In the spotlight: Some enterprising women entrepreneurs of Greece
#GreekWomenEntrepreneurs #InnovatorsInGreece #LeadingChange #Shepreneurs
Greece, the land of ancient wisdom and timeless traditions, is witnessing a modern-day transformation led by an unlikely but potent force: women entrepreneurs. In a nation where patriarchal norms once held sway, these dynamic women are rewriting the rules of business, innovation, and leadership.
Over the years, the representation of women in top management roles in Greek businesses has steadily increased. Today, they stand proudly at the forefront of the Greek economy, proving their mettle and reshaping its future. These remarkable women have not only broken through societal barriers, but have also contributed significantly to sectors like – technology, innovation and research.
Their journeys have been anything but conventional. They have overcome decades of anachronistic perceptions, social barriers & various challenges to emerge as prominent figures in Greece’s startup ecosystem. Their success stories highlight their exceptional talent, boundless creativity, and remarkable leadership skills.
Here, we introduce you to some enterprising women entrepreneurs, who have not only thrived in challenging environments but are also inspiring the next generation of innovators. These women are the driving force behind a new Greece – one that celebrates diversity, equality, and the relentless pursuit of entrepreneurial excellence.
> rène Mamfredos, Founder, Kimalé
Kimalé is a fun fashion brand created in 2013 by Irène Mamfredos, a Greek/French fashion designer. She has the privilege of having worked with Balenciaga, and Aliki Demi, friend and pattern-maker. Embracing the concept of slow-fashion, Kimalé mixes African fabrics with clean-cut silhouettes, sourcing the fabrics from associations active in Togo and Burkina Faso -to support local artisans. The brand also includes a few other items like – a few jewellery items and accessories and can be found in any true fashionista’s wardrobe.
> Niki Koutsiana, Founder, APIVITA & Founder President & CEO of Symbeeosis
A pioneer in the entrepreneur field, Niki Koutsiana set up the company with her husband, also a pharmacist and beekeeper, one of the leading natural cosmetic brands in Europe – APIVITA. Today, after over 35 years, she is at the head of a fast-growing cosmetics company, which holds an important position in Greece and many subsidiaries abroad. Around 30% of its total sales being exports. Koutsiana’s simple success story is another example that determination can take you anywhere.
> Tina Sklavolia-Kyriakis, Founder, Alternative Athens
Tina Sklavolia-Kyriakis founded Alternative Athens which is a company which operates alternative thematic tours that take you off the beaten track in Greece. Focusing on offering an authentic experience while presenting the non-touristic aspects of Greece, is what the company does.
She is a former marketing professional with rich experience in the field of PR, marketing and consulting as well as in screenwriting. A bit fed up of the corporate world, she took a leap of faith and established Alternative Athens. It was indeed a smart move. The company has been awarded Tripadvisor’s Certificate of Excellence and has been featured in countless publications, including CNN Travel, National Geographic, The Guardian, Le Monde and The Independent.
> Stefania Niakarou Simou, Founder & CEO, Mysterious Greece
An avid traveler and photography lover, Stefania Niakarou Simou is the Founder and CEO of Mysterious Greece, an online publication aimed at highlighting unknown locations across Greece. This proves that Greece can be an all-year round destination. Born from the desire to fill the gap of information concerning lesser-known locations, she launched her publication, providing insider’s tips and travel guides. Originally from Athens, Stefania moved to London where she got a BA in Public Relations as well as Masters in Event Management; and after interning for several companies in London, she returned to Athens and eventually landed a job as a travel writer at Kathemerini (one of the leading newspapers in the country). Mysterious Greece was established in 2013. She hopes to expand her area of expertise to other countries, as well.
> Ioanna Fotopoulou, Founder, Simple, Rocks & Model for a Cause
Ioanna Fotopoulou was an engineer, social entrepreneur and public speaker since Recognized by many international organizations like One Young World, Clinton Global Initiative (CGIU) and Social Impact Awards for her social initiatives against corruption in Greece (notably in the tax evasion system as well as at the level of local governments), she currently runs two companies.
The first, Simple, Rocks, is a digital agency that focuses on helping businesses create the best strategies to achieve sustainability and find the right clients online., Her second company, Model for a Cause, focuses on helping the environment through the fashion industry. She firmly believes that we can all contribute to lowering the industry environmental footprint, so she sells vintage clothing along with an ethical clothing line to bring awareness to the issue of fast fashion.
> Evangelia Koutsovoulou, Founder, Daphnis & Chloe
Putting the focus on Mediterranean herbs, Evangelia Koutsovoulou left her job as a journalist to embark on what most would say was a risky venture.
Daphnis & Chloe is a shop specializing in Greek herbs and spices from small producers from across the mainland and the islands to make them available to the modern-day customers. After researching and selecting the best of the best, in terms of spices, herbs and even teas and infusions, she sells her products in a little workshop near the Acropolis and ships some to shops and kitchens across the globe.