SFF Summit 2024 - Athenian Nexus: A Two-Day Celebration for the European Ecosystem of Entrepreneurship

Press Release

SFF Summit 2024 - Athenian Nexus:
A Two-Day Celebration for the European Ecosystem of Entrepreneurship

The two-day entrepreneurship and innovation "Start For Future Summit 2024: The Athenian Nexus" successfully concluded on May 17, 2024, bringing together a diverse and dynamic audience of academics, entrepreneurs, researchers, investors, and startups in the heart of Athens. The Summit, organized by the Athens Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ACE) of the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB), was hosted at the Athens Conservatoire (May 16), and the premises of ACE (May 17). This was the fourth annual gathering of the Start For Future (SFF) Coalition, a growing multi-stakeholder network that has rapidly emerged as one of Europe’s most dynamic and fastest-growing innovation alliances promoting entrepreneurship and innovation.

Focusing on DeepTech, Circular Economy, as well as Culture & Tourism, the Summit promoted cross-sectoral synergies and novel ideas that may redefine innovation and foster sustainable entrepreneurship with a positive societal impact on a European scale. Throughout the two days of the Summit, the participants had the chance to attend insightful panel discussions, presentations, and startup pitches, engage in one-to-one match-making meetings, take part in hands-on workshops, and enjoy various networking opportunities.

The Summit was honored by the presence of distinguished guests, including Mr Kyriakos Pierrakakis, Minister of Education, Religious Affairs, and Sports of Greece; Prof. Dimitrios Bourantonis, Rector of AUEB; and Ms. Milena Stoycheva, former Minister of Innovation & Growth of Bulgaria, and founding member of the SFF Coalition.

Day 1 of the Summit was primarily focused on strengthening the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Ecosystem in Europe. Key focal points of the two initial panel discussions were the impact of targeted policy initiatives and the distinctive role various critical stakeholders may have in promoting and fostering innovative entrepreneurship. The attention then shifted to the challenges of promoting spin-offs, and building bridges among the national and regional entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems. The last panel of the day featured the presentation of the SFF vision and mission for the next chapter of the SFF Coalition. The managing board of the SFF Cooperative, Ms Pavlina Vujovic, Mr. Nicholas Fanin, and Dr. Stratos Baloutsos, presented their plans and issued an open invitation to participate in SFF and co-create the future of the European innovation ecosystem.


The first day concluded with the highly anticipated Investor Day, which brought together investors and startups/entrepreneurial teams from all over Europe. The participating teams had the chance to pitch their ideas to an audience of potential investors, receive valuable feedback, and establish partnerships with prominent members of the investment community.

On Day 2 of the summit, a Policy-Recommendation Workshop took place, with a focus on collaboratively identifying challenges and root causes, developing solutions, and brainstorming policy recommendations. The aim was to provide concrete and actionable steps to address the Mediterranean crisis. Participants worked in multi-stakeholder groups, exchanging ideas and creating proposals for sustainable development and innovation. The panel of the day was focused on research commercialization and the potential of the regional ecosystem. The discussion delved into the abundant talent pool available, the promising future that lies ahead, and also the necessary steps that need to be taken to realize it.

The second day concluded with the International Startup Competition: The “Athenian Agora” Awards, where 21 entrepreneurial teams presented their innovative solutions and received unique awards. The event hosted startups from all over Europe, offering a unique collaboration platform for presenting innovative solutions and recognizing the most promising startups. The winning teams were Cordia, Kooti Agrivoltaics, Athletopia, Aegean Cargo Sailing & Find your Coach. The awards were sponsored by ACTIVE COMPUTER SYSTEMS, Boston Consulting Group & eQuality NGO.

Take a glimpse of what happened during the Summit here.

About ACE:

We provide entrepreneurial and research teams with a specialized staff of coaches, experts, scientists and mentors with deep market and technical expertise to accelerate product development and growth opportunities in the global market.





Last updated: 31 May 2024