`Contest Helps Young Greeks Start a Food Business - Olive Oil Times

Contest Helps Young Greeks Start a Food Business

Mar. 11, 2013
Costas Vasilopoulos

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A three-party con­sor­tium seeks to assist young peo­ple in Greece to over­come uninvit­ing eco­nomic con­di­tions and be able to start a new busi­ness in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor.

Gaea, a Greek-based inter­na­tional food com­pany, Cat Cora, the Greek-American chef, and the Greek America Foundation, a non­profit orga­ni­za­tion, have cre­ated the Re-inspir­ing Greece From the Youth Up” ini­tia­tive, aimed at moti­vat­ing and pro­vid­ing tan­gi­ble assis­tance to high school and uni­ver­sity grad­u­ates who want to become active and get involved in the food indus­try.

With more than half of the young peo­ple of Greece are cur­rently unem­ployed, and an alarm­ing num­ber who sim­ply leave the coun­try to look for bet­ter prospects abroad, the ini­tia­tive aspires to reverse the ten­dency to flee and enable at least some to get in touch with their her­itage and the pat­ri­mo­nial land.

Teams of one to a max­i­mum of five mem­bers can par­tic­i­pate in the process, which is designed to be quite sim­ple; par­tic­i­pants will visit the www.reinspiregreece.com web­site, where they will be able to sub­mit their ideas in the form of a busi­ness plan for a new startup enter­prise in the agro-food sec­tor. The busi­ness plan has to con­tain var­i­ous types of infor­ma­tion, such as a descrip­tion for the new busi­ness and the prod­uct, its sig­nif­i­cance to the agri­cul­tural sec­tor, a mar­ket and a com­peti­tor analy­sis, finan­cial plans and time­lines.


After sub­mis­sion, the plans will be eval­u­ated by a com­mit­tee con­sist­ing of experts in the food indus­try, and the agri­cul­tural and the busi­ness sec­tors of Greece. Ten of the sub­mis­sions will be cho­sen and awarded a prize con­tain­ing all of the fol­low­ing:

  • A seed cap­i­tal of €25,000 from Gaea Products S.A.
  • The option for another €25,000 from Piraeus Bank as a low inter­est loan
  • A close part­ner­ship with Gaea, with its 17-year exper­tise in the field
  • Access to Gaea’s dis­tri­b­u­tion net­work in 27 coun­tries around the world
  • Access to the exten­sive knowl­edge and exper­tise of the American Farming School of Greece in Salonika and also access to the legal and finan­cial advice of RSM International Chartered Accountants


The project will be funded with sales of the Antiparos Agrilia Estate” olive oil sold by Cat Cora’s kitchen, and made by Gaea exclu­sively for the U.S. mar­ket. This organic olive oil is being pro­duced on the tiny island of Antiparos at the Aegean Sea from Koroneiki. The grove is sit­u­ated on the island’s slopes and the micro­cli­mate of the area with the sea breeze con­tribute to the oil’s extra­or­di­nary organolep­tic attrib­utes and unique sen­sory pro­file. It tastes greenly fruity with a bit­ter after­taste and it has an acid­ity of no more than 0.3 per­cent.

Given the lim­ited pro­duc­tion, only 19,300 half-liter bot­tles will be avail­able for sale.

Gaea is inter­na­tion­ally known for its olive oil, olives, tape­nades and cook­ing sauces. Cat Cora teamed up with Gaea in 2011, to help make healthy Mediterranean – styled food avail­able world­wide.

Originality, extro­ver­sion, envi­ron­men­tal con­cern and good team work are the cri­te­ria for the plans to be selected for the prizes. The dead­line for sub­mit­ting the busi­ness plans is the June 30, 2013. The eval­u­a­tion by the com­mit­tee will take place and the win­ners will be announced November 15, 2013.

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