In Greece, shipowners usually acquire a high profile when they buy a football team.
Harry Vafias has decided to break new ground by accepting to co-host a business competition show on TV.
The chief executive officer of StealthGas will be one of five judges on Dragons’ Den, the Greek version of an international TV format that also airs under the same name in the UK but is best known as Shark Tank, its US edition.
Budding Hellenic entrepreneurs will get ten minutes to pitch business ideas to millionaires offering to buy invest their projects.
“I hope we’ll find young persons with drive and something fresh and innovative to propose,” Vafias said in a trailer of the show that aired on Monday on ANT1, a private Greek television station.
Judges-cum-investors alongside Vafias in the show will be a Greek mattress manufacturer, the founder of a skincare products group and the president of a dietary supplements company. The identity of the fifth participant remains a secret.
ANT1 is to go live with Dragons’ Den in January.
Wrong show for the country?
Succeeding with the public won’t be easy. Greek primetime television is highly competitive.
To make things even more difficult, leftist ideology permeates large parts of the country’s society — entrepreneurialism and business success are often viewed with suspicion.
A previous attempt to introduce business reality TV in Greece failed badly nearly 20 years ago.
“The Candidate”, a Greek show modeled on the “The Apprentice” — an American show made popular by real estate magnate and later US president Donald Trump — was cancelled after just 4% of audiences tuned in.
“We were stupid — the right show for Greece would have been ‘The Candidate Civil Servant’”, the show’s then host Petros Kostopoulos said.
Vafias’s new show, however, may stand better chances of success.
Social conditions have changed in Greece after a crippling debt crisis severely constrained employment opportunities in the public sector.
With the country struggling to revive economic growth since, entrepreneurialism and the creation of private sector jobs are viewed a little more positively — even by members of the leftist government that ruled Greece between 2015 and 2019.