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Bioeconomy Changemakers Festival – Thessaloniki edition

april 10th 2024

Within the framework of the Bioeconomy Changemakers Festival which has been promoted by the European Commission (DG Research and Innovation) in cooperation with the Bioeconomy Youth Ambassadors, Q-PLAN INTERNATIONAL organised the satellite event “Careers and opportunities in the Bioeconomy sector”, in Thessaloniki on the 14th of March. with a focus on informing more than 40 young professionals, academics and students about bioeconomy-related careers. The event organization was a joint effort of the GenB, and ROBIN Horizon Europe projects and held at the premises of the Ok!Thess innovation hub in Thessaloniki.

The Bioeconomy Changemakers Festival aimed to engage young people as a driver of the transformative change towards a sustainable circular bioeconomy in Europe. The Festival took place both in the high-level event in Brussels, where GenB participated as a session speaker explaining the project methodology and the main activities to encourage future generations to be aware and interested in environmental issues, sustainability and circularity, and in more than 30 satellite events, organised by third-party Entities, enabling young people from all over Europe to take part in the European initiative.

The day was full of informative sessions and inspirational storytelling, aimed at providing students and young professional with practical information on how to start a career in bioeconomy, advance their skills and knowledge, as well as to pursue employment and entrepreneurial opportunities in Thessaloniki and Central Macedonia. Starting with an overview of the bioeconomy sector and its current state in Greece, a presentation of alternative career pathways in bioeconomy followed (results of the study on job profiles). Moreover, bioeconomy-related educational opportunities and study programmes were presented by representatives of local higher education institutions.
Successful professionals and entrepreneurs in the Greek bioeconomy sector shared their success stories along with career insights and challenges they faced along their journey. Diverse perspectives were presented to motivate young people to delve deeper into the bioeconomy, including cases from industry, communication and marketing, urban innovation and rural innovation. Successful business cases in circular bioeconomy in Greece and abroad were presented, along with local infrastructure and programmes for youth entrepreneurship offered in the city of Thessaloniki.

Finally, a regional policy workshop was hosted by the and ROBIN projects during which young people had the chance to discuss with the Region of Central Macedonia and local bioeconomy actors. The workshop was initiated with an extensive overview of the existing legislative framework on bioeconomy and the approach of the Region of Central Macedonia towards addressing pertinent issues by Dimitrios Vlachos. This presentation laid the ground for and motivated subsequent discussions. The purpose of the workshop was to translate discussions into concrete actions, leveraging collective expertise to drive sustainable growth and innovation in the bioeconomy sector. To this end, an open dialogue and interactive tools have been used to co-define the challenges and proposed solutions. At the end of the co-design exercise, attendees were invited to nominate the most promising solutions among those defined.
The BioArt Gallery and bioeconomy job profiles were exhibited in prominent spaces to further engage the audience during networking.