We recently got to interview Dr. Dimitrios Drisis, Founder of ACOVOY, and EXCELLWISE VENTURES among others. After 26 years of corporate career, Dimitris is an entrepreneur and shares his time between Romania, Greece, Germany, and UAE and this time shared some time with the Emirates Times.
Pleasant, with european charm, well educated and with strong arguments, described to us his professional journey and his view on business and leadership through this interview below.
We started the interview by asking, “Tell us something about you, your early life, and your education.”
He shared, “I was born in Kavala, Greece, in 1969, the first of 3 siblings. My parents used to work for the Government, and we relocated to different cities. My father was an economist, a strong advocate of “Malthusian Economics” – a theory that supports that when a population grows over time and outpaces a society’s ability to produce resources, consequently can trigger a depopulation event – and “laissez-faire capitalism” – arguing that economic competition creates self-regulation and does not need any governmental involvement.
At a later stage in my life, I had to challenge the first one and support the second even more. Technology can support population growth with fewer resources, and the proper use of capital provides social prosperity.”
He furthermore shared, “This Malthusian challenge on agriculture to feed a growing population was the motivator in my academic life to study Agronomy, Master’s in Business Administration, a Doctorate in Business Administration and create a lifelong pursue of education on all of them.
Professionally, I have worked for 26 years as a General Manager and International Marketing Manager for blue chip leaders in the Agribusiness industry, supported small and medium-sized startups escalating their business and lectured in several academic and professional fora.
My studies and professional life developed a pro-science and pro-capital attitude that I am not shy to advocate. Technology solves daily problems, increases life expectancy, creates quality of life and “self corrects” the side problems that it creates. Capitalism provides a strong incentive to produce, innovate and benefit the consumers. When you benefit the consumers, consumption increases, consequently that creates more funds available to produce and innovate and that creates a closed loop that benefits everyone. I very often share Shumpeter’s argument that the “miracle of capitalism lies in democratizing wealth”. A beautiful example he uses is that “capitalism does not provide more silk stockings to the Queens, but it offers them to the factory girls”.
Glimpse About The Business
We were intrigued to learn about his newly formed businesses and their performance in the market. So we asked, “Tell us about the business and its presence in the GCC.”
Dimitrios shared, “As a family, we hold a portfolio of small – mid-sized activities in different industries and countries. Recently we opened an office in the UAE. Our advisory business is named ACOVOY in Europe and EXCELLWISE VENTURES in UAE. With EXCELLWISE VENTURES, we support our partners to build sustainable competitive advantages to turn around / scale up a business and help investors to access International Markets.
We do NOT regard ourselves as producers of Timesheets and Powerpoint slides. We do NOT issue invoices with no genuine interest in the long-term viability of our partners. Instead, we offer sustainable solutions and become part of the success we create. We stand out as a “hands-on” partner looking for a long-term sustainable partnership.”
Businesses always work to bring new services to the table. We were interested to know more about Dimitrios’ latest services. We asked, “What does your business offer in the current competitive market?”
He replied, “Our services fall in the category of Corporate Development (M&A, Refinancing and Strategic Development) with our clear focus on organizations of all sizes that need development through strategic guidance and operational insight.
We understand different cultures, and we can connect organizations from the East with business opportunities in Europe.
We are not consultants and advisors with no practical experience. We are experienced operational “hands-on” managers, and we take a long-term commitment in the success of our partners.
On Corporate Development, we have planned our office in Dubai as the link for European commercial access and investment opportunities. That part of our offer becomes crucial for companies with limited experience and resources to form an international strategy. Dubai is our getaway to the East and the entry point of our partners in Europe.”
Building Strong Bonds with Employees
Having a strong bond of trust with the employees encourages them to be more productive than ever. So we asked, “What measures do you think employees and organizations can take to build effective teamwork and unity?”
Dimitrios shared, “I strongly believe in leadership. Teamwork and unity are directly related to leadership. I have seen leaders that prefer chaos because they feel safer leading in a chaotic environment, I met leaders that kill the development of their people and any succession so they can rule forever and I met leaders that develop their people, create succession lines and can create a positive and productive team spirit. An organization is the sum of talent, processes, and systems. It is lifeless until leadership gives it life and substance. Always look at the leader; you can understand the values, culture, and the company’s future.”
Advice To Business Managers
“Any tips for startups and mature businesses looking to get into a “growth pathway?”
He shared, “The advice I give to business leaders is to start with a clear and consistent goal in mind. Believe in what you do and how it will change the life of the people around you. When you want to grow, you need to keep in mind the following 6 areas:
- Do not overestimate your competitive advantage and the value you bring to your customer. This is a very common reason that leads to failure. Use Marketing Research and credible independent eyes to ensure that you put a clear differentiation on the table.
- By experience, the Best-Case Scenario is the least Probable. The Worst-Case Scenario is the most likely. Review your assumptions carefully and always consider that it is better to Under promise and Overdeliver!
- Please select the right people next to you that carry similar values to yours and have the skills, stamina, and loyalty for the endeavor to succeed. With the wrong people, you will end up in the wrong place and sometimes very soon and badly. Partnerships with the right people are everything.
- Investors finance you only when you present a rigorous market understanding, clear differentiation points and strong management with a successful success record. If one is missing, then your plan can be easily challenged.
- You may have some of the answers. But not all of them. Accept to be mentored. Accept that there are professionals that can guide you in the areas you need to learn more. The 4 eyes are better than the 2 and higher knowledge and experience can lead faster to success.
- “Dream Big, Grow Fast”. Align your tactics with this as a working principle.
Connect with Dr. Dimitrios Drisis on LinkedIn.
Visit EXCELLWISE VENTURES on LinkedIn.