Reload Greece, the hub of youth entrepreneurship in London, has just completed three years of an innovative presence in the British capital and is preparing to take the next step by spreading to other European capitals. The goal is to connect Greeks of the diaspora, strengthening the country’s community overseas.
The group is helping young people arriving in the British capital to network with Greeks already there, turning their business dreams into reality. The organization seeks out and supports ideas with immediate impact on Greece, either by creating jobs or through social contribution. In this framework, the Reload Greece Challenge is taking place in Greece from June 20 through to June 24 with seven ambitious Greek companies presenting their works to investors so as to get funding to extend activities.
The idea kicked off in 2012 when Greece was the focus of the international mass media resulting in a wave of negative coverage. Many of these news articles influenced British society, creating unfavorable stereotypes about Greeks who had to deal with wry British humor and derogatory references to their country.
“We decided to create an organization that would bring positive stories from Greece to the surface.”
“They called us the lost generation, and said ‘How can you be here?’ ‘How can you afford tuition?’ and other degrading comments,” says Meliti Babili-Thymara, co-founder of Reload Greece, speaking with Kathimerini. “We wanted, through actions, to prove that they were wrong. Hence, we decided to create an organization that would bring positive stories from Greece to the surface.”
The reloaders – as their members are called – are part of a “movement” of more than 1,200 people, 20 volunteers and a five-member co-ordinating committee comprised of a very robust part of the Greek community in the United Kingdom. With eight events per annum and a daily presence on social media, the group promotes synergies between professionals and students as well as the connection of the Greek community with separate British universities.
The group has the backing of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Hellenic Centre of London and a bevy of philhellenic Greeks who want to help Greece through positive action. “It is impressive that many want to help and look for ways to do this. We sense this during events, when they approach us and ask us what they can do,” says Babili-Thymara.
Originally published in Kathimerini.com
GREEKS IN BRITAIN
Recent data shows that there are around 40,000 Greeks aged between 18 to 42 years living permanently in the United Kingdom, with 6,860 of these nationals having left after 2012 and the flow constantly growing.