During the official awards ceremony for the «STELIOS HAJI-IOANNOU AWARD FOR YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR 2016 IN GREECE», Sir Stelios Haji-ioannou announced the eight finalist companies, which received the total amount of €100,000, the largest amount ever offered in the history of the Awards, so far.
The big winner for 2016 was Sun of a Beach, which was awarded with €30,000. The company was one of the three shortlisted companies for the Award in 2015 and specializes in producing and selling sea towels, key summer-time accessories, while promoting the «made in Greece» concept and the Greek summer, globally. The company holds a very powerful, original name and an innovative, high quality product that focuses on very creative prints and special fabrics. The aim is to have a very solid international wholesale network and a communication policy that will promote Sun of a Beach’s competitive advantage: a beachwear brand, «born and bread» in the country that is synonymous to summer, Greece.
Seven additional companies were offered the total amount of €70.000, amongst a total of 67 entries. These companies are:
· Agnotis of Mr. Jacko Carasso, a company specializing on the online sale of baby diapers.
· Apifon of Mr. Constantine Stroumbakis, a company providing innovative mobile services (sms messaging) and mobile applications.
· Glowbox of Ms. Catherine Liberi, a beauty e-shop where its members receive and evaluate beauty products, earn "GLOWpoints" and redeem them at the company’s e-shop.
· Isostevia of Mr. Anthony Panagotas, a company specializing in the production and distribution of 100% natural stevia products.
· Mermix of Mr. Christos Stamatis, a company which offers exchange services for agricultural machinery.
· Finest Roots of Mr. Manos & Mr. Nikolas Smyrlakis, a traditional liqueur company
· Sleed of Mr. Stylianos Iliakis & Mr. Evangelos Kotsonis, provider of innovative e-business and digital marketing services.
At the award ceremony, Sir Stelios Haj-iioannou commented on the changes made in the participation process of this year's awards, as well as on the increase of the funding amount to a total of €100.000, which resulted into a record, tenfold increase of entries for this year.
It is worth noting that since 2008, the institution has supported youth entrepreneurship in Greece with a total amount of €500,000.
The selection process, in which Sir Stelios Haji-ioannou actively participated, was completed just few hours before the start of this year's ceremony. For the first time, the ceremony took place with the presence of all the applicants for the award, at the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation building, located in the center of Athens. It is the same place that hosts the ‘’Food from the Heart’’ initiative, which distributes packaged food to more than 2.000 people, daily.
The Awards, organized by Sir Stelios Haji-ioannou, founder of easyJet, of easyGroup group of companies and of the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation, is addressed exclusively to upcoming, young Greek entrepreneurs, up to 40 years old (born no later than 1976) that have started their businesses in the last seven years and present a total turnover of at least €10.000, annually. Their business must employ at least two people and the entrepreneur must hold at least the 50% of the company. If the owners are two, they should hold together, a total of 80% of their business.
During this year's Awards ceremony, Sir Stelios Haji-ioannou stated: "For the 9th consecutive year, I have chosen to support the creativity and innovation of new entrepreneurs in Greece, who remain in the country, set long-term plans and goals and continue to dream, despite the economic instability and the difficult conditions. The new entrepreneurs who reached the final stages in this year’s process, are characterized for their determination and dedication to their business goal, but also for the personal risk they have consciously taken by investing in an unstable economic environment, with personal funds. Positive financial results, healthy business model, innovation and quality of services are some of the key features of their activity, which made them to stand out during the process and to be declared winners".
Companies awarded so far are: Ancient Greek Sandals (2014), Nanobionic (2013), People for Business (2012), FereikosHelix (2011), Fasmetrics (2010), Zoo.gr (2009) and Simply Burgers (2008).The 2015 Prize was awarded to Sede hairdressing and beauty chain services in Thessaloniki. A renowned in the beauty business, company which, driven by innovation and quality, continues gradually to grow.