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Antigoni Lymperopoulou – Chief Executive Officer of the Hellenic Development Bank of Investments

Antigoni Lymperopoulou – Chief Executive Officer of the Hellenic Development Bank of Investments

“Greece has already won the wager of becoming outward-facing.” Despite being a small country, we have a strong position in the naturally outward-facing shipping industry, and we have never been timid. Significant investments are being made, and more are expected. Greece is now leading the way, innovating, and serving as an example for other countries. The era of simply copying or following is irreversibly behind us”.

Can you map out the investment activities of HDBI in Greece today?

Since its founding as TANEO in 2000, HDBI has been an important lever of investment and has made substantial contributions to the improvement of our country’s investment ecosystem, particularly in terms of funding innovative projects. We manage over 2 billion euros from the Public Investment Program and the Resilience and Recovery Fund. Our proposal was among the first approved at the EU level, establishing us as an equity platform for Greece’s 2.0 Plan. We invest through programs that are tailored to market conditions and demands, covering almost the entire spectrum of economic sectors and stages of business development. This ensures a steady flow of funds for Greek entrepreneurship.

What does Greece expect from foreign investors, and what do foreign investors expect from Greece?

Generally, the importance and potential of investments in the Greek market are acknowledged. Privatizations, major private deals, increasing capital inflows from the Resilience and Recovery Fund, and the new NSRF, but most notably the apparent pro-investment policies, all provide a significant boost to investment activity. It is critical to underline that foreign investments are necessary not only for the influx of capital but also for cultivating and developing an outward orientation through “opening up” to other countries.

Which sectors attract foreign investors?

According to data published by the Bank of Greece, which records the flow of investments, the lion’s share of foreign direct investments went to the services sector, with total inflows amounting to 4.3 billion euros. Additionally, the real estate sector appears particularly attractive for investments, including private property transactions. Significant shares are also seen in investments in manufacturing, food & beverage, and, of course, in other manufacturing industries such as the pharmaceutical sector. Let’s not forget the significant investment agreement with organizations from the United Arab Emirates, which show a keen interest in investing in sectors such as energy, agriculture and food, tourism, innovation, and technology.

It is a fact that Greece is becoming a technological hub, steadily advancing to a greater status. What do you consider to be the technological achievements of our country?

Our country is now recognized as a technological hub, as evidenced by the trust it has earned from foreign investors and tech giants like as Microsoft, AWS, Cisco, HPE, and Google. In addition to these investments, our country and its human capital have received another vote of confidence in digital technology from Mondelez International, one of the world’s largest snack companies, which decided to deploy a cybersecurity center in Athens to support its global information infrastructure. Greece is at the center, and we must simultaneously encourage entrepreneurship by investing in knowledge and education.

Do you believe that Greece is a country that can bring innovation in technology?

All of the aforementioned factors contribute to our country’s ability to innovate. We have many innovative businesses that are genuine diamonds but have struggled for many years to grow in our country and either traveled abroad or buried their ideas in a drawer. We need to encourage young people with entrepreneurial spirit by showcasing positive entrepreneurial role models, demystifying failure, and providing focused guidance from industry and academic experts, to enrich the country with innovative ideas, fresh behaviors, and modern corporate standards.

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The role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Greece is significant as they support the economy. What strategy has HDBI outlined for these businesses?

HDBI, in collaboration with the relevant ministries, is always vigilant in understanding the needs of society and the economy to create targeted programs that assist in the development of Greek entrepreneurship. All our programs focus on supporting small and medium-sized enterprises. The European context is favorable, as the EU has designed numerous programs that complement and reinforce national initiatives.

The investment fund of the United Arab Emirates has already made investments in Greece. What is the flow of investment proposals on the table?

UAE’s investment organizations, Mubadala and ADQ are currently considering several investment proposals, and we anticipate positive developments soon. In particular, Mubadala has already participated in three investment schemes (Venture Capital/Private Equity funds) from the Hellenic Development Bank’s portfolio. Furthermore, as a result of our continued collaboration and continuous market monitoring, I am confident that numerous and emblematic investments will be made in our country, recognizing our outward orientation and the work that has been done over the years.

Thank you very much!

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