In every community, everywhere around the globe, there exists the need for change — that is, problems that need solving. Those who create long-term, sustainable solutions that serve their communities are known as entrepreneurs.
I was raised in Silicon Valley, surrounded by innumerable attempts to change the world in the hub of tech entrepreneurship. I used to believe that my excitement for entrepreneurship was strongly correlated with the startup culture I grew up in, but as a Student Advisory Board member for the Diamond Challenge this year, I recognized a new truth: entrepreneurship isn’t just a Bay Area craze; it’s a worldwide mania.
Nearly 7,000 miles around the world from me is Diamond Challenge competitor Alexandros Mavridis. After reading his introductory post on the Facebook group chat, I was inspired to get in touch with him and learn more about what made him, as he described himself, “passionate about entrepreneurship.”
Alex is a tenth grader in Athens, Greece, who has been learning English since first grade. He attends Pierce – The American College of Greece.
“Pierce College is a six-year co-educational high school accredited by the Greek Ministry of Education and the equivalent of a national public school. The language of instruction is Greek. It was founded in 1875 by American Christian missionaries as a primary and secondary school for girls in Smyrna, Asia Minor, and gradually expanded into higher education.” (GreeceTravel.com)
Pierce is Greece’s pitch host for the Diamond Challenge this year and encourages its students to participate in a variety of activities, including entrepreneurship and innovation. Alex was very excited by this opportunity, expressing his school pride:
“My school has a highly entrepreneurial spirit. Not only has it competed in a variety of competitions such as Junior Achievement, acquiring many great distinctions, but this year we were also awarded as the Entrepreneurial School of Greece for 2018.”
The tenth grader also added: “Our school efforts come in parallel with a wider need to advance entrepreneurship in Greece as it struggles to escape from a difficult economic position.”
The theme is reinforced— all around the world, young people are being encouraged to tackle problems through entrepreneurship. For Pierce School and for Alex, this means creating successful businesses that can bring long-term economic growth to the community. Alex’s passion for entrepreneurship comes from his belief that it can shape the future.
Of course, he’s a fantastic student. Alex plans to enroll in his school’s International Baccalaureate program so that he can potentially study abroad in the United States. He particularly enjoys trying new things, pushing himself out of his comfort zone. Like many other entrepreneurs around the world, he loves to connect through competitions and share his ideas and opinions. Numerous hobbies have his attention and have served his entrepreneurial passions, from the discipline of martial arts to the creative stimulation of theater, video editing, and photography.
Alex mentioned this particular quote in his interview. “Words and ideas can change the world.” – Robin Williams. Personally, I found this fitting; we were communicating through Facebook, an idea by Mark Zuckerberg that ultimately led to Alex and I being able to connect with each other online and discuss our passions from around the world.
My experience chatting with Alex had me surprised and impressed with the level of interest in entrepreneurship around the world and also gave me a new perspective on the importance of Horn Entrepreneurship’s work through the Diamond Challenge. The Diamond Challenge gives students like Alex the opportunity to rise above their challenges and tell their stories. Alex very humbly recognized this: “The fact that now our country’s students are being provided other motivational competitions which help them develop their skills, their ideas, and themselves, is a privilege for us.”
Being a talented entrepreneur, however, he wouldn’t just settle for the status quo. For those of you in Greece, “It’s about time to awaken the entrepreneurial spirit on a national level.”
Diamond Challenge competitors, student advisors, and mentors— this is the challenge that Alex Mavridis has presented us. How will we continue to awaken the entrepreneurial spirits of our own communities? From high schools in Greece to research centers in California, there exists the need for innovation— what problems will you solve?
No matter where our Diamond Challenge alumni go, we are constantly amazed by how they continue to make an impact on the world for the better.
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About Horn Entrepreneurship
Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the University of Delaware’s creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement. Built and actively supported by successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders, Horn Entrepreneurship empowers aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs as they pursue new ideas for a better world.