A young generation of business talent stays in Greece – Kathimerini 12/5/2015

December 11, 2015


A young generation of business talent stays in Greece

By Stratos Karakasides

Two friends, Panagiotis Madamopoulos – Moraris and Nikos Koumettis of Coca Cola meet in New York on a rooftop terrace in September 2012. Troubled by the crisis in Greece and the loss of scientific talent seeking its fortune in the United States, they decide to start “Regeneration”, an initiative that seeks to change current thinking about internships and hands-on training in Greece.

Regeneration is run by an NGO, The Global Shapers Athens Hub ( a program of the World Economic Forum) , and its goal is stop the Greek brain drain. Regeneration coordinator Spyros Mylonas says that the program’s goal is to give university graduates with little or no practical experience their first chance to start their career in Greece, in a field related to their studies and fitting their personality. In that way, companies can attract the best brains – those young people who will evolve into valuable employees. Many HR managers in Greece foresee that if the brain drain continues, many companies will be facing a lack of qualified employees in less than a decade. However, hard pressed Greek companies cannot afford to hire new employees and train them according to internationally accepted standards, so Regeneration brings qualified candidates to companies for free, in an attempt to create a new generation of future managers.

The program is funded by The Hellenic Initiative and Coca-Cola, and is proving to be successful, said THI Program Director Michael Printzos. In 2014, the program’s first round of hiring, 3,000 resumes were received and 21 Greek and international companies offered 55 paid internships. When these internships expired, 42 interns saw their contracts renewed by the companies that had hired them. In the second round 4000 resumes were submitted to 49 companies for 100 positions, of which 75 ended with a contract renewal. Applications for the third round opened December 1,2015, and the available positions have doubled. Anastasia Sideris, director of communication of Coca-Cola SE Europe, told Kathimerini, “We want to create new managers so that when the situation in Greece improves, we will have a critical mass of young and able managers who will assume positions of responsibility.”

Three program participants were interviewed by Kathimerini and praised Regeneration:

a. Serafim Papageorgiou, a graduate of the University of Piraeus did an internship with the group sales division of MetLife. Upon expiration of his short term contract, MetLife hired him on a long term basis.

b. Zoe Tsilimpounidou, a graduate of the Athens University of Economics and Business was hired following an internship with Celestyal Cruises.

c. Marcos Karalis, a graduate of the computer science department of the Athens technical Institute, was hired by TNT, a logistics company, which hired him following his internship. “I would have left Greece, if I could not find a job,’ he told Kathimerini, “I feel lucky that things took a positive turn for me.”

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