“Growing Together” Event Celebrates A Unique Model Of Development Of European Capital Investments In Athens
Last 4th of April, Bpifrance, the Hellenic Development Bank (HDB) and the Hellenic Development Bank of Investments (HDBI) co-organised “Growing Together” to strengthen their cooperation on today and tomorrow’s challenges on key sectors.
From France to Greece, through Portugal, Belgium and Lithuania, “Growing Together” reunited institutional figures from the whole European continent for a day. Under the high patronage of the Greek Minister of Development and Investment, Adonis Georgiadis, Bpifrance, the Hellenic Development Bank (HDB) and the Hellenic Development Bank of Investments (HDBI) co-organized this event on the 4th of April. It gathered European investment funds, development banks, and institutions, with one ambition: show how this ecosystem is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs across the continent.
Gathering the European entrepreneurship ecosystem in one place: Greece
“We can finally meet Bpifrance’s teams in person thanks to this event, which reunited us all in one place” said Greek entrepreneur and angel investor Guy Krief. Athens was the perfect place for such an event, with an ideal location on the Aegean Sea and at the center of Europe. A place that attracts more and more companies, as the Greek government keeps encouraging entrepreneurship. “There is an unimaginable talent pool here. Universities are excellent, students are coming out with very advanced knowledge. An ecosystem starts growing, company founders are starting to put in the means, with early employees who also have the resources to invest. Big companies such as Microsoft or Tesla are setting up large development centers in the area” explains Guy Krief. It is no wonder that an event like this would attract actors from the whole continent to see the national bank model efficiency, especially when it comes to encouraging innovation, growth the economic attractiveness of the entrepreneurship ecosystem. The event was the opportunity to exchange and discuss around different sectors, through workshops and conferences, dispatched in agoras. Cultural and creative industries, clean energies, healthcare and sustainable food and agri-food were the key sectors addressed during the day.
This event comes in line with Bpifrance’s ambitions to replicate its model to better support entrepreneurs from everywhere. “If we want to accelerate in Greece, Bpifrance represents an excellent model. We need to proceed in the same way here, to contribute through public and private fundings. We need to work on this to keep entrepreneurs as our priority”, said Guy Krief. The important figures that participated – among which Prime minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Bpifrance CEO Nicolas Dufourcq, Executive Director in charge of strategy, development, international affairs and ESG Pascal Lagarde, Head of international affairs of Bpifrance, Isabelle Bébéar, CEO of Hellenic Development Bank Athina Chatzipetrou, CEO of Hellenic Development Bank of Investments Antigoni Lymperopoulou – the event was also the opportunity for European institutions to announced their reinforced collaboration. “Growing Together” sealed the protocol signed on the 1st of April between five public banks and investment institutions: KfW Capital (Germany), Tesi (Finland), Hellenic Development Bank of Investments (Greece), Vækstfonden (Denmark) and Bpifrance (France).
Public banks collaborating to support entrepreneurship in Europe
This cooperation is a significant step towards the implementation of the “Scale-Up Europe” initiative, announced by the French President and presented in February 2022 in Paris, as part of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The partnership between public banks and public investment institutions, one of the main pillars of the initiative, is an essential part of building Europe’s sovereignty, but also to see the emergence of future European unicorns and global technology leaders.
Future unicorns and leaders can take root in all EU countries, although the existence of a solid ecosystem of innovation, entrepreneurship and financing remains very important to ensure a significant national flow. This is in this context that public banks and investment institutions of France, Germany, Greece, Denmark and Finland, have decided to join forces and work together to develop the European growth-stage fund market. They have signed this cooperation protocol providing for a joint investment effort of €3.3 billion over the next 3 to 5 years. A pan-European public-private program is adapted to this growth phase of innovative companies, targeting European growth funds and crossover funds. However, the sums involved are so large that this program must also be implemented at national level, where major public investors with a deep knowledge of their ecosystem are active on their market. The agreement provides for effective operational collaboration at all levels of the investment process, with each institution remaining autonomous and independent in its investment process and decisions. It also aims at contributing to the development of the ecosystem: sharing of best practices in investment selection, information and expertise, including on the European and local markets.
The partners will define the main strategic orientations of the cooperation program: the nature of the growth funds targeted (investment thesis, geography, stage of intervention, etc.) within a strategic committee and will collectively decide on the eligibility of each fund. Furthermore, the partners will ensure that the programme is in line with the decarbonisation objectives of the Paris Agreement. A guiding committee and an operational committee and a Secretariat will be settled soon. This strategic cooperation is open to new partners among European public investors!
Discover the event best-of video below: