On June 19 and 20, 2023, the matchmaking event took place between Port Organizations, municipal port funds, marina managers and shipping companies from Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Spain with the start-ups selected from all over Europe and Asia in the framework of the MENA Maritime Accelerator programme. The goal of the MENA Maritime Accelerator is to accelerate the green transformation of the maritime industry by supporting start-ups that will provide innovative solutions for the transition to Climate Neutrality and Resilience. Founding Members of the program are the Sustainable Development Unit at “Athena” Research and Innovation Center, Chrysalis LEAP, Cyprus Energy Agency, Cyprus University of Technology and Cleantech Bulgaria.

The Matchmaking event took place at the Piraeus Port Authority facilities in Piraeus and its aim was networking of shipping and port industry companies with the start-ups selected in May 2023 with the aim of promoting innovative pilot applications. At the Matchmaking Event, aside of the maritime companies and port authorities from Cyprus, Bulgaria and Spain, a large number of Port Organizations from the portfolio of HRADF, which is a partner in the MENA Maritime Accelerator, were actively present, proving in practice that the promotion of green innovation and climate technology is a strategic goal of HRADFand its subsidiaries.

During the first day of the event, Prof Phoebe Koundouri (Athens University of Economics and Business & Technical University of Denmark; President European Association of Environmental Resource Economists, Director SDU ATHENA RC, Chair SDSN Global Climate Hub, Co-Chair SDSN Europe) and Mr Dimitris Politis (CEO Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund) welcomed the participants, while Dr Alexandros Charalambides (Associate Professor, Cyprus University of Technology) presented the programme and partners and gave the floor to the start-ups and the stakeholders who presented their solutions/challenges aiming to highlight the gaps and opportunities for collaboration. In the afternoon, Prof Harilaos N. Psaraftis, (Professor, Department of Technology, Management and Economics, Technical University of Denmark) and Mr Michalis Dritsas (Office Manager of the Deputy Minister of Development and Investment in charge of Research – Technology – Innovation, Head of “Elevate Greece” Team) gave a keynote speech.

The second day was dedicated to the training of the start-ups. Dr Alexandros Charalambides and Mr Stelios Procopiou (Co-Founder, Director, Chrysalis LEAP) introduced start-ups on how to test their assumptions and in basic financial concepts needed to be aware of. The day concluded with a tour of the port of Piraeus.

Selected start-ups will be eligible to get funding from the ARSINOE H2020 project, the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund and the MENA Maritime Accelerator network of partners. The matchmaking process will be enriched with start-ups relevant to climate resilience for shipping and ports coming from the BRIGAID Connect Association, a research driven incubator, co-lead by ATHENA RC and in which Prof. Phoebe Koundouri is a founding member, that turns innovation ideas into real climate adaptation solutions.

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