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8 Greek innovators defying the odds

Symeon Retalis, Kinems

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In just two years, Kinems, a Greek start-up that makes an e-learning platform for children with disabilities, has been able to snare a strategic partnership with Microsoft and license its software-as-a-service at schools, clinics and hospitals in Europe and the U.S.

The product works with the Microsoft Kinect sensor so children with autism, ADHD, dyspraxia and other learning disabilities can play games with hand and body movements to improve cognitive and motor skills. Teachers and therapists can adjust the same settings to children's individual needs. They have access to reports to monitor progress in learning and kinetics.

The global market for special-education software is expected to reach $2.8 billion by 2018, according to Global Industry Analysts.

Two Greek university professors — Michael Boloudakis, 31, and Symeon Retalis, 46 — came up with the idea for Kinems. Their business plan helped them land a spot at the Microsoft Innovation Center in Athens and attract 240,000 euros in venture capital from the Amsterdam StartupBootCamp and the EDGE Fund. Plans are to grow through regional resellers.

Pictured: Symeon Retalis, co-founder and CEO of Kinems

Marios Polyzogopoulos | CNBC