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


contest-helps-young-greeks-start-a-food-businessThe 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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