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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 18 November 2017
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 18 NOVEMBER 2017 9 NEWS Mentoring one of the start-ups, (L-R) Christina Deligianni-Kouveli, John Dagas, and Spyros Kouvelis talk with Dr Franziska Doerflinger and Dr Vinay Pagay from Athena Irrigation Technologies (Adelaide University viticulture research). Jackson, as well as Shobaz Kandola, Advisor to the Minister for the Environment, Vaughan Levitzke, CEO for Green Industries SA, and South Australian Treasurer, Minister for Finance, State Development, and Mineral Resources and Energy Tom Koutsantonis. "The executives with whom we made the initial contact displayed an understanding of the overall need for sustainable development, a project which we are already running in Greece in collaboration with Cambridge," says Kouvelis. "We were also pleasantly surprised by the Treasurer's willingness to discuss and explore further cooperation between Greece and Australia." The two parties also discussed the possibility of open discussions between Greece, Australia, and organisations with whom Kouvelis' team is already collaborating with on issues regarding sustainable development and the implementation of United Nations strategies and objectives. In fact, what seems to have made a particular impression on the former minister and specialist in environmental issues is the fact that South Australia is staking a large proportion of the state's economic development on green technologies. "In my opinion, we can all work together towards forming and developing a closer relationship and bond between the two countries, which would result in an increase of employment for people here as well as in Greece, where companies are already producing exceptional work on sustainable development issues and green economy. Neverthe- less, they don't receive the support required to take the next step. "Greece is innovative to the extent that it is required to comply with the relevant European legislation and its restrictions, but lacks implementation and results, whilst South Australia appears to have developed to a greater extent, therefore the two countries have potentially a lot to learn from each other. "On the other hand, de- veloping a relationship between South Australia and a European country such as Greece will bring to the fore the best features of both worlds; the already developed European environmental legislation and the high level and demand of entrepreneurship in Australia. The possibility of cooperation between Greece and South Australia seemingly has a green light from Aus- tralia. "Australia is very advanced and on par with Europe's requirements in terms of quality and legislation, therefore there is high potential for Europe to open its markets to Australia," says Dagas. "The companies which we work with may have their headquarters in South Australia, but the innovations could come from anywhere in the world as there are no local restrictions. “Our goal is to connect with innovative companies across the globe and our next program on circular economy will include Europe, Asia, and the United States," continues Dagas, who believes that the shift in South Australia towards innovations on sustainable development, entrepreneurship, innovative technologies, and international business partnerships, is the result of the dramatic clo- sure of local manufacturing industries in recent years. "Our goal is to form a strong bond between the two countries and tap into a competitive business environment within the European markets, in order to initiate partnerships with companies in Europe and expand to the entire planet commencing with Australia and Greece. "If the place of our ancestors can act as the strong link between the two places, then that would be a winwin for both sides," says Dagas. According to Mr Kouvelis, increased entrepreneurship translates to more jobs for Greek citizens, both within and outside of Greece. "Australia has a geographical advantage because, whilst it is a considerable distance from Europe and America, it is very close to China. With China's large market and not being able to produce everything, Australian businesses and their ideas could very easily be applied and absorbed rapidly and effortlessly in the manufacturing industry of China." Spyros Kouvelis and Christina Deligianni-Kouveli will be returning to Adelaide next week to participate in a conference held on circular economy. "We look forward to returning, and our aim on this occasion will be to assess the progress made on the issues and suggestions that were put on the table, and to investigate further the development of green industries, which in South Australia appear particularly developed," says Ms Deligianni-Kouveli. "Our objective is to link the two countries and make Greece the bridge which will connect Australia with the rest of Europe."
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