Frequently Asked Questions

What are the program objectives?

Roots envisions a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem that contributes to the growth of the Greek economy.

Roots aims to:

  • Mobilize the capital markets ecosystem to diversify and strengthen the financing options available for SMEs.
  • Train, mentor and accelerate innovative SMEs to the point of investment-readiness.
  • Εnable SMEs to present their investment case in terms of risk return and to facilitate investors to make their decision.
  • Facilitate knowledge transfers, collaboration, and the sharing of best practices.
Who is it for?

The Program is designed to support innovative SMEs and startups with:

  • Established commercial activity
  • Backed by a feasible business proposal, with proof of concept
  • With scaling and growth potential
  • An attractive investment proposal
What are the evaluation criteria?

The companies will be evaluated by an independent Selection Committee, which will take into account quantitative and qualitative criteria such as:

  • The value of the product/service and its competitive position
  • Innovation (patents, level of innovation of the product/service/production process/marketing)
  • Market demand as well as growth potential (realistic market share and annual revenue projections)
  • Scaling potential and the capacity to compete in international markets
  • Skilled, forward-thinking management team
  • Value of the investment proposal
  • Financial performance
  • An ambitious vision for the future of the company
Which sectors does Roots support?

The Roots Program is designed to cover sectors of the Greek economy with high potential for growth in an increasingly innovation-focused, digitalized, and globalized economy.


  • ICT
  • Blue Economy
  • Logistics, Transport, Infrastructure
  • Biocluster (Health & Wellbeing)
  • Energy
  • Fintech
  • Tourism
  • Entertainment Economy
  • Agricultural Economy
  • Food Industry

*You may apply even if your company does not strictly belong in one of the sectors. Our main focus is on finding innovative SMEs with growth potential and forward-thinking management.

When applying to the program you should select the sector that is most applicable.

Why now?

The competitive conditions of globalization and digital transformation present a new set of challenges and opportunities for Greek companies. In this new paradigm, it is important to facilitate the creation of a robust ecosystem that helps companies seize strategic opportunities and access the capital they need to grow.

Who selects the companies that participate in Roots?

Selection Committees will provide feedback on company applications and program deliverables on a case-by-case basis, and reach a consensus on the companies that participate and progress through Roots. Each Selection Committee will consist of five (5) members.

Selection Committee Members (SCMs) are industry experts, academics and experienced business leaders who have joined the Roots Selection Committee Members Pool and will populate the Selection Committees at different stages of the program, based on their expertise and the nature of the company proposals and respective industry sectors of their activity.

Selection Committees will combine global best practice and local expertise to identify companies with real potential while providing quality feedback that will help them improve their strategy for growth.

Across the different stages, the Committees will have two (2) constant and three (3) variable members, chosen on the basis of their relevant expertise and profile:

  • Selection Committee member from ATHEX
  • Selection Committee member from the local entrepreneurial ecosystem
  • Three experts from the Selection Committees Members Pool
How long does the Roots process take?

Each company can progress through the program at their own pace depending on the time needed to perfect each stage’s deliverable according to their mentor’s and Investment Advisor’s recommendation. 

The approximate time commitment is 6 months for the capacity building and training component for the program. The speed with which successful companies access capital will depend on their readiness and their chosen financing instrument.

How does it work?

Roots provides access to an international network of experts, coaching and training opportunities that will help SMEs build their growth capacity and access financing tools in the Greek capital market.



A high-level committee of international and local experts will select the companies and provide feedback to them throughout the program.


Companies are matched with a Mentor and an Investment Advisor that will support them as they complete program deliverables, and help them fine tune their strategy based on the needs of their organization.

Capacity Building & Training

Companies have access to training material, workshops, and knowledge-based events modelled on global best practices.

What is Capacity Building?

Roots capacity building is the process of developing and strengthening the skills, abilities, processes, and resources of the companies through training material, workshops, and knowledge-based events modeled on global best practices.

The main elements of the Roots Capacity Building component are outlined below:

  • Online courses by the Global Competitiveness Academy (GCA) and Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management will be made available to participants. The courses aim to enhance their skillset and ability to leverage data and technology to improve their operations and support their growth. The courses cover topics like business analytics, big data, and data mining.
  • A three-day executive course designed by Mr. George Serafeim, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. The executive course provides a holistic view of the topic of corporate performance (measuring, analysis, driving and communicating corporate performance).
  • Workshops on corporate finance topics as they relate to the capital market. The workshops are being designed by the Athens Stock Exchange in partnership with the Hellenic CFA Society, and aim to enhance companies’ knowledge of the financing tools that are available through the capital market, and the processes that are required in order to secure them.
Who are the partners?

Corporate Champions are leading Greek companies who champion each sector, transferring know-how and supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Mentors and Investment Advisors constitute the program’s advisory pillar; they support and advise the companies.

Selection Committees decide which companies join the program, assess the program deliverables, and provide feedback to participating companies.

Training Partners contribute to the capacity building program by offering training modules, workshops, and courses

Currently our partners are:

Corporate Champions

Advisory and Training

With the Support of

Will there be opportunities to make connections?

There will be extensive networking opportunities through the program.

You will be given the opportunity to make connections with international and local experts, academics and experienced business leaders as well as executives from other participating companies. The program offers a series of knowledge-based events and networking opportunities, with globally distinguished speakers and participants. The events aim to highlight global trends and best practices on matters of technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, investment practices, and corporate governance.

Mentors and Investment Advisors will also connect you to investor networks and potential investors.

What is the cost of participating in the Roots Program?

There is no cost to participate in the Roots Program.


What responsibilities do companies have?

Commit to earnestly participate in all facets of the Roots Program

  • Be present for key events.
  • Be featured in media opportunities.
  • Meet and collaborate with your Mentor and Investment Advisor.
  • In order to successfully complete the program you must submit all 3 program deliverables (Business Plan, Financial Plan, and Complete Investment Proposal & Pitch).

    Submission dates for each deliverable will be announced at the beginning of each cohort.

Maintain an ethical standard

  • Commit that all information you provide is accurate.
  • Keep program material confidential.
How will I get funding?

There is no direct funding through the program. Roots prepares you to raise funds through the capital market,  and gives you the necessary skills and connections to ensure your success in developing and funding a quality investment proposal.

Throughout the program, you will learn which financing options offered via the capital market are most appropriate for you, and receive guidance to choose between equity, bonds, and private equity investment. Companies that are successful throughout the Roots Program will have the option of listing their shares or issue bonds on ATHEX’s market segments (EN.A Step, EN.A Plus).

You will also build the necessary skills and expertise to successfully engage and pitch your business to investors, and have the opportunity to network with potential partners and investors.

Do I have to list?

Listing is not mandatory.

You will decide which financing options you should pursue with help from your Mentor and Investment Advisor, as well as the Selection Committee’s evaluation of the 3rd Stage deliverable, the Complete Investment Proposal.

How do I apply?

To apply you must create an account on our website, fill in the online application, and submit it before the deadline.

Find detailed information on how to apply here: How to Apply

Who can apply to the program?

We encourage SMEs and startups that are looking to grow, access financing opportunities and implement changes to enhance their competitiveness to apply to the Program. Please check the eligibility and evaluation criteria, and complete your application via the online form.

What if I have participated in another program?

You can still participate in Roots regardless of what other programs you have participated in.

What if my application was rejected?

You may apply again in the next round of the program.

Can I only apply online?

Yes, you may only submit your application via the online form.

See How to Apply.


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