The Libra Group is funding and managing two annual entrepreneurship awards which are designed to stimulate entrepreneurial spirit through the provision of practical support and start-up funding.
The Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award (HEA) was conceived by the Libra Group in 2012 amid the unprecedented economic downturn in Greece. Libra has committed €10 million to the award which it founded on behalf of The Hellenic Initiative. Since its formation, winners of the award have created many hundreds of jobs and are making a direct contribution to the Greek economy.
In 2015 we announced a $500,000 commitment to a second award program – the American Entrepreneurship Award (AEA)which will be run along the same principles as the Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award. The programme currently focuses on two communities in which there are groups facing a disproportionate lack of opportunity compared with the rest of the USA: the Bronx, New York, and Miami-Dade County, Florida.
Our entrepreneurship awards aim to create opportunity for both experienced and budding entrepreneurs. Application involves submission of an outline business plan via the award websites. Winners receive business start-up funding as well as comprehensive business support services and mentoring – all provided by senior business leaders assigned from the Libra Group and its subsidiaries.
The prize funding, while provided interest-free with a long, generous repayment period, is not a ‘gift’. Libra believes that the inherent financial discipline of having to repay a loan is one of the key qualities they look for among winners. It’s all part of the original philosophy: Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
The AEA and the HEA, with the support of the Libra Group, are working together to bring other business entities into the fold to support entrepreneurship through monetary and in-kind philanthropic giving in geographic areas of substantial economic need and limited entrepreneurial investment. Fulfillment of interest-free loan repayments are fully reinvested back into the programs and used to provide further winners with loans.