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Start-up: greek organics

27 August 2020 | By:
EBS Alumni Maximilian Bockelbrink and William Varley

EBS Alumni Maximilian Bockelbrink and William Varley

In this series, we present start-ups our EBS Alumni founded. EBS graduate Maximilian Bockelbrink founded the start-up greek organics together with his partner William Varley to bring unique natural products from the heart of Greece to Germany and Austria. Learn more about Maximilian and William and their company in this interview.

How did the idea for greek organics come about?

The idea for greek organics has matured for a very long time. At the end of 2019, William and I decided that we wanted to immediately implement our plan to bring unique natural products from the heart of Greece to Germany and Austria. We talked to more than 50 companies and experienced great stories about entrepreneurship in Greece, the post-crisis awakening and real values. Many of the companies were established after the financial crisis of 2008 when many young, highly educated Greeks were suddenly faced with the choice: Emigrate and leave family and friends behind, or start over together and revive centuries-old traditions.

Today we work with some of these companies and are more than happy about the warm and trusting cooperation.

What makes greek organics stand out?

Greek organics combines two core philosophies that are not negotiable for us. The selection of our brands is a complex process. At the core we want to provide our customers with a quality they have never experienced before in this form and at a fair price. Secondly, we see ourselves as a kind of “enabler” for the most direct B2C business possible. We work without external sales partners and can, therefore, keep transaction costs very low. This means more funds for our brands, secure jobs and great innovations. Greece has one of the highest biodiversities in the world! Together with leading universities in Greece, we turn wild flora into award-winning skincare products.

What are the biggest challenges on the way to founding a company?

Since William and I have already founded several companies, there were no unexpected hurdles to overcome. Nevertheless, we too would like to see less bureaucracy, more digitalisation and support for new start-ups, ideally directly at EU level.

You pay attention to a reasonable value chain. Can you tell us more about that?

Sure! Preferably directly with an example. One of our favourite brands is ANASSA organics. ANASSA produces award-winning organic herbal teas in a small factory in Athens. All “raw materials” used in the teas come exclusively from family-run businesses from all over Greece. The payment is fair and allows the companies to invest, often in even more ecological processes, such as the use of photovoltaics.

The entire processing is done by hand. For the two founders Aphroditi Florou and Yianna Mattheou, it is also essential to be a part of the local community. Therefore they support excellent facilities and try to help even hard-to-place workers to support themselves and their families.

One of our wishes is to provide direct support. We are thinking for example of interest-free “Tech- Up” loans, with which we want to enable investments in machines and IT infrastructure.

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