Stavros Niarchos Foundation Gifts Landmark Grant to Stimulate Greece’s Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship in the Agricultural Sector
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) has gifted a landmark grant of $27,477,000 to support a major initiative that aims to help revitalize one of Greece’s most critical sectors—agriculture—by training and developing a new generation of farmers and inspiring agriculture and food entrepreneurs.
The three-year project is spearheaded by Rutgers University¬–New Brunswick in partnership with the Agricultural University of Athens (AUA) and American Farm School (AFS). The interdisciplinary team from Rutgers, AUA, and AFS will strive to create job opportunities for youth in agriculture, which is Greece’s second-largest employer; help to prepare young workers for jobs at food-related businesses and family farms; and help them start their own businesses.
The grant is part of SNF’s Recharging the Youth €100 million euros initiative that unfolded at the height of Greece’s socioeconomic crisis to help create meaningful employment opportunities for thousands of unemployed young people. “The starting point of this landmark initiative was our desire to help as many young people as possible with employment opportunities within Greece’s agricultural and food sectors, that have unlimited growth potential.” said Andreas C. Dracopoulos, SNF Co-President. “But the grant is so much more than just an employment vehicle. It has the potential, we hope, to jump-start one of the country’s most important and strategic assets with unlimited growth potential, agriculture. We are not seeking to reinvent the wheel through this major grant. We are just trying to help boost its chances to become the growth and development engine that it should be.”
“This is a strong collaboration to tackle this complex and critically important project,” said Rutgers–New Brunswick chancellor Debasish Dutta. “It illustrates how our research benefits society, as well as the range of our problem-solving and interdisciplinary skills at home and abroad.”
In 2015, SNF awarded Rutgers and its partners a $2.1 million grant to begin planning a multiyear `project. In this first phase, faculty and leadership from AUA and AFS with support from Rutgers conducted 20 studies on a range of sectors, such as alternative fruit crops, incubators, agro-tourism, Greek wine and spirits, technology, and aquaculture. The goal of this first phase was to determine the current state of the sectors, their growth potential, and their overall viability for employing Greek youth...