IVLP Gold Stars – Mr. Dimitris Kalavros-Gousiou

IVLP Gold Star Alum Dimitris Kalavros conferring with Department of State representatives before departing for his next appointment

In September of 2017, Meridian welcomed Gold Star alumnus, Mr. Dimitris Kalavros-Gousiou of Athens, Greece, for a two week program that followed up his first International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) administered in 2013, "Changemakers: The Impact of Social Entrepreneurs in the U.S." Since the conclusion of his program Dimitris, Founder and Curator of the TEDxAthens Conference, launched an alumni program for fellow Greek IVLP participants and founded Found.ation, a startup hub and digital transformation accelerator for corporations and a tech education hive for entrepreneurs. Having returned to the U.S. as a Gold Star alum, Dimitris began new relationships with resources in Washington, DC; Denver, Colorado; Austin, Texas; and San Francisco, California.

While in Washington, Dimitris met with representatives from WeWork White House, a company that provides services and a shared work space for startups; staff from 1776, an organization that connects entrepreneurs to professional organizations ; and a faculty member from The George Washington University's International Council for Small Business, a non-profit organization that provides continuing management education for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Before traveling to Denver, Dimitris also had the opportunity to speak about the impact of his first IVLP experience at the Department of State, and meet with representatives from the Small Business Administration and the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Highlights in Denver included meetings with attorneys from Koenig, Oelsner, Taylor, Schoenfeld & Gladdis, a law firm that specializes in corporate and commercial support of tech start-ups; faculty from the University of Denver's Daniel Feux Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science; and Galvanize, an incubator for innovators, mentors, and technologists. Dimitris also engaged with Innovation Pavilion, another incubator that focuses on best practices accessing funds, corporate partnerships, and mentors; and a specialist from the Denver Office of Economic Development. Before departing for Austin, Dimitris had the opportunity to watch a Colorado Rockies game and take part in a home hosted dinner.

In Austin, Dmitris was welcomed at the Global Ties U.S. sponsored Diplomacy Begins Here Summit. There he spoke again about his experiences as as a former participant and how he managed to implement the lessons learned previously in building his own networks and organizations in Greece. Dimitris also had the opportunities to meet with faculty at the University of Texas at Austin's IC2 Institute, a think tank that focuses on technological innovation; a representative from Speak Social, a social media oriented marketing company; and the director of both the Texas Entrepreneurship Exchange and Blackstone Launchpad.

Dimitris's final city stop was well organized by the Global Ties U.S. community based member in San Francisco. Appointments were scheduled with AnewAmerica, a non-profit organization that provides training and assistance to challenged communities; FreeVentures, a student-run start up accelerator for student entrepreneurs at the University of California at Berkeley; and Silicon Valley Bank, an institution that specifically supports tech businesses and innovators in the area. After the conclusion of these appointments and a live streamed interview for TeenTechSF's global network, Dimitris returned to Greece to continue to build progress with Found.ation and TEDxAthens. He also looks forward to building up new relationships with those whom he worked with in the U.S.

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Project summary

IVLP Gold Stars – Mr. Dimitris Kalavros-Gousiou | September 2017
Number of Visitors: 1
Regions: Europe and Eurasia
Countries: Greece
Impact Areas: Entrepreneurship
Program Areas: Global Leadership
Partners: NGOs, Private Sector, Public Sector