Thessaloniki International Fair Digital Greece Pavilion
Sunday, September 12, 2021, 2:30 p.m.
Kalispera sas. Colleagues, friends, I’m sorry I couldn’t be with you in person today, but I want to welcome all of you to the launch of our TechCamp Thessaloniki: Empowering Women Entrepreneurs.
I also want to thank Minister Pierrakakis and the Ministry of Digital Governance for hosting this event in the Digital Greece Pavilion, part of our ongoing cooperation to support Greece’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and build closer partnerships between American and Greek technology companies.
I also want to thank Dimitris, Stella, Yiannis, and the rest of the Socialinnov team for their flexibility and resilience following the cancellation of TechCamp 2020 due to the pandemic.
Socialinnov and Found.ation are longstanding Embassy partners, and I appreciate how quickly they were able to shift gears to offer a series of virtual workshops to participants from the 2020 program. And I’m also glad to see that so many female entrepreneurs have returned to participate in person this year.
We’ve reached a moment at which Greek and U.S. interests are more closely aligned than ever before. Leading U.S. technology companies like Cisco, Microsoft, Google, Amazon Web Services, and Apple have helped Greece to accelerate its digital transformation during the pandemic.
These companies have made major commitments to expand their footprint in Greece, positioning themselves to take advantage of the Balkan market and transform Greece into the digital hub of southeast Europe.
We’re delighted to have senior executives from some of these companies joining our program today. We’re also very excited that Amazon Web Services is joining our TechCamp and TIF for programming this year.
For this reason, I’m so proud to welcome female entrepreneurs from Greece and the Balkans, and the wider region to this year’s TechCamp.
It’s been very impressive to see how quickly Greece’s relations with its Balkan neighbors have normalized following the Prespes Agreement. Over the past year, we’ve seen increased cooperation in energy and defense, more trade and investment, and stronger people-to-people ties, which each of you here today are helping to build.
At the same time, I’m excited that Prime Minister Mitsotakis plans to target so much of Greece’s 32 billion euro EU recovery fund towards investments in digitization and the green energy economy because these all support the priorities of President Biden and Vice President Harris. These are areas where we see fantastic opportunities for American investment in Greece, and where the U.S. wants to be Greece’s partner of choice.
Gender equality and women’s economic empowerment have been Embassy priorities for many years that I’m proud to support. We want to make sure that women not only benefit from these new opportunities, but are leading Greece’s digital transformation.
We’re committed to moving this agenda forward with programs to support women entrepreneurs and help to bridge the gender gap in science and technology, just like we’re trying to do in the United States.
We just wrapped up our fifth year of CodeGirls, an Embassy initiative to offer coding lessons to girls ages 10-16. We’re also providing employability skills to young women through the “Women in Tourism” program with MExoxo, the “FEMpowerment Initiative” with Regeneration, and supporting a Women Act program to encourage more women to enter electoral politics.
History shows that when women fully participate and succeed, all of our societies prosper. And as our countries and communities recover from the economic shock of the pandemic, women’s contributions will be more valuable than ever before.
We hope that you will all continue your work to forge strong regional networks of women leaders and entrepreneurs. You come from different countries, and as commercial ties grow in this region, you will have even greater opportunities to collaborate.
I so look forward to hearing the results of your discussions in the coming days and continuing to work with all of you to develop a more robust and interconnected innovation ecosystem around Thessaloniki and northern Greece. Efcharisto poli, and good luck with all that you’re going to be doing in the days and weeks ahead.