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Roots Program Launch

05 December 2018

Roots Program Launch



Athens Exchange, in collaboration with the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and with the support of the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils (GFCC) and the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, today ? Wednesday, 5 December 2018 ? announced the launch of the Roots program, which is aimed at strengthening small and medium entrepreneurship in Greece. The press conference was honored by the presence of the US Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey R. Pyatt.

Roots is an initiative to promote competitive and commercially viable business plans of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), primarily by facilitating their access to investment capital in accordance with internationally accepted rules and best practices.

The program aims to familiarize SMEs with the various financial tools for raising capital, through the markets of Athens Exchange, while providing access to an international network of accomplished professionals active in the capital market, as well as in the business and academic communities. The goal of Roots is to provide guidance to participating companies and help them develop skills that will enable them to effectively communicate their business proposals to interested investors. At the same time, the program seeks to bolster the capital market ecosystem and make optimal use of dynamically evolving European trends, for the financing of the new competitive productive fabric.

In his opening address, the US Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, underlined that: "The Athens Stock Exchange's Roots Initiative took shape at last year's SelectUSA Summit and U.S. Road Show. It is a hopeful new path to help small and medium enterprises grow in the Greek market, themes that we highlighted at the Thessaloniki Fair, that will be part of our Strategic Dialogue on December 13, and that we will also be building on ahead of Greece's participation in next year's Global Entrepreneurship Summit in the Netherlands, which we expect to support. I congratulate the Roots team and ATHEX".

The Secretary General for International Economic Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ioannis Brachos, focused on the ministry's role as a powerful communication channel between the proposals of the Greek companies that are selected for the program and the wider business community of the Greek diaspora. By making use of its extensive network with businesspeople of the diaspora, he said, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs aims to promote the Roots program and domestic entrepreneurship in order to generate the necessary synergies and contribute to the utilization of alternate forms of funding, which the Greek economy has need of at the present juncture.

The Chairman of Hellenic Exchanges ? Athens Stock Exchange S.A., George Handjinicolaou, stressed the need to help the new generation of companies gain access to capital markets: "The Greek economy's return to a sustainable growth trajectory must be based primarily, on the one hand, on  robust private entrepreneurship and, on the other, on efforts to attract capital from investors, who will once again have confidence in the prospects for the Greek economy and invest in competitive Greek enterprises. For all of us who are participating in the Roots program, the goal is to bring the new generation of businesses ? which have capabilities, a comparative advantage and a credible business plan ? into contact with large, successful Greek companies, capital market institutions and specialized, leading professionals, so that they can improve their organization, adopt sound corporate governance practices and gain access to the capital market. Given the large capital needs of the Greek economy, we believe that this initiative will strengthen the Greek capital market, which must again assume its strategic role in financing the reconstitution of the productive fabric".

Addressing the press conference, the President of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, Simos Anastasopoulos, stated the following: "Roots is an initiative aimed at keeping in Greece the ideas and prospects of worthy enterprises through training, evaluation and their promotion among the global investing public. A parallel objective is to mobilize all the vibrant and creative forces of the economy and country in the direction of creating a modern, entrepreneurship- and investment-friendly environment".

Referring to the launch of the Roots program, the CEO of Athex Exchange Group, Socrates Lazaridis, said: "The primary objective of Roots is to develop in Greece a mechanism that fosters and highlights investment opportunities, and which supports the new, innovative, small and medium entrepreneurship on its growth path by making full use of the capital market. We, the program facilitators, are delighted with the response so far from the Corporate Champions and Advisory Partners of Roots, and together we shall support its growth and effectiveness by functioning as connective tissue. We want the new generation of Greek entrepreneurs to be properly informed about the possibilities for corporate financing through the capital market, so that they can boost the prospects of developing their entrepreneurial initiative on a global level".  

Also participating in the press conference were representatives of the Corporate Champions (Spyros Kokkolis, Chief Financial Officer at ElvalHalcor Group, Erika Xirouchaki, Corporate Communications & Public Relations Manager at Hellas Gold S.A., Iakovos Kargarotos, Vice Chairman of Papastratos S.A., Stephanos Theodorides, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of TEMES S.A., Takis-Panagiotis Canellopoulos, Executive Member of the Board of Directors of Titan Group, Alkis Alexandrou, Deputy General Manager, Agricultural Sector, Piraeus Bank) and of the Advisory Partners (Loukas Dedes, President of CFA Society Greece, Vasilis Kafatos, Strategy & Operations Partner at Deloitte, and Thanasis Xynas, Partner at Grant Thornton), who spoke about the program, as well as their role in and expectations of it.  


This initiative constitutes a joint effort that aims to capitalize on the know-how and dynamism of the business ecosystem. Each company participating in the program will be supported by a mentor that will help fine-tune the strategy for its business proposal, as well as an investment advisor that will help improve the financial structure and investment proposal to be presented to investors. The program has been designed to foster capacity building, where necessary, in respect of the following: a) realistic business plan, b) optimal capital structure, c) communication of investment proposals, and d) the substantial contribution of corporate governance to the effective management of a multi-shareholder company.   

The role of mentor and of investment advisor will be undertaken by experienced professionals from the Advisory Partners, as well as leading Greek and multinational companies that are supporting the program as Corporate Champions.

Partners participating in the program will be leveraging their experience, standing and resources to transfer know-how, promote innovation and foster the entrepreneurial ecosystem. In the present phase, the following companies are supporting the program as Corporate Champions: National Bank of Greece, ElvalHalcor, Hellas Gold, Papastratos, TEMES, Titan and Piraeus Bank. Grant Thornton and Deloitte are the Advisory Partners which will provide support to the companies as they prepare for the next stage of their growth. The training component of the program will be delivered by experienced partners that include CFA Society Greece, Global Competitiveness Academy (GCA) and Arizona State University, along with a number of internationally acclaimed academics in the relevant sectors.  

The program begins with an open invitation to submit applications, addressed to companies that believe they have an interesting investment proposal, the implementation of which will enhance their growth prospects. Companies can complete and submit their application on the program website. The aim is to evaluate and identify investment proposals that aspire to expand the business operations of companies which harness innovation and comparative advantages in order to provide competitive products and services.

The successful outcome of each investment proposal will be its ability to raise the capital necessary for its implementation, through the capital market, which is also the critical indicator of the proposal's real value.

For more details and the online application form, interested parties can visit the Roots website (, which will be updated with the latest information about the program, as well as important dates. Proposals may be submitted from 14 December.

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Highlights of the event
Geoffrey R. Pyatt, US Ambassador to Greece   Simos Anastasopoulos,
President of the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce

Giorgos Hantzinikolaou,
Chairman of the Athens Exchange Group

Socrates Lazaridis, CEO of the Athens Stock Exchange
Giorgos Hantzinikolaou, Chairman of the Athens Exchange Group
Simos Anastasopoulos, President of the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce
Socrates Lazaridis, CEO of the Athens Stock Exchange
Geoffrey R. Pyatt, Πρέσβης των ΗΠΑ στην Ελλάδα



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