Alternative Trade Network

Alternative Trade Network

Make trade work for people!

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Last Update: July 11, 2014

Trade is not working in our country, neither for producers nor for consumers! Our aim is to change the focus of the commercial process and shift it from the product to the person who produces in Greece & the person who consumes it anywhere!

Founded: 2013 Type: hybrid

The Problem

Almost 94% of the producers in Greece are small scaled and without substantial assistance at their daily business. They are not given any real chance to enter the markets or to scale up, mostly due to lack of time, money and knowledge. On the other hand consumers have no way of finding who is producing the products, where and under which conditions. Whereas in many cases prices are not fair – neither for the producer nor for the consumer.

The Solution

Our trade model can be analyzed to 10 fields of interest that include social, environmental and business criteria. To that direction we have created a NETWORK of producers. We provide them with anything they need for their day-to-day activity, expansion and transformation towards Alternative Trade, targeting a healthy, self-sustainable business that meets our standards. When the producers feel ready, they can take part in an audit. This audit applies to businesses, members of the network or not, active on any field of the entire product cycle (production, logistics, sales, services, etc). During the audit we examine the practices of each on 10 different fields and make the outcome and the efforts to improve available to all online.


Melantho consists of 7 women in Nafplion who decided to create a small production unit for traditional products. None of them has relevant background so they are facing problems. The necessary costs exceed their budget. They lack knowledge in peripheral activities of production (marketing, budgeting, licencing etc.) They cannot reach competitive prices, and they are not able to afford advertising or building an adequate sales network. They became a member of our network and they can concentrate more on their production. We help take care of peripherals at an affordable sliding scale fee, targeting their self-sustainability, through the alternative trade model. Also they have received an idea for a completely new product from our R&D.


It is too early to talk about substantial impact, but we can give out some partial results. From the producers we evaluated as viable to become network members, 8,5% were not interested, 8,5% were rejected. The remaining 83% passed the evaluation and half of them are members of the network, while the other half is candidate members. Those that we have been collaborating closely already see solutions to their problems and improvement in numbers and quality of their operation, while we see that all of them have taken solid steps towards alternative trade. Through our interaction with consumers we have spoken to over 8.000 people about our model. About 65% supported us by buying something on the spot. The most important thing is that when they meet us again they ask for updates and they show a tendency to become regular customers for the products of their choice.

Full Impact Potential

Scaling up refers to more producers and wider range of products including startups and later on individuals. We also intend to expand our range of services to include literally everything. Everything can be alternative trade so we are launching an auditing procedure that will address every kind of business productive or not, in the whole product cycle. In the future we hope to apply our set of criteria in every field of activity. But in order to achieve that we must also concentrate on forming conscious consumers that will demand it. Hoping that conventional trade will come a step closer.

Budget: $250,000 - $500,000

Financial Sources

Businesses, Clients

Sustainability Plan

After a starting contribution, we made a strategic choice to bootstrap and aim towards self-sustainability. Since Q2 2014 the main revenue comes from services provided and by the sales division activity, which has been covering all operational costs excluding salaries. By the end of Q4 2014, we will also have additional income generated by our auditing procedure. As business expands we will be able to support 2 employees by Q1 2015.


Currently there is no similar project in Greece. As far as the existing ecosystem is concerned, the ATN model is open and collaborative towards any business or structure. Our model addresses anyone who produces and anyone who consumes.Our niche: Balance between consumer and producer needs. Working with producers and considering consumers needs, while narrowing the gap between them through information. Alternative trade is not a marketing tool. It intervenes throughout the stages of a product's circle, aiming at self-sustained producers and conscious consumers.

Founding Story

Alternative Trade Network (ΑΤΝ) is the realization of almost two years research and design of the alternative trade model made by Elena since spring of 2011. At the beginning of 2013 Elena decided to take part with the idea of ΑΤΝ in a competition ran by Eurobank Greece. That’s where she teamed up with Lina. Although ATN was the only participant that wasn't an established company and also not-for profit, the idea made it to the final stage and gained the place 54 out of 2000 participants. The very good feedback taken from that competition was the trigger of actually turning the idea into an enterprise. Pantelis, Thanasis & Thomas joined the team and in June 2013 ATN started it’s business as an social cooperative enterprise.

Team Explanation

The team comprises 5 equal members. Elena & Lina run the daily business full time. Pantelis is in charge of organizing our entry to the German market, Thanasis is in charge of logistics, while Thomas is our accountant (all part-time). We count over 100 years!? cumulative experience, We have worked in companies of every size, all departments and in most positions that make up a business. We are proud to have worked with people around the world.



Growth Tracker

Stage: Milestone 3 of 6
Start the Alternative Trade Network
Date of Completion 06/17/13
Go Live!
Phase 1: Creating & run a small network with producers
Date of Completion 03/31/14
Starting the first "to know us better year" with a small group of producers
Milestone Reached!
Date 05/17/14
Milestone Reached!
Date 05/17/14
Phase 2: Scale up the network to 25 producers (5 / category)
Date of Completion 12/17/14
In Progress
Scaling up the network to 25 producers
Phase 3: Creating of one more category and scale up to maximum (60 Producers)
Target Completion Date 12/17/15
In Progress
Finalize the visibility study for the service category
Papers & Services for start – ups
Target Completion Date 06/17/16
Integration for individuals in the production process
Target Completion Date 12/17/16
Milestone 3
Phase 2: Scale up the network to 25 producers (5 / category)
Our Impact Reports:
Elena Tzamouranou hasn't posted any impact reports yet.

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