22 - 26 May 2022

Greek House Davos 2022 Annual Meeting

Davos Platz, Promenade 49

Highlights – Greek House Davos 2022

At the 2022 World Economic Forum, Greek House Davos launched the very first Greek pavilion in the history of the conference, bringing together a wide range of key stakeholders, politicians and industry leaders to discuss business-oriented solutions towards tackling pressing domestic and global challenges.

In the midst of an unprecedented global energy crisis resulting from the Russian invasion in Ukraine, as well as the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, business cooperation as a tool for attaining major government initiatives has never been more critical. To that end, Greek House Davos sought to promote this cooperative framework by hosting a series of panels and keynote speeches with leaders and policy makers in the energy, technology, investment, and maritime sectors. These interventions aimed to articulate a series of bilateral visions for Greece’s future. They reinforced the importance of solidifying Europe’s path towards energy independence, a future which can only materialize with significant private sector investments. They also discussed the emergence of Greece as an investment destination for major companies, the urgency of promoting SMEs and innovative Greek entrepreneurship, and the potential in prioritizing the blue economy as a driver of sustainable economic growth. Panelists frequently returned to the idea that Greece was rapidly establishing itself as the maritime, research, energy and tourism hub of Southern Europe.

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Europe in the new geopolitical context: The vision of a Union based on values

Opening keynote speech: Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Promoting our European Way of Life

The opening session of Greek House Davos 2022 within the framework of the World Economic Forum, was inaugurated by Mr. Margaritis Schinas, the current Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for promoting the European Way of Life, whose keynote speech addressed the crucial role played by Europe in the current, rapidly evolving geopolitical context. “In these unprecedented historic challenges, Europe and Greece play a central role providing daring and bold responses” emphasized the VP, further commenting that Europe’s unity in addressing the situation in Ukraine was also unprecedented. “We proved that Europe’s condemnation is anything but symbolic and we marked a new phase for the Union in the geopolitical sphere with very important, daring actions in different fronts” mentioned Mr. Schinas, while addressing a full house at Greece House Davos’ pavilion.

The Vice-President’s speech was followed by an engaging conversation between him and Mr. Mark Mueller–Eberstein, CEO of Adgetec Corporation, during which Mr. Schinas focused on the issue of investments. The two highlighted sectors such as new technologies, the green economy as well sustainable tourism in which the EU maintains a comparative advantage. The Vice-President emphasized that despite the countless challenges that Greece dealt with during the turbulent years of the economic crisis, the country has proven itself to be one of the most financeable member states of the EU. With regards to domestic equality and growth, the two speakers agreed that Greece must utilize technological developments in the energy sector in order to create a more effective response to international challenges, such as pandemics and war threats.



Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) as a key driver for sustainable economic growth

Mark Mueller-Eberstein, CEO of Adgetec Corporation, in conversation with:
Adonis Georgiadis, Minister of Development & Investments, Hellenic Republic

During an engaging conversation between Mr. Mark Mueller–Eberstein, CEO of Adgetec Corporation, and Mr. Georgiadis, the two discussed the emerging investment potential in Greece for multinational firms of various sectors. Mr. Mueller–Eberstein noted the country’s increasing allure for international investors looking to enter the ICT sector, a fact evidenced by the nation’s numerous financial success stories in the past few years.

Agreeing with Mr. Mueller-Eberstein’s remarks, Mr. Adonis Georgiadis, Minister of Development and Investments, furter stated that “after the start of the pandemic, the government worked to reform Greece into a business-friendly country and these policies have attracted direct foreign investment to the country. He mentioned that in 2021, Greece witnessed one of the best economic performances across the European Union, achieving a growth rate of 8.3%. “The war [in Ukraine] has not stopped investments into Greece either. People realize that Greece is a very stable country, especially in sectors regarding renewable energy where Greece has natural advantages” concluded the Minister.


Industry 4.0: Digital transformation, harnessing the full potential of the start-up ecosystem in an interconnected world
Christos Dimas, Deputy Minister of Development and Investments | Research, Innovation and Technology, Hellenic Republic
Lacey Hunter, Co-founder and Director of Growth, Partnerships and Finance, Proxi
Stella Thomas, Managing Director, Global Water Fund
Petros Tzavellas, Vice President OPEKEPE (Greek Payment Authority of Common Agricultural Policy Aid Schemes

Fully in line with the WEF observation that the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the global digital transformation, the next panel hosted by Greek House Davos focused on the mechanisms required to harness the potential of booming start-up ecosystems in an increasingly interconnected world. “In Greece have really simplified the procedures to allow academics to create start-ups within universities and research centers, while simultaneously strengthening technology transfer offices in order to give the opportunity to create products or services that have a financial impact to our society”, noted Mr. Christos Dimas, Deputy Minister of Development and Investments | Research, Innovation and Technology, while explaining the country’s recent reforms. “What we do try to do in Greece at the moment is to unleash all the talent that is available in the start-up ecosystem, and to give people all the necessary tools in order to further fuel up that ecosystem”, added the Deputy Minister, while Mrs. Thomas, Mrs. Hunter, and Mr. Tzavelas highlighted the potential impact of Industry 4.0 in the agriculture, sustainability, and service sectors.


Monday, 23 May 2022

Innovative tools and policies for a robust and inclusive economic recovery

Rhett Power, Editor Forbes magazine, in conversation with:
Christos Dimas, Deputy Minister of Development and Investments | Research, Innovation and Technology, Hellenic Republic
Hans-Paul Buerkner, Chairman Boston Consulting Group
Francois Tilly, Head of Middle East and Africa, Euroclear
Rudolph Lohmeyer, Senior Partner and Head of NTI, Kearney
Spyros Martsekis, Founder & Managing Partner of Ionian Capital

The 2nd day of Greek House Davos opened with a very high-level session, where panelists discussed the significance of government oversight in order to ensure a robust, resilient economy. Mr. Rudolph Lohmeyer, a senior partner of NTI, Kearny, began by recognizing the objective importance of SMEs are for development, growth, and innovation. “We very often think it’s just a matter of money, so the government just needs to provide the money, but what the government really needs to do is to make sure that there is ease of business”, he mentioned, stressing the necessity for the government to ease transaction costs and minimize investment risk. Mr. Christos Dimas, the Minister of Development and Investments, stated that, in regards to government initiatives, Greece is “trying to cultivate an environment where Greeks feel they can be competitive on a global stage, even within Greece.” He continued by noting that the Greek government is “working to make an environment that is both friendly for investments and that can transform Greece in the coming years into the main hub of research and innovation in South Eastern Europe”.


Solmeyea: Impact-investment venture, resolving the Global Protein Challenge of “how to provide enough sustainable-derived proteins for 10 billion people by 2050”

Vasilis Stenos, CEO Solmeyea – Environmental engineer, plant-based proteins, vertical microalgae farming, Circular Bioeconomy, EU Climate Impact Ambassador, ESGs expert

In this keynote speech, Mr. Vasilis Stenos, the CEO of biotechnology firm Solmeyea, showcased the work his company is doing to develop the sustainably derived protein sector. Solomeya aims to develop microalgae to address one of the biggest issues contributing to climate change: excess atmospheric carbon dioxide. These microalgae can help nations and companies reduce their carbon dioxide emissions, but can simultaneously serve as a substitute to vegan proteins such as soy, which have a high carbon footprint. In this presentation, Mr. Stenos highlighted the important environmental applications, as well as the microalgae’s ability to address world hunger - providing a real-life example of an innovative Greek company aiming to tackle challenges that expand way beyond the country’s borders.


Building the new agenda of the European security industry

Rhett Power, Editor Forbes magazine, in conversation with:
Christian Hadjiminas, President EFA GROUP, Vice President Hellenic Association of Entrepreneurs (EENE)

“What the crisis did was to make us look in our yard and discover hidden treasures” noted Mr. Christian Hadjiminas, Chairman EFA GROUP and Vice President HELLENIC ENTREPRENEURS ASSOCIATION (EENE), in a conversation with Forbes Editor Rhett Power about Europe’s evolving security industry. “Greek defense engineering is a hidden treasure and was always there. It’s very important to show our young entrepreneurs that everything is possible”, highlighted Mr. Hadjiminas, adding that the war in Ukraine has made people across Europe realize the necessity of a strong defense industry. “The European defense industry now needs a unified and objective procurement process”concluded the Chairman of EFA Group.


East-West dialogue for sustainable peace and cross-cultural understanding

Konstantinos Foutzopoulos, Executive Director of Greek House Davos, in conversation with:
Margaritas Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Promoting our European Way of Life;
Shafik Gabr, Chairman and Managing Director, ARTOC Group for Investment and Development

In this session, during which the audience occupied every inch of the Greek House Davos pavillion, Mr. Margaritas Schinas, the Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Promoting our European Way of Life, and Mr. Shafik Gabr, Chairman and Managing Director, ARTOC Group for Investment and Development, discussed the importance of direct personal engagement to address future geopolitical challenges. Mr. Gabr noted that “we are living in a world today where nobody trusts anybody. Which is why we are here today, because we need to have more human interaction”. The panelists discussed how promoting dialogue is critical to address issues from a global perspective, and Mr. Schinas noted that in the future, Europe’s commitment to development aid needs to simultaneously address promoting democracy, solid institutions, robust civil society, and more opportunities for the people. In regards to Greece’s role in promoting cross-cultural understanding, Mr. Gabr ended by noting that Greece sits in a very strategic place. “I believe Greece can play a very positive role. My own feeling is that the opportunities are here, and that time is of the essence. But we need dialogue for this to happen” concluded Mr. Gabr.


Positioning Greece as an Investment Destination: priorities and challenges in the post pandemic era

Roula Al Tarawneh, CNBC Arabia, in conversation with:
Adonis Georgiadis, Minister of Development & Investments, Hellenic Republic

Delving even further into the pull factors that Greece offers as an investment destination, the next panel saw Mr. Adonis Georgiadis, Minister of Development & Investments, Hellenic Republic, sit across CNBC Arabia journalist, Roula Al Tarawneh, in order to discuss the priorities and challenges in the post pandemic era. “Greece really shows the world the importance of placing competent, technocratic people in governmental positions” noted Mrs. Al Taraweh, after the Minister explained the series of reforms that Greece has put forward in order to ascend higher in the global investment map.


Restoring trust and building standards for sustainable growth in Greece

Roula Al Tarawneh, CNBC Arabia, in conversation with:
Ioannis Smyrlis, Chairman of Enterprise Greece, Secretary General of International Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

“Greece is in between many continents. When someone invests in Greece, he has the guarantee that he produces something made in EU, he has the EU market open, the Balkan market open, he has the Middle East around, the Black Sea around and the north part of Africa. We are close the Balkans, we are close to the Arabs, we are close to the mentality of all these region”, said Mr. Smyrlis during his conversation with Roula Al Taraweh and added that he is more optimistic after the meetings in Davos that policymakers and stakeholders around the world understand the value of how together we can have solutions.


Fostering entrepreneurship and the new investment agenda in the new geopolitical context

Christian Hadjiminas, President EFA GROUP, Vice President Hellenic Association of Entrepreneurs (EENE)
José Alejandro Rojas, Minister of Private Investment at the Presidency of the Republic of Panama

When asked what are the advantages and disadvantages of doing business in Greece, Christian Hadijiminas, responded that one of Greece’s strengths is its well-educated workforce - a consequence of the country’s great pride in educating the youth. “With that said”, he claimed, “the new digital world - such as the Metaverse that we are entering - is very suited for Greece because Greeks understand this new environment and; therefore, do not need much more to build new startups and boost innovation”. Among the disadvantages in Greece, Mr. Hadijiminas noted the lack of human capital which prohibits investment gains, as well as the justice system in Greece which needs drastic improvement because the current system discourages foreign investment since investors believe their transactions are not secured. José Alejandro Rojas, Minister of Private Investment at the Presidency of the Republic of Panama, added that Panama faced similar challenges as a result of the pandemic, and because of their successful recuperation last year, they remain optimistic about their economy going forward.


Shipping, Blue Economy & Growth: The Greek Shipping Industry as a global leader in impact entrepreneurship

Rhett Power, Editor Forbes magazine, in conversation with:
Ioannis Plakiotakis, Minister of Shipping and Island Policy, Hellenic Republic
José Alejandro Rojas, Minister of Private Investment at the Presidency of the Republic of Panama

“The contribution of the Greek shipping its absolutely vital in order to serve the needs of the global economy. The main challenge that Greek shipping will face in the future is de-carbonization, the availability of safe, alternative, zero-carbon fuels and infrastructure is our main challenge. We need to cooperate, we need to join forces to reach the goal of safe, alternative fuels. That’s why we cooperate with our partners, in the international fora, in the European Union to present realistic solutions in order to cope and face the particularities of shipping”, noted Minister Plakiotakis during his conversation with the Minister of Private Investment of Panama.


Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Resilience in times of humanitarian crises: The linkages between food security, migration and sustainable development

Rhett Power, Editor of Forbes magazine, in conversation with:
Nikos Salapataras, Chairman International Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHAF) and Salas Group SA
Sandrine Dixson-Decleve Co-President of Club de Rome

Greel House Davos opened its third day of operations with an attempt to bring together stakeholders from the humanitarian and enterpreneurship sectors to discuss resilience in the times of humanitarian crisis. The panel featured Ms. Sandrine Dixson-Decleve, co-President of Club de Rome, Mr. Dimitris Kokosioulis, a board member of the International Humanitarian Aid Foundation and Mr. Rhett Power, the editor of Forbes Magazine, and the speakers discussed Greece’s role in strengthening the European capacity to distribute humanitarian aid in challenging times. Panelists emphasized the importance of humanitarian aid groups delineating specific products for certain groups to minimize donations wasting. When asked about how to adapt to supply chain inefficiencies in the distribution of humanitarian aid, Mr. Kokosioulis stated that IHAF was focused on “trying to make ourselves available to give companies the advice to prevent food waste, and to ensure that we can match people with the resources that they need.” He noted that “humanitarian aid needs to be better organized in order to stop donations from going to waste.” In regards to corporate donations, he stated that “big corporations are able to donate, but they need to donate intentionally to ensure that their donations are used effectively.”


Keynote Speech: Greece as energy hub in an era of energy transition

Alexandra Sdoukou, Secretary General for Energy and Mineral Resources, Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Hellenic Republic

In this keynote speech, Ms. Alexandra Sdoukou discussed the importance of energy security, aiming to address the ways countries can promote energy security while simultaneously balancing rising global energy costs. She emphasized Greece’s unique role in promoting increased energy security for the European Union, however, she also noted that this can only occur with two developments as pre-conditions. The first is that Greece must further develop its LNG capacities - a development that she mentioned is already occurring as by 2025 Greece has projected a 5.5 PCM capacity. The second development is the construction of a natural gas pipeline, which will further bolster energy resilience. Although considering the potential for this to increase prices, Mrs. Sdoukou demonstrated that the enhanced security these developments promote far outweigh the costs.


Greece’s economic prospects, policy and reforms

Rhett Power, Editor Forbes magazine, in conversation with:
Alex Patelis, Chief Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister of Greece

In this panel, Alex Patelis, the Chief Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister, was in conversation with Rhett Powers, an Editor at Forbes Magazine, to discuss Greek economic growth in the framework of policy developments and political reforms. The conversation began with a discussion of the impact of different economic reforms that have been recently instituted, such as decreasing income taxes and eliminating the solidarity income tax surcharge, as well as implementing a flat tax on stock options and trading, and nearly eliminating capital gains in Greece. Mr. Patelis then noted that the government has also demonstrated a commitment to building infrastructure, particularly ICT technology, as well as simplifying the licensing process. This has attracted large companies to invest in the region, a development which has also supported the success of local SMEs.


Transforming tourism for Climate Action: A new model of sustainable tourism development

Dimitris Fragakis, Secretary General of the Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT)
Riccardo Lambiris, Chairman of the BoD Athens International Airport
Lacey Hunter, Co-founder and Director of Growth, Partnerships and Finance, Proxi

In a discussion that focused on establishing a sustainable model for tourism, Maximilian Martin, Founder of Impact Economy, Global Head of Philanthropy at Lombard Odier, provided his insights on how tourism can produce innumerable benefits such as wealth generation, an increased number of jobs, and economic empowerment. His observations, he remarked, were particularly relevant to a beautiful country like Greece. Mr. Martin also mentioned that the goal of achieving 100% sustainability in tourism is unattainable, as it would result in no tourism, arguing that Greece should try to migitate the harmful effects of tourism such as increased pollution and waste; by transforming its tourist destinations into more attractive, friendlier, and morally optimal destinations. Mr Dimitris Fragakis, Secretary General at Greek National Tourism Organization, then added that tourism produces 25% of Greece’s GDP, highlighting the importance of the sector to the country’s economy and demonstrating its resilience in times of crisis. “During the pandemic, when Greece decided to reopen tourism after the first two lockdowns, the country saw record numbers of arrivals” he mentioned. Riccardo Lambiris, Chairman of Athens International Airport's (AIA) Board of Directors, addressed the role of the aviation industry in building a more sustainable tourism model. “Governments, airplane constructors, aviation companies, airports, refineries and many other stakeholders need to be coordinated to facilitate the transition to sustainable aviation fuel,” said Mr. Lambiris. “Greece’s commitment to technology and digital transformation encourages innovation and is a major reason why we should remain optimistic about Greece’s global presence moving forward” he concluded.


Wednesday, 25 May 2022

The post-Covid roadmap: Financing & Investments: shaping an enabling environment to boost investment activities

Ionna Samprakou, CEO of Elite Global Consulting Services in conversation with:
Phillip Monnier, Director of WayRay
Antonios Achilledious, Group Managing Director of Axia Ventures Group

In this panel, panelists discussed the factors contributing to the Greek economic resilience, fueled by the tourism and energy sectors. In the post-pandemic era, investors have realized the immense promise of investing in Greece, given its stability and strong shipping sector. While private sector contributions are on the rise, certain reforms need to be made to investment policy in order to further bolster the investment environment. Mr. Antonios Achilledious, the Group Managing Director of Axia Ventures Group, mentioned that “the government needs to provide incentives in order to encourage very large corporations to have regional bases in Greece”. Mr. Achilledious went on to say that “the Greek government has done this successfully with Pfizer, Microsoft, and Amazon, and there are many others in the works”. Mr. Phillip Monnier, the Director of WayRay, continued by stressing the importance of investments from large companies, demonstrating how critical these would be in establishing Greece as the regional research and energy hub. Moderator Ioanna Samprakou, CEO at Elite Global Consulting Services, then asked panelists to highlight some tools that can help solidify an environment that fosters investment in a post-pandemic world. Mr. Monnier argued that the markets should be led and taken charge by the private sector because of the mistrust in the government to manage business decisions; noting, however, that we still need governments to foster innovation by coming up with creative solutions that generate foreign and domestic investment. Mr. Achilleoudis then added that the difficulties in partnering with the government remain enormous. “Governments enabling investments or taking the back seat on certain investments could motivate private capital flow” he concluded.


Panel discussions: Greece as energy hub in South East Europe

Orestis Omran, Partner at DLA Piper in conversation with:
Loukia Tzekaki, Corp Comms & Sustainability Senior Director Procter & Gamble

Anastasios Christakis, Managing Director Claritas Investments

In this panel, panelists discussed how to navigate the current energy crisis following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as ways to prepare for future energy crises. Ms. Loukia Tzekaki, a Senior Director at Procter & Gamble, noted that the most important long term goal is to transition to renewable energy. Regarding the European Commission’s goal of increasing energy generation from Photovoltaic projects by 320 gigawatts by 2025, Mr. Anastasios Christakis, a managing director at Claritas Investments, stated that the private sector needs to address structural issues that limit its capacity to promote the transition to renewables. Ms. Tzeakaki elaborated on this challenge, arguing that private sector firms looking to invest in renewables must first be able to to hold themselves accountable for their contributions to the environment. She stated that firms should self analyze their carbon emissions to better understand how to individually achieve carbon neutrality. Panelists later transitioned to discussing how to best incorporate renewables into daily energy use, with Mr. Christakis advocating for prioritizing investing in infrastructure to increase renewable energy storage, thus limiting the blackouts and energy shortages that have affected nations who formerly have sought to transition away from nonrenewable energy sources.


Corporate Equity, Inclusion and Diversity: Hear from Industry Leaders

Natasha Martsekis Board Member Hellenic Petroleum Group of Companies/ NED Club in Greece - Board Member & Founding Member
Αlyse Nelson, Co-Founder, President & CEO, Vital Voices

When asked about how the pandemic affected the equality and inclusion agenda for female leaders, Co-Founder, President & CEO of Vital Voices Alyse Nelson responded that the world has simultaneously collectively experienced “a shadow pandemic” - a phenomenon where the rise in domestic violence and violence against women has increased tremendously. “Most parts of the world saw a rise in violence cases that ranged between 30% and 50%” she noted, before highlighting a dramatic decline in economic opportunities for women during the pandemic. Nelson recited the World Economic Forum statement that claimed women lost 35 years of generational progress in the labor force, but also reminded the audience that the world is witnessing more and more women who employ innovative strategies and compassionate leadership to serve their communities.

In regards to corporate governance for female representation boards in Greece, Natasha Martsekis informed the audience of Greek House Davos about the details of the new law in Corporate Governance, set in 2021, which introduced the code of 25 for reports for listed companies. After noting that, historically, Greece has found itself among the countries with the lowest percentages of women on boards, she expressed optimism that the new law “can be a great step forward in seeing more female representation”. Nelson then added that women lead differently by showcasing attributes of compassion and empathy more frequently - a quality that the world needs to persevere through extreme crises. “With more women on boards, this inevitably provides new perspectives and encourages creativity” she argued. Martsekis then claimed that Greek companies can use the gender gap as an opportunity for strategy. Companies have the responsibility to oversee the crew and ensure that there is enough diversity among the team, and this can be achieved with the use of quotas. Nelson concluded with the hope that the world will soon invent more into women who work against climate change, arguing that “yhere are a lot of solutions out there that still just do not receive the necessary attention and investment for commercialization and impact”.


Energy Transition and Interconnectivity: Promoting collaboration among multilateral initiatives for energy innovation

Dr. Vasilis Gregoriou, CEO and Executive Chairman of the Board, Advent Technologies Holdings Inc.
David McGinty, Global Director of PACE, World Resources Institute
Antonios Achilleoudis Group Managing Director of AXIA Ventures Group

In this panel, Dr. Vasilis Gregoriou was in conversation with Mr. David McGinty and Antonio's Achilleoudis. Dr. Gregoriou began the conversation with the important observation that there are times that can change the course of an industry, or the world. I feel that what happened in Ukraine could be one of those things.” He stated that globally, “we haven’t seen this type of disruption in the energy sector, but now we are in an energy crisis. I believe this will trigger major changes in how we approach our energy future” and noted how the rapidly adapting energy sector has placed new emphasis on Greece’s future with hydrogen and battery capacity. The panelists also discussed the future of energy resources for Greece, and Mr. Achilleoudis stressed the importance of energy independence. Achilleoudis also discussed Greece’s potential as a center for renewable energy investments. Greece’s strong shipping industry makes it a good investment site for energy transport investments, which would strengthen the European Union’s energy independence as a whole.