OK!Thess wants to see a complete innovation ecosystem being created. An ecosystem with, on the one hand all those who are willing and able to contribute to the development of innovation in the region and, on the other, those active structures that are needed for healthy growth of the ecosystem itself. The ecosystem would have to include:

  • Source of people with promising innovative ideas: Such sources are the city’s many universities but also society at large: Anyone can generate bright ideas.
  • Processes that contribute to turn initial ideas to viable proposals: These include mentoring, seminars, competitions, training, social events promoting creativity and innovation, as well anything else that can contribute to promoting innovation at large but also of selecting the promising ideas that are worth promoting. If an idea does not seem to work, it is best abandoned sooner than later, cutting the losses to the innovative teams and allowing the more creative one to try something better sooner.
  • Infrastructures: These should support the processes just described and should also give startups the opportunity to be “tried out”, for many of them to survive the test before they become investment-ready or able to move on to further development.
  • “Destinations”: The end of the line process is the investment in the ideas that are investment-ready. Although this is an individual endeavour, attracting investment capital to the city is part of the function of the ecosystem. Matching successfully the best ideas with investment capital is a core characteristic of the ecosystem – its reputation is predicated on the quality of the investment ideas.

 

The ecosystem is open to all entrepreneurial and educational institution of the city and aims to integrate the the separate efforts that move in the direction of innovation and entrepreneurship.

 

The opening of OK!Thess’ pre-incubator contributes by offering the following services:

  • A co-working space allowing up to 20 teams of up to 5 persons to meet and work together
  • Access to high speed Wi-Fi (100/100Mbps)
  • Participation in seminars and lecture related to innovation at the OK!Thess premises
  • Daily guidance by a coach specialised on startup related matters
  • Support by a mentor in the same field of economic activity as the startup team
  • Space for social interaction with other teams working in OK!Thess’ space
  • International networking

 

Meeting with potential investors is of course the ultimate aim and OK!Thess and this will be organised for the most promising and investment-ready teams both in situ and worldwide through OK!Thess’ international contacts.

Connecting teams with mentors

Some 30 meetings of mentors and teams are foreseen each year aiming to have startup teams adopted by mentors. For the purposes of the note, mentoring is defined as the frequent (idealy weekly) interaction of a team with a person who has specialist knowledge of the market targetted by the team. For very innovative ideas in which the market is either ill-defined or does not exist more generic mentors are identified. The team matures through interaction with the mentors and either ramps up development or gives up as soon as possible if the idea is not economically feasible – a speedy resolution in either direction is highly desirable.

 

Specialist Training

Specialised seminars in developmental skill which are aimed both towards the design and the implementation of each venture. 300 hours of specialist training are envisaged for each year. Three acceleration cycles are envisaged for each year with the participation of 10 teams in each. Based on a programme of 13 weekly individualised sessions, each team should be in a position to bring its business model to a level that can be presented to investors.

 

Cooperative Technical Events

OK!Thess addresses the broader ecosystem in the region and aims to cooperate with other bodies which may have a specific technical orientation or geographical coverage to organise jointly events such as bootcamps, speed dating etc. Some 6 such events are envisaged on an annual basis.

 

Supporting Events

It is envisaged that the evolving innovation ecosystem will also engender scientific events with speakers of international standing, validation events of an interactive nature where the public participate giving valuable feedback to teams that present their idea in demo days, but also demo days (pitching events) presenting teams from the broader region to investors. Some 10 such events are planned on an annual basis.

Proposals are accepted from persons or teams with innovative ideas, independently of the degree of maturity, that could benefit from the services of OK!Thess’s pre-incubator in order to create a startup or reinforce a startup already established.

 

Applications are evaluated by a four member committee which, when necessary, seeks expert help in the applicant’s domain of activity. The criteria on which the decision of the committee is based, in priority order, are:

 

  • The business idea: The perspective of the idea, if successful, to create jobs (directly or indirectly) the tradability of the goods or services that derive from it, the originality/innovativeness of the idea. Also its implementability, taking into consideration the competition, its target in the market and the needs of the market to which it responds, the added value, clarity and degree of maturity
  • The qualifications of the team: The level of education and previous business experience. The affinity of studies carried out and/or business experience with the business idea. The structure of the team (note that although applications from individuals are considered, the formation of a team is deemed to be a priority task and will be a fundamental criterion at the first evaluation, three months after the start, that will,determine if the team will continue to be hosted in OK!Thess)
  • The business plan: Although no business plan is required at this stage (considering that one of the main purposes of the pre-incubator is to assist the teams of building on up) the submission of a business plan in draft form may increase considerably the credibility of the proposal and, therefore, the chances of being accepted

 

The acceptance of each team is for a time period determined by the evaluation committee and depends on the characteristics of each proposal. All teams accepted are evaluated for their propgress every three months. If the evaluation shows that the goals of the team are not achievable then the participation agreement is terminated so that the resources available can be devoted to new teams. Proposals from individuals accepted are assumed to have as a primary goal to form a team within the first three months.

 

Each team accepted in OK!Thess pays in advance €150 for each quarter for the services received. Other services, such as individualised training (acceleration) may incur an additional charge.

A modern and highly flexible working environment is provided. The space can be configured for different purposes to adapt to the needs of the moment.

A very high speed network is provided (ethernet or wifi) with speeds up to 100/100Mbps. Most working desks, as well as partitions, are on wheels so that working environment can adapt to the people working or to events involving all the participants in OK!Thess and more. In principle, OK!Thess provides an open plan space with each team able to pick any work area available. There are, however, separate spaces for more private meetings too.

There are also meeting rooms, ample room for social interaction and a kitchenette.

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Costas Tramantzas
Project Manager

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Dimitri Ntempos
Community Manager

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Dimitris Kourtesis
Coach

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Nikolaos Tsoniotis
Coach

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Simon Bensasson
Head of OK!Thess

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Stefanos Tsiakmakis
Coach

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Yolanda Stomachopoulou
Office Manager

Official Docs - GR