Interview by Petros Kokkalis head of BlueGrowth Piraeus Initiative.
THE BLUE GROWTH INNOVATION COMPETITION
FOR THE BLUE ECONOMY
What is «Blue Growth» at first glance?
BlueGrowth is the first innovation contest for blue economy that began in 2014 with a vision for innovative business ideas to strengthen traditional economic activities related to the blue economy. This will be accomplished by creating new jobs alongside with a new business ecosystem and initiatives, by setting the sea again under a new perspective in the forefront of
the regional economic development. The process is undertaken by the BlueGrowth competition, which has been held for the third consecutive year and is one of the most successful initiatives to promote start-ups not only locally but also with international appeal.
This is also confirmed by our distinction in the European URBACT III program entitled Good Practice Call. The proposal of Piraeus Municipality for the BlueGrowth Initiative competition was chosen among the 270 proposals and Piraeus was awarded the title “URBACT Good Practice City “.
The fact that results have started to become measurable, is one of paramount importance for the BlueGrowth initiative. The competition was the springboard for 20 companies, which in turn created 60 new jobs. It is also very important that more than 35 events in this community have been held in the last two years, involving more specified audiences such as “open data and maritime economy”, tourism and innovation. All these events have contributed towards strengthening this relationship.
“Blue Growth” represents for us, everything that we envision for the development of Piraeus: Innovation, Extraversion, Entrepreneurship centered on the sea, with a steady look towards the sea. This is where the development abilities are, with shipping and tourism as their main axes.
This year, BlueGrowth is evolving and maturing even further, ensuring quality in both the selection of the submitted proposals, as well as the interactivity and directness of the candidates’ communication with the mentors and board members of initiative.
I would urge anyone who has an innovative idea on the marine economy or is in the scale up stage to take part in the 5th BlueGrowth Piraeus competition which will open on June after Posidonia 2018 exhibition on our website: http://www.bluegrowth.gr/register/
Our aim is to make the day after the competition, the beginning for a new concept, which could encapsulate the essence and true meaning of Blue Growth: originality, creativity, innovation, and collaboration. Blue Growth, among the Aephoria team and the pool of Mentors will be available for addressing the needs and challenges of our participants. We are committed to be present and supportive until the transformation of the “seed-idea” into an established, future, strong stakeholder of the Blue Economy.
Our vision is Piraeus to become a modern shipping cluster where shipping companies, start-up innovative companies, academic community, research institutions and the whole commercial, craft and industrial world of the city will interact and cooperate.