As Greece continues to undergo economic hardships, many countries, companies and organizations are trying to help the country carve a path to recovery. The Coca-Cola Foundation is one of them, with a focus on supporting aspiring Greek entrepreneurs to make their ideas a business reality.

The Coca-Cola Foundation is donating $50,000 to Venture Garden, a Greek entrepreneurship education program supported by The Hellenic Initiative (THI). Founded in 2012 by Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent and four other business leaders, THI aims to galvanize the support of the Greek diaspora and philhellene community to assist Greece with its economic hardship.

“We believe in the power of each and every individual to act as a changemaker in Greece’s path toward recovery. Coca-Cola’s efforts are geared toward reigniting and supporting the Greek entrepreneurial spirit, which in turn, can stimulate the economy and employment. The Venture Garden program gives emerging entrepreneurs the opportunity to discover and unleash their true potential,” said Nectaria Metrakos, senior public affairs and communications manager, Coca-Cola Hellas, responsible for Greece, Cyprus and Malta.

Startups

Venture Garden is a comprehensive educational and training program that helps emerging entrepreneurs of all ages and backgrounds to develop their skills, gain access to a continuously growing entrepreneurial network and receive hands-on training. The program provides training to translate an idea into a viable business plan and comprehensive mentorship to implement the plan and build a revenue-generating business.

Since inception, Venture Garden has supported more than 400 participants in Athens and Thessalonica, and more than 1,000 people have engaged in the evaluation process and/or attended public seminars in Athens, Thessaloniki, Korinthos, Kalamata, Volos and Kavala. Though in its early stages, the program has succeeded in supporting growth with participants accessing funding and increasing customer and employee base.

“Our program is an enabler of ideas worth pursuing, and this is what The Coca-Cola Foundation grant will help us achieve,” added Michael Printzos, The Hellenic Initiative’s director of programming in Greece. “We enable promising talents to turn creative ideas and passion into business reality, and thereby foster growth, support employment and inspire more people to defy the challenges, pursue new perspectives and venture into the business world.”

Venture Garden is a project co-created by the ALBA Graduate Business School at the American College of Greece in Athens and Anatolia School of Business at the American College of Thessaloniki, with the support of The Hellenic Initiative (THI).