Can you tell us more about yourself and your background?
I grew up in Milos island in Greece. Milos is part of the Cyclades islands and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful islands, internationally popular for its volcanic moonlike beaches. As a child, I participated in the local sailing club and spent most of my time on boats or doing activities related to the sea. I studied Automation Engineering and then got my first job in Greece.
My curiosity and willingness to develop professionally in large international environments led me to Switzerland in 2012, where I worked in engineering and management positions in the energy industry. I travelled a lot, but always came back to Milos and loved hosting friends there and showing them the island through my own eyes.
Emmanouil, what brought you to KEDGE EMBA?
Right after my bachelor’s degree, I started thinking of next steps. In the back of my mind, I always had the desire to create my own business. Finally, around 2016 it was clear that an Executive MBA was the right step forward and I started looking into different MBA programs. After some research, I found out that KEDGE EMBA’s programme was what I wanted. The most important factors for my decision were the right mix between flexibility and ranking.
What have you been up to since you ended the programme?
As I said previously, I always had the urge to establish my own business, which I dreamed to be within the tourism sector and based in Milos. However, exact details were not clear in my head until the summer 2019. After some tough and busy years due to my position as Project Manager, I decided that I wanted to escape from the corporate environment and start my project. The basic concept was “A touristic business based in Milos island”; but what exactly? The answer came from my hobbies and the combination of what I enjoy most: boat tours! This is how I created “Salty Rides”.
What is the business idea?
Salty Rides’ main product is private luxury boat tours. Our mission is to offer our guests the best day of their vacations in Greece. Especially in the after-Covid era, travelers seek for something new, different. They want to give their time to worthy and quality activities. We want our customers to have memorable experiences, and we do so by offering high-end services and premium activities with our boat tours.
How did the EMBA help you with your project ?
My family background has nothing to do with entrepreneurship. My parents were employees. In that way, I always had restraints and second thoughts when it came to starting my own business. The EMBA and KEDGE helped me overcome these fears and carved the path for Salty Rides, revealing to me the way to build this project on my own.
Emmanouil, in short, could you tell us about :
- Your main takeaway from KEDGE EMBA? Do not stay within you comfort zone!
- Your best memory from KEDGE EMBA? Travelling for the international Seminars!
- The new business trends that currently fascinate you? Definitely electric boats, sustainability and clean-our-seas initiatives are on my mind as Salty Rides is growing. We try to be as eco-friendly as possible choosing non-plastic and non-single use materials on board. And we are shaping the concept of utilizing our boats in off-season periods for scuba diving clean-ups, in cooperation with environmental organizations. Also, electric powerboats, a technology which is gaining ground more and more, is the future of our fleet.
Emmanouil Tourlos, many thanks for your time and good luck with Salty Rides and your entrepreneur’s life!See more about KEDGE Global Executive MBA programme