Greek shipping may be one of the oldest, most family-rooted and influential markets in the maritime industry.
With so many privately-owned shipowners it has garnered reputations, both good and bad, over the years. One of these reputations is of owners reluctant to adapt to change; looking at new technology with even more scepticism than others in an already conservative industry.
So it may be a bit of of a surprise to find that a new company has been launched in Athens that aims to shatter that image. Optima X and its partner company Enso XL have been created to help accelerate maritime tech start-ups in Greece.
Emerging from Optima Shipping Services, which has a stake in Optima X, the company is building up a platform to push start-ups through a specific growth plan, and even help Greek owners build their own accelerator platforms to identify novel and new solutions.
Optima-X Chief Executive Angelica Kemene says applications will be sought for the first accelerator programme this month, with up to 10 companies being selected to start in November this year on what will be a 4 month acceleration programme.
The Enso-XL programme is not only looking for Greek start-up companies to apply for a position on its first accelerator programme.
Optima-X is a seed stage accelerator aiming to create an investor-friendly and entrepreneurial maritime cluster within the Athens shipping arena, but one where start-ups from around the world can feel at home.
The types of companies Optima-X is seeking could be those building blockchan solutions for cargo tracking, smart capacity management platforms, circular ship recycling and waste management, crew recruitment and allocation, port call optimisation, big data, machine learning innovations, or environmental/regulatory solutions.
The programme is mentorship driven, with Optima-X and Enso-XL partnering a young firm in the EdTech space 100mentors.
Kemene says Greece is not as traditionally focused as many people in the industry think. It Is becoming a favourable location for start-up activity, and she says there are Greek owners that are already showing an interest in running their own programmes to identify start-ups that can help with their digitalisation programme or other needs in today’s evolving industry.
The country’s economic position has certainly improved in recent years to support this.
In support of this drive to bring an international start-up accelerator into the Greek market, Ms Kemene will be leading a Nor-Shipping Blue Talk on June 5th in Lilleström, Oslo.
The Blue Talks are a series of one house focused Talk-Show style, interview driven, events in the Blue Economy Hall in the Nor-Shipping exhibition arena. The talks are free for all visitors and exhibitors, and the programme can be found on www.nor-shipping.com