece have included, Onassis Cultural Center, Microsoft, SAP Hellas, Intracom Telecom, Kyvernitis Travel, V+O Communications, and Antidote Creative Studio. AEA has enjoyed supporters such as MBKA, Shark Branding, Miami Dade College, WIBO, and from faculty of Fordham University, UPenn Law School and Georgetown Law Center.
Envolve will serve as a catalyst for investment in early-stage businesses globally by providing entrepreneurs with easy access to capital, knowledge and resources, while also recruiting additional partners, investors, and collaborators to support the new organization. In addition to the HEA, Envolve encompasses the American Entrepreneurship Award (AEA) and will remain one of the principal programs of the Libra Group’s Social Responsibility division. The two award programs which recognize innovation, local job creation and sustainability, have declared 35 winners since 2012, supporting economic growth in Greece and the USA. The Greek award winners are active in 14 sectors of the economy and have achieved consistent commercial growth, creating hundreds of direct and indirect jobs amid Greece’s prolonged economic downturn. Today the winning businesses are collectively valued at over €50,000,000.
Envolve seeks to broaden the scope and reach of HEA and AEA and thereby have an impact on even more start-up businesses. As Envolve expands globally it will identify selected underserved local communities each year and operate regionally-focused Envolve Awards and entrepreneurship events. Historically, HEA has declared a small pool of winners each year. This year, with its relaunch as the Envolve Award Greece, the number of winners declared will more than double. Each winner is eligible for business funding, mentorship, and support. More details around the US award will follow in the months to come.
The gateway to all Envolve’s services to entrepreneurs is its new website – www.EnvolveGlobal.org. Envolve will provide ready access to tools and resources that will help new businesses get off to a good start. Its education arm aims to collaborate with entrepreneur support organizations on events and workshops that feature established entrepreneurs and industry experts. The Envolve Awards section of the website will be familiar to former HEA applicants: the award portal is very straightforward and guides entrepreneurs, irrespective of their experience, through the application process.
For 2018 the Envolve Award Greece will be open to any new Greek businesses, and Envolve Award USA will be open to entrants from Miami-Dade County, the Bronx, NY, and other expanded chapter cities. Registration via the Envolve website commences from March 7th 2018 – and winners of both awards will be declared in the autumn of 2018.
Commenting on its launch, Christopher Upperman, CEO of Envolve stated: “Our experience has shown us that entrepreneurship is vital to long-term economic growth and sustainability. We want to continue to aid in the incubation of new ideas for success and provide a boost for early stage entrepreneurs. The HEA’s track record — and that of its sister program, the American Entrepreneurship Award (AEA) — has provided an opportunity for us to scale-up and go global. Through our three pillars of education, resources, and awards Envolve aims to empower aspiring business leaders throughout the world and to make a tangible difference in underserved communities. Greece has been an anchor region for our work and will remain a focus for many years to come. We encourage and invite others to join us to create meaningful and lasting impact.”
Alexandros Nousias, National Director of Envolve Greece added: “The Greek community, and participants in the HEA in particular, can pride themselves on being the inspiration for the creation of an inclusive global organization which seeks to demonstrate that anyone with a new idea and the courage to turn it into a plan of action can contribute to their local economy and in turn transform whole communities. We believe we are part of a larger community and our collective efforts can stimulate entrepreneurship. As such, we are proud to continue our support of The Hellenic Initiative by operating the Envolve Award Greece on their behalf and look forward to working with them to again support the best in Greek entrepreneurship.”