How Epirus is turning into Greece’s Silicon Valley | in.gr

Ioannina is gradually becoming a “magnet” for technology businesses, the financial and administrative center of the whole of Epirus is turning into the Greek Silicon Valley, as it has managed to attract a number of powerful technology companies and consulting services, as well as startups. looking for specialized staff.

At the same time, the city offers quality of life, natural environment and sustainability, keywords that attract new talents inside and outside the country’s walls.

“Arrivals”

Notable “arrivals” in the region include PwC, which launched its new digital center in the summer, Deloitte, which recently opened its new offices in Ioannina, Germany’s Teamviewer, BestSecret and P&I, as well as technology companies Terracom, Tekmon and Greece’s Natech .

Nikos Christodoulou, partner and head of consulting services at Deloitte Greece since 2018, says in an interview with “NEWS” that the presence of the company in a city of approximately 130,000 inhabitants is a very important investment aimed at attracting the interest of new talents.

The reservoir of qualified personnel is, among others, the Department of Informatics of the University of Ioannina, as well as other institutions in Epirus and Western Macedonia, whose graduates are highly sought after.

Deloitte’s move is part of an expansion of its presence across Greece, with its fifth main station now based in Ioannina, following stations in Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklion and Patras.

A strategic investment, the starting point of which is the recognition of the potential of the region and especially of the cities that have high university institutions, as well as new talented managers.

Jobs. As stated, the company’s vision is to contribute to the creation of a new labor, economic and social dynamic in Epirus and to offer an opportunity to young workers.

Local business

At the same time, it strives to support local business and society through the initiatives it undertakes and the programs it plans. In this direction, Deloitte plans to create more than 50 new jobs (hybrid jobs) in the city of Ioannina in items related to technology consulting services in the near future.

According to N. Christodoulou, the focus of Deloitte is the Epirus Science and Technology Park, where it is based, while in terms of the employees it chooses as new partners, it is mainly about Greeks who want to return to the country, as a result of the tax incentives provided by the government.

Recently, there has been a special investment boom in Ioannina, and more and more big players are betting on “decentralization”. From the humble and humble beginnings of Natech to PwC and Teamviewer.

The major consulting company opened its second office satellite in a row in Greece after the Tech & Innovation Hub in Patras, and at the same time started the establishment of other offices in the Greek territory, including the PwC Sustainability Hub in Rhodes.

We remind you that companies like TeamViewer have already been operating in Ioannina centers since 2019, while the German P&I AG has maintained an innovation center in the city for 6 years through P&I Hellas.

Besides Athens, Thessaloniki and finally Ioannina, Patras, Heraklion and Rhodes are growing powerhouses for multinational and domestic technology companies. Areas that are developing into “nurseries” for the production of new executives for companies that are urgently looking for a new supply of specialized workers.

Greek Fintech born in Ioannina

An example of a company that started in Ioannina and is aiming high with an innovation tool is Natech Financial Services. As the executive director of the Greek startup Thanasis Navrozoglou reports in “NEWS”, the company started in the capital of Epirus (its headquarters remain there) and now has a presence around the world through a number of subsidiaries.

“We make software, we’re mainly in the banking software sector and we’re one of about 30 companies in the world that make software for banks.

This is our main activity and we have clients in Greece and abroad. At the same time, we have representation in Greece, in Ioannina and Athens, in Germany, Switzerland and elsewhere”.

Somehow, from a small town and cooperative banks, Natech has entered the global market in synergy with Piraeus Bank and is “flirting” with large investments that may enable plans for further expansion.

In fact, Piraeus expects revenues of more than 50 million euros by 2025 and a reduction of the branch network by more than 25% of customers who visit it for their transactions, from the first Greek digital bank to operate in Europe and earn with Natech.

According to Th. Navrozogloua “at the moment there is an intensive effort to make Ioannina a technology center. There are companies that have been founded or come to town. Developments are noted, that is, several companies have come in that are in the technology sector and subsidiaries or may also be consulting. We have intense activity.”

Human Resources

“At the same time, there are investments in human resources, as there are demands from companies to attract new people. So either people from outside Ioannina will come or they will connect with new talents here.

There is quite a large nursery in nearby universities that produces people, so Ioannina is like that and Kozani, which is very close, they have an IT department.

So all of Epirus and a bit of Western Macedonia have a very large presence.

The interest is of course from abroad and certainly from Greeks abroad, because there is also a special tax regime, but also from foreigners who see the best weather, the best working conditions,” he points out.

However, according to the CEO of Natech, many steps can be taken to further develop the site. “We are lagging behind in many things, for example in infrastructure and in the service sector. The city was built more focused on the primary sector and tourist accommodation. There is also no air connection to Europe, so serious measures are necessary.’

Ecosystem of innovative companies in Epirus

Ioannina is developing rapidly as the technology park has attracted a significant number of techno-startups as well as giants that develop software for the financial sector and other businesses.

“NEWS” spoke to the President of the Science and Technology Park (ETEPI) of Epirus, Alcibiades Paipetis, who emphasizes that Ioannina has an ecosystem of innovative companies looking for qualified personnel.

As he points out, ETEPI hosts more than 30 Greek and foreign companies that focus on the development of innovation. “We provide shelter to what we call start-ups.

They are essentially companies that are high-tech and usually inextricably linked to what is going on at the university. I want to say that the production of knowledge at the university can very often lead to commercial activity and it is called to serve the park,” he points out.

According to the president of ETEPI, there is a lot of growth in Ioannina in the high-tech sectors, but he noted that “we have not used it as much as we could.

It was an isolated city, and what the state did not see, the big companies saw, talking about the great opportunity here in the city and especially about its scientific potential. They’re doing aggressive scouting.”

“I think Ioannina makes a magic recipe. This is what we hope and look forward to.

In that we have some more solid technological development. Projects developed here to provide technology at a European and international level, focusing on Ioannina.

We have been recognized by the outside world, the companies that are coming, but I would like more solid technology because this digital revolution gives the city a space of opportunity, but this space of opportunity is fluid because it does not necessarily mean that the world that comes to work here will stay and contribute to the development of the place,” he says characteristically.

Finally, regarding the attraction of companies such as Deloitte, Alkiviadis Paipetis notes that “coming to the park was a strategic choice because we discussed as a board with those in charge and it was agreed to develop relations with the university and carry out the hands-on work of students and finance and departments at Deloitte, but also various other synergies.

However, he will certainly contribute to the university and put an emphasis on our children.”

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