July 17, 2017
I really want to treat this as very informal. It’s really a great opportunity for me to learn. But first of all I want to say—and a lot of you have heard this from me in the past—how much I respect what you all are doing. I’m really looking forward to today because I know there’s some sort of concrete pitches, and some of you will be telling me some of the stories in terms of what you’ve come up with, your ideas, where you’ve been successful.
For me personally and for the Embassy this whole sector of start-ups … industry, entrepreneurship is extremely important. It’s one of the things the United States will do to be helpful to Greece at this really difficult time. It’s one of our great success stories if you look at what drives the American economy. It’s really small and medium size enterprises, and then this amazing ability of the U.S. economy to generate entrepreneurship, to create the space for entrepreneurship, allow people to fail and then sort of pick themselves up and try it again. And I think it’s where some of the most exciting parts of U.S. economic story have been coming from is sort of right on that margin.
So I really look forward today—today as an opportunity to hear from you all. We work a lot with the MIT Enterprise Forum, so I know that story pretty well. Mindspace is newer to me. And I know you guys, it got started at the Technical, but I’d love to hear sort of how it’s working at the national level now. And then Dimitris, I know you’re going to be going to the United States on one of our visitor programs, so I’m very excited about that. I’d love to hear more about your itinerary, where you’re going, and where you’re going to be going.
But I really want to use this afternoon as an opportunity to hear from you: what’s working, what the challenges are and what your biggest headaches are, and then try to use that to inform the approach we use as the U.S. Government, to try to shape our approach over the next months as we think about how we can continue our work in this entrepreneurship area, because I promise you this is something that we’re going to continue to make a bigger area. So with that I’ll stop talking. And I know you guys have a quick opening presentation, and then I think we’ll open it up, if I understand correctly.