OK!Thess provides space and coaching to teams with innovative ideas in order to Validate a Business Model Fast, and to Meet and Interact with like-minded peers.
Transport comprises a cross-sector field where several sciences and professional practices converge altogether (e.g. ICT, logistics, human behavior, marketing, etc.). Thus, the pre-incubator concept where several multi-disciplinary teams are working side by side, by incorporating co-creation and co-design approaches in their business development process would seem ideal for transport-focused start-ups.
OK!Thess is a hub in Thessaloniki, Greece, that brings together 9 institutions of the local innovation community (indicatively mentioning: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Alexander’s Innovation Zone, Municipality of Thessaloniki). It helps any early-stage startup enter the real market by validating the potential of its innovative business idea and making the next step towards its development to a product or service. It acts as a pre-incubator by providing intensive entrepreneurial training, coaching and mentoring programme. The programme consists of masterclasses as well as regular 1-to-1 coaching by an experienced professional who advises and guides the participants until the emergence of a good business plan. OK!Thess organizes Demo-Days – events in which mature teams meet with investors in order to ensure funding for their budding business.
Indeed, a new start-up, RHOE, specialized on transport software development has already resulted from OK!Thess. In addition, several transport/mobility innovation events were hosted in its premises (e.g. CIPTEC workshops, etc.)

Resources needed

The setting up costs were of the order of €80Κ. The running costs for the first year (2017) were of the order of €70Κ, whereas for the second year (2018) €110Κ. Currently, it is running on a relatively steady €170Κ pa.

Evidence of success

Since the establishment of OK!Thess, 167 teams have applied for the accelerator programme. During the first 6 cycles, 57 teams have participated, whereas currently there are 19 teams going through the acceleration process. It is estimated that 160 people have been involved in these actions. 27 teams still continue their effort by receiving occasional help (Alumni teams). As a result, including Demo-Days, funding over €1.2M was raised and around 136 jobs have been created by the teams set up.

Difficulties encountered

Lesson learned: OK!Thess contributes to the development of an innovation ecosystem by connecting actors locally and from abroad. By hosting various initiatives, it enhances the regional innovation capacity in all fields, including transport. It can be an open space for teams to interact and partner.

Potential for learning or transfer

OK!Thess comprises a successful example of cooperation among public and private actors towards the generation of innovation, the support of the small ‘players’ and the gradual growth of a business-oriented mindset, especially focusing on the new generations.
Encouraging alternative and creative ways of thinking by promoting and supporting transport innovation is essential towards the achievement of regional growth in Europe.
This practice can be realized easily and without huge financial investment, having an important impact on developing a business-friendly culture, an entrepreneurship mindset, and an innovation-oriented and out-of-the-box way of thinking on transport sector.
By providing some space to be shared by the local creative and young people, and by engaging experienced transport entrepreneurs as mentors and tutors on volunteering basis, a city could enhance the abilities of prospective and promising start-up teams, taking full advantage of their market potential.

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Main institution
Κεντρική Μακεδονία, Greece (Ελλαδα)
Start Date
October 2017
End Date


Vasiliki (Vasia) Amprasi Please login to contact the author.