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Interview with Yannis Stergis,
hyphen SA President - CEO

Part of this interview was published by Giorgos Doras in the newspaper Ependisi, on 12-14/08/16.

hyphensa CEO

1. Mr Stergis, what is the identity and the history of hyphen?

hyphen SA is the first and, for now, the only company to specialise in ‘Engineering Education, Publishing and Intercultural Intelligence’.

This description, under which we operate, has been attributed to us by the relevant and qualified authorities, at our request. As educational engineers, we design, implement and develop educational programmes. Our potential clients could include international universities who entrust us to plan the educational curriculum or syllabus for a specific department, as well as train their faculty members, or the Ministry of Education in an Asian country that assigns us with developing curricula and syllabi for their schools, for example, for gifted and talented children. They could also be private educational institutes in Cyprus or Canada asking us to develop school-age or post-secondary educational programmes, or a local or multinational organisation or company assigning us to analyse their needs or run diagnostic checks to assess the development achieved through the training of personnel – the aim of which could be to increase productivity or intercultural intelligence. I believe we define education on a daily basis.

Similarly, as publishing engineers, we develop innovative and unique technologies and techniques in written and electronic publishing for our clients, guaranteeing high productivity and a competitive advantage for each. For more than a decade, some of our largest established clients have been multinational organisations including the publishing houses of both Oxford and Cambridge University, Pearson, Longman, Macmillan, McGraw-Hill and Berlitz, as well as their branches in more than 75 countries.

Last but not least, as intercultural intelligence engineers, we are the only organisation to educate children, young people and adults in intercultural intelligence as part of the Agenda 2020 skills and the leadership skills programme for the future of work. We achieve this through our network of non-formal education centres, or Elaeons ( Moreover, well-established domestic and international organisations like the BSTDB, and companies like KLEEMANN and MEVGAL, amongst many others, entrust us with their annual reports, the design and content development of their websites and the intercultural adaptation and rendering of their communications in over 25 languages and cultural systems. What is more, on certain occasions, we even train senior executives in intercultural communication.

hyphen SA was founded in 2003 in Thessaloniki by Emma Parker and myself. The company employs more than 320 administrative personnel, production and educational specialists, of whom approximately 50 are based in Greece and the remainder in 11 different countries. Besides the activity mentioned and the Elaeons, educational centres for the future of work, hyphen SA also owns the αriston project Ltd – a think-tank for educational research and knowhow, located in Solihull, UK, as well as the boutique publishing house .ParkerStergis. Publishing – Special Editions, also located in Thessaloniki.

2. What is the competition for hyphen and what are the company’s comparative advantages?

As I usually teach my students, be them businessmen or executives, competition is indirect and direct, subjective and objective, and always judged on the outcome. In the traditional sense, our various activities are met with a great deal of competitors, many of whom could end up in our team. However, for our package of services in general, our competition is a potential client’s ignorance and reduced purchasing power.

Our greatest competitive advantage is our relationship to content. Indeed, when everyone around the world has been investing in technologies and economies, we have been analysing human intelligence and its capability to produce authentic content. This is where we focus our know-how. The way to accomplish this is by using what I’ve learned in my studies and Doctrine in Cybernetics and Systems, through a state-of-the-art knowledge management methodology which hyphen SA has adopted as corporate culture and, of course, by developing the relevant tool (KMS / Knowledge Management System).

3. Many people wonder why hyphen is active in Greece and not in some other technologically advanced business hub on the planet.


Greece was as much a personal choice as it was a professional one. Before founding hyphen, Emma and I had never worked for a Greek company or body. Therefore, we were lucid enough to understand that the Greek economy had not yet succumbed, but it would inevitably do so, and for a Cybernetics specialist and Greek like myself, the cause of the problem was crystal clear; a national collective narcissistic disorder. We decided that we would only work with foreign clients and that 85% of our turnover would originate from abroad. In Greece, the few clients we had were noteworthy educational centres and small businesses, mostly service providers.

In the aftermath of the Greek debt crisis, we began to identify the large, ‘honest’ Greek companies whose maturity and culture were familiar to us, and we approached them. It is not by accident that, as in our case, they were well-known and respected businesses during the decade of unaccountability, but they did not make any noise.

4. Does being located in Thessaloniki create additional problems or does it offer advantages?

It is our international policy to opt for the second largest city in any given country. In Greece, our headquarters are located in Thessaloniki, in Cyprus they are based in Limassol, and in England, Solihull, which is a Birmingham suburb.

As much as we’d wish to handle this with political correctness, Thessaloniki has interculturality embedded in its culture, not in the modern way of a capital, but in its blood. This is very useful to us, since on the one hand we are a company operating internationally seven days a week, and at the same time we acknowledge three weekly holidays: Friday (for Muslim employees), Saturday (for Jewish employees) and Sunday (for Christian employees).Our working language is English, so not affected by location, and we enjoy easy access to the Balkans, where we operate extensively, as well as the Egnatia road of Greece which covers most of the country.

What is more, Thessaloniki is the mother of exports in Greece. It is home to innovation, the Greek International Business Association, NOESIS, AUTH, etc. In other words, the only thing missing from Thessaloniki, and what we commercially avoid, is...the state.

The ‘Second City’ is a small capital everywhere in the world, but without the State.

5. To what extent and in what way has the Greek crisis affected your activities?

As individuals and citizens of this country we did not remain unaffected, especially on an emotional level. We experienced the same numbness, the need to redefine our households, to address our local clients’ fears; but we were not affected professionally, at least not to the extent that we were back in 2008 for example, when the Anglo-Saxon crisis occurred. We learned a lot then that fortified us. However, the Greek crisis has actually benefited us in certain sectors since its outcome forced many to appreciate our practices, which up until then were treated as ‘foreign’ or ‘odd’. Also, as I’ve already mentioned, the crisis helped us discern the kind of Greek clients we are interested in, in other words, those who produce work, not noise.

Meanwhile, the same happened with our suppliers and our personnel. The crisis showed which of them actually produce work and results and which are all talk and noise. As expected, the latter are always rejected by any ‘system’.

Read the entire interview

ariston codex: a road map to entrepreneurial independence

by Sofia Emmanouil
(Business/Executive page, Naftemporiki newspaper 25/07/16)

Τhe ariston project develops a notion of excellence which leads to a path where entrepreneurial success meets personal development; a convergence necessary to create a positive impact on both the economy and society.

It is true that behind every successful business strategy we find executives with the professional skills, know-how and experience that have led them to managerial positions, having made the right decisions during their personal trajectory in life. Each one of them can recount a personal story of professional excellence, often associating success with fortune.

The code (CODEX) for the ariston project, which does not take fortune into account, is a road map to entrepreneurship – entrepreneurial independence, as described by the book’s author, Yannis Stergis (.ParkerStergis. Publishing). It shows the road towards seizing opportunities through a composite code of cognitive, technical and procedural standards that are not set as rules, but rather as goals to be achieved.

As long as these standards are considered as targeted conquests (skills, knowledge or conditions), the readers of the “code” will be able to address the majority of historical business difficulties by utilising their experience, but without resorting to emotional defense, thus feeling free to create and innovate.

In the CODEX framework, we examine three groups: initially, the target group for entrepreneurship (composition and evaluation), then the target group for executives (professionals employed in a business – application and analysis) and finally, the target group for young and new students (harvesting cognitive load and basic know-how – cognitive load and comprehension).

While creating a system of codification, it is worth noting the Babushka phenomenon since every target group is governed by six distinctive levels of acquisition: 1a) cognitive load, 1b) comprehension, 2a) application, 2b) analysis, 3a) composition and 3b) evaluation and consolidation (lesson learned). The analysis of the above constitutes a road map to entrepreneurship interpreted experientially by Yannis Stergis, a successful businessman from Northern Greece, who, with his wife Emma Rachael Parker, lead hyphen SA, a rapidly growing group of publishing, educational engineering and intercultural communication specialists, with affiliated companies in educational know-how (the αriston Project Ltd) and special publications (.ParkerStergis. Publishing). In 2014, they founded the Elaeons, in other words, the αriston project “training centres” for courses in leadership skills.

hyphen SA (whose turnover rose by 55% last year – 85% derived from international operations) has clientele which includes five of the largest global publishing houses, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Pearson Education, Macmillan and McGrawHill, as well as major organisations such as the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank and companies including Mevgal and Kleemann, amongst others.

Αriston standards/criteria for entrepreneurs

Whilst outlining the ariston criteria for enterpreneurs in his book, Yannis Stergis describes the levels of acquisition, stressing, amongst other things:

1. As far as cognitive load and comprehension are concerned, readers must understand the basic structures and operations of the market and the professional field in which it operates; understand the difference between the roles of entrepreneurs and efficient managers; ensure their personnel have the required professional certification and residence permits; be able to plan and implement the ongoing professional development of their employees; ensure that their clients are adequately informed about the services provided to them prior to sale; be able to design and provide the means for new services and products emerging from client and market needs; ensure there is sufficient administrative staff to manage the expected workload; provide a comfortable and welcoming environment for all clients; be able to regularly provide written evaluations of clients; provide product/service evaluation with specific delivery goals in writing; provide members of staff with minimum connectivity and online accessibility to business premises; ensure and monitor the regulatory and effective use of resources and provide adequate staff support and training.

2. As far as application and analysis are concerned, readers must, amongst other things, ask themselves whether they can efficiently apply the basic principles of management and marketing within a competitive environment; whether they are capable of implementing a clearly documented recruitment policy; whether they can design an effective organisational structure; whether they can manage purchasing procedures and offer planning objectives in writing for every service/product rendered and whether they can employ client portfolios. They must also acknowledge that they comprehend and effectively use the principles of regular accounting reports; guarantee that resources are modern, attractive and appropriate to the service type and standard provided; use personality tests in order to create specific maps for new services to clients and ensure that both personnel and clients can provide feedback.

3. As far as the final level is concerned, that of composition, evaluation and consolidation, readers must acknowledge that they are fully aware of the project management principles and run their business on that basis; be able to apply the Balanced Scorecard, and design and provide portfolios for all employees; present an automated database and monitor client satisfaction in relation to service goals; possess an evaluation system and a corporate network providing real-time access to clients.

Focus on Publishing

What the education of tomorrow learns from the start-ups of today

by George Theodoropoulos
Production Editor,
hyphen SA

Creating viable business models

A business concept must be financially viable, with clear goals, plans and expected results. Even within the Education sector, we are obliged to operate within a concrete business plan. We have an obligation to the parents, students and teachers who trust in us, so they feel confident investing in their personal growth to achieve their own goals.

Start-up businesses teach us about modern sustainable business models built on innovative ideas, flexibility, the application of new technologies and the creation of model products and services (the result of prototyping based on customer feedback).

Creating products to fit target markets

Based on educational ideas and our own experience in this field, we create educational solutions, the decisive factor of which is sustainability and adaptability to the particular needs of each market as specified by the minimum viable product (MVP). This strategy encourages us to remain consistent to the creative process, but also to the continual improvement of educational courses and services by means of assessment, data mining and an improvement process based on customer feedback.

Product-Market Fit

This strategy leads to a shift in mentality which pertains to the searching of an appropriate market that can respond to the added value of new products and trends. Often, this is a niche market, but at the same time more profitable or intriguing. The power of start-ups rests with early adopters; those who lead us towards creating market trends and motivate us to contribute to the success of modern education.


Customer Spotlight

Open day success at Limassol Young Leaders Elaeon

by Efthi Georgiou,
Primary School Teacher & Owner of the Limassol Young Leaders Elaeon

The first open day held at the Limassol Young Leaders Elaeon on Wednesday July 20 met with great success.

Attracting over forty guests, parents and their children arrived at the premises of the Young Leaders Elaeon in order to acquaint themselves with hyphen SA’s philosophy, products and services, as well as to find out first-hand about the range of new educational programmes which are available.

Students had the opportunity to experience and familiarise themselves with the Young Pioneers programme and the pioneering English language programme, Young Pioneers STEAM, where they participated in exciting projects about earthquakes and chocolate!

During his opening speech, Mr Yannis Stergis, hyphen SA President, highlighted the importance and the advantages of both the Elaeon educational centres and hyphen SA’s new educational programmes.

The Limassol Young Leaders Elaeon is the only non-formal education centre in Cyprus to be certified by the αriston project. It holds the expertise and has the infrastructure to guarantee that students of all ages are equipped with the knowledge and skills required for the job market of the future.

the αriston project

Differentiated instruction: paving the way to the future

by Dora Papapanagiotou,
Senior Educational Consultant,
hyphen SA

Transition from school to the workplace is something that undoubtedly causes concern for students. So, what could be better than equipping students from a young age with self-confidence, knowledge and experience?

Differentiated instruction is breaking new ground, furnishing us with knowledge, experience and inspirational moments that are invaluable not only for students, but also for teachers.

What is differentiated instruction?

Differentiated instruction is an effective teaching method that responds to students’ interests, learning styles and personal willingness to meet new challenges.

The innovation of differentiated instruction lies within the continual evaluation and adaptation of the course to suit the progress and individual interests of the students. Teachers utilise a range of information to create a differentiated classroom environment and diversify their teaching practices, as well as the ways in which they evaluate the progress of their students.

When we pay attention to the interests of our students, we improve our teaching and stimulate our students’ passion to learn, helping them work towards a better result.

The Differentiated Instruction Course (DIC) is designed for teachers who wish to understand the advantages of, and be trained in this individualised teaching method. hyphen SA’s Elaeon in Thessaloniki provides the framework for implementing pioneering teaching methods which are subsequently adopted by Elaeons across Greece and Cyprus.


hyphen SA’s Elaeon awaits you!

hyphen SA’s Elaeon in Thessaloniki has opened its doors to unveil its series of new educational programmes.

The ariston project’s specialist teams have created innovative educational courses for students of all ages, designed to facilitate the rapid acquisition and efficient use of both the English language and the studies and knowledge required by students for school. These new courses will begin in September at hyphen SA’s Elaeon in Thessaloniki.

The Elaeon is a model educational institution where students are taught the necessary skills required for their future, in relation both to education and the workplace.

Courses available this year include:

Young Pioneers

Designed to develop students’ skills through participation in project-based learning, Young Pioneers enables students to develop their understanding of, and effectively prepare for their school studies. This course is intended for students attending the 3rd grade of primary school through to the 3rd grade of high school.

Young Pioneers STEAM

This innovative English language course combines project-based learning in Science, Technology, English, Art and Maths with the acquisition of the English language. The intensive courses cover all levels (A1–C2) in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

ROIEDU 16-25

ROIEDU 16-25 has been created to develop business and academic knowledge and skills. It is suitable for young people who wish to pursue a career, are interested in beginning a start-up company or are preparing to enroll at a Greek or foreign university and wish to create their own portfolio. The course is taught in English.

ROIEDU Business

ROIEDU Business is an educational programme for entrepreneurs and professionals who wish to gain valuable insight into the business world and learn effective methods to efficiently and profitably manage their businesses.

Visit the Eleaon in Thessaloniki, at 24B Vas. Olgas, to discover the programmes that suit your needs.

hyphen SA
Vas. Olgas 24Β, GR 546 41, Thessaloniki, Greece
T: +30 2310 888 125
F: +30 2310 887 208

hyphen SA ©