Lessons Learned from Endeavor Greece: Panagiotis Karampinis on Building a Movement and How Endeavor Romania Can Make the Region Attractive for Global Investors

Panagiotis Karampinis, Managing Director at Endeavor Greece, discusses with us how Endeavor Greece is building a movement and how entrepreneurs can deliver a real socio-economic impact. Panagiotis has been with Endeavor Greece since Day One. Endeavor Greece played a crucial role in helping the entire country navigate economic crises throughout the years, attract talent and innovations, and reshape Greece as an attractive place for global investors.

Endeavor Greece is the first Endeavor office in Europe, launched in 2012 with the help of Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and First Lady, Mareva Grabowski.

Now Endeavor Greece shares the lessons learned during the years with us at Endeavor Romania, helping us become a storyteller of change.

1. Panagiotis, as a Managing Director @ Endeavor Greece, you’ve helped many entrepreneurs grow. Can you tell us more about your motivation and mission and how you decided to join Endeavor?

Although I’ve been with Endeavor Greece since Day One, my story of joining the team may not seem very inspiring. It all started at university. I was part of a student organization helping connect young talent with tech leaders and their HR departments. I guess my motivation and dedication helped me stand out and a professional who had left McKinsey to join Endeavor reached out to me. I didn’t know what I was jumping into, but thinking that his move from a company like McKinsey to another organization must have been for a good reason, I agreed.

Frankly, if I knew the scale of Endeavor’s work back then, I’m sure I wouldn’t have acted that cool for the actual interview.

Now, over a decade later, I see Endeavor as an instrument not only for business growth but societal change. Because businesses can impact our society! And we need our society changed: to be open, diverse, proactive, and able to smile when thinking about the future.

2. What about founders: why do you think they need to connect with like-minded people and mentors and how can they benefit from joining Endeavor Greece?

Greece is home to influential entrepreneurs and the majority of them are part of Endeavor Greece. These are the most influential businesses in the country connected by their vision for new days, marked by building a movement, fostering growth, and delivering social impact. In fact, Greek startups are major drivers of job creation – with the number of jobs created by startups being close to the number of full-time jobs created by global tech companies (8536 and 8650, respectively [in 2021 alone]).

A huge role in inspiring these entrepreneurs was the fact that PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and First Lady, Mareva Grabowski, helped Endeavor enter Greece. Interestingly, Endeavor Greece is the first Endeavor office in Europe. If it wasn’t for them and their strong leadership and ideas, perhaps Endeavor Greece wouldn’t be what it is today.

When Endeavor started in Greece, the country was shaken by an economic crisis. Our society was negative towards entrepreneurs – believing that with their actions or lack of actions, illegal and lobbying activities, entrepreneurs were simply getting richer. So Greek entrepreneurs needed Endeavor Greece. Endeavor’s message was more than appealing to them back then: that innovative minds can actually deliver a real social impact.

3. Talking about the advantages of joining Endeavor, can you share what role Endeavor Greece plays in supporting the local ecosystem for the next generation of founders and helping multiply the entrepreneurial effect across the globe?

Endeavor Greece helped build a movement nationally. Blessed or cursed, our nation is full of tough activists who act upon seeing Greece changed against the odds.

We at Endeavor Greece believe that societal change can be done only if the most innovative minds and enterprises join forces – working toward improving our society, creating wealth, modernizing education, and promoting diversity.

This can enhance the multiplier effect and help others pay it forward, paving the way for the new generation of entrepreneurs.

4. While on the topic, we can’t skip mentioning the first Greek unicorn – Viva Wallet, which hit unicorn status after signing an agreement with JP Morgan. In your opinion, what effect has that had on the entire ecosystem?

Anything that creates future value and helps bring our nation to a new level is highly appreciated. That’s why we believe that companies like Viva Wallet, no matter if they are a part of Endeavor, help us strengthen our movement and deliver change.

Whether it’s Viva Wallet, Taxibeat, or another tech leader, Endeavor Greece is open and supportive towards companies that help deliver socio-economic value, and we are happy that now, past the first wave of startups, a majority of the existing tech companies here are connected to Endeavor.

Endeavor Greece is open and accessible to anyone ready to challenge the existing paradigm and help make the country more attractive globally.

5. When it comes to our region, do you think that Greece is an attractive place for foreign investors, especially amid the demographic crisis countries are witnessing, and do Greek startups have the potential to grow internationally?


From startups to successful exits, Greece is vibrant, diverse, and competitive. For example, hiring personnel can be not that costly. And we have some stunning scenery!

We also witness many people returning and new international talent coming to Greece. In fact, attracting talent is something that we at Endeavor Greece strive for and we organize campaigns and discussions for more tax breaks, legislation and visa changes, and so on and on. One of our prominent campaigns is Innovation Nation which helps talent overcome challenges and connect with top employers.

6. From the pandemic to global economic instability, the last few years have been challenging for sure. What challenges have you witnessed locally and why? Has that discouraged business ventures, or quite the opposite – made them more proactive?

Compared to other countries, Greece kind of missed the party others were having around 2020, as we were dealing with another crisis in the country. That’s why now, we are in a way in a more stable position than before.

While we were spooked by all the rumors of global recession and downturn and then by the Silicon Valley Bank collapse, we actually never witnessed a drop in consumption, the global layoffs (used as a correction means due to the excessive hiring during COVID-19), or reduced savings rates.

We hear something is coming, but the KPIs to prove that are not here. So we will see.

7. We talk about global events, but do you think that we can learn valuable lessons from our neighboring countries as well? What places in Eastern Europe can we use as an example of persistence and growth?

In a world where we are all connected, location is not so important, and neighboring countries can definitely become partners in enhancing societal change. From organizing events and funds to strengthening the ecosystem in the entire region and becoming more attractive for global investors, countries in the region can and should collaborate.

Poland, Romania, Bulgaria – there are many growing hubs that Greece can collaborate with.

We have to put our past and prejudices behind us and simply create value for our future generations.

8. To wrap up, Endeavor Greece is more than a decade old – so what advice can you share with Endeavor Romania?

I’ve been with Endeavor Greece from Day One, and now as a Managing Director, I can tell Endeavor Romania the following: you can be the storyteller of your country’s ecosystem.

So if Endeavor Romania wants to build a movement and make a social change, they need to keep thinking big.

Reach out to high-impact entrepreneurs and outliers already giving back to the world to remain relatable. This means to be open and accessible at all times.

At the same time, though entrepreneurs are our protagonists, be open to anyone. Make them ambassadors, members, or stakeholders instead… because, in the end, high-level groups don’t need to wait to become Endeavor entrepreneurs to deliver value. Simply become a destination for them.

This way we – together – can make a real change while crafting the story of our entire regional ecosystem.