Anaptixiaki Irakleiou AAE OTA – Heraklion Development Agency

Business Support Organisation

Legal Status: Public limited liability company (Société Anonyme) whose Members of the Governing Board are Local Government Organizations (LGOs) and other public and private Stakeholders.

Year of Establishment: 1989

Share Capital: 407.360,00 €



1. To provide scientific & technical expertise to LGO partners and their members for the promotion of decentralized governance

2. To promote economic sustainable development of the broader area.

3. To engage in actions for the protection of the environment.

4. To engage in own-initiative and EU, national and regional funded programmes relevant to the aims of the Agency for the benefit of the Partners and of the general welfare of the broader area.

5. To contribute to local development and welfare through the participation to European and Mediterranean Networks.

During three decades of operation, the Heraklion Development Agency has delivered expertise and leadership on local and regional development actions to both private and public sector, by means of programmes and projects financed by European and State funds.

HDA is a significant instrument and a point of reference when it comes to interventions for rural, social and entrepreneurial development. This is the result of the Agency’s infrastructure, human resources and administration skills, the high quality of services provided, the acknowledges transparency of operations and the certified effectiveness in the management of projects and programs, European and national alike.


– Among the very first Greek public and private organisations, in 2000 HDA inaugurated in Brussels an EU Liaison Office. The proximity to European Institutions and to the world of institutional representation in Brussels opened a new dialogue which has been growing since. The Liaison Office was necessary for HDA to acquire know-how and to develop networks, thus improving responsible governance through the exchange of best practices, project planning and management, active participation to European policies and events.

– Since the 90s, HDA has been continuously managing the EU Initiatives LEADER & LEADER PLUS, nowadays CCLD LEADER, for rural development in the Region of Crete, playing a leading role at national level, as well.

– From 1999 to 2002, as Intermediary Body HDA was granted by the European Commission the pilot-project titled “Local Social Capital”, funded by the European Social Fund in the context of the Article 6 of the ESF Regulation 4255/88.

– Since 2017, under the framework of UNHCR and with the support of local Governments, the Heraklion Development Agency has undertaken the implementation of ESTIA, the Emergency Support to Integration and Accommodation of Refugees Programme, co-funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union.

– The Agency is currently managing the Grant “MOST – A model for sustainable tourism”, financed by the EU Switch-Asia Secretariat.

– HDA has been leading partner and partner in tens of EU funded transnational projects in the framework of CLLD LEADER, C.I. Leader I, II & Leader Plus, Interreg, Interreg MED, Equal, Erasmus, COSME, and many other.

A journey of three decades through the world of local development

Since the late 80, the Heraklion Development Agency has implemented hundreds of development socio-economic programs. Its collaborations cross national frontiers and spread all over Europe and even further, as for the last two years it has been coordinating for the EU Switch-Asia Secretariat a Grant program with the participation of Central Asian Countries.

Executives and management of HDA rely on the cooperation between public and private bodies and on the “bottom-up” approach, for the planning and implementation of local development strategies in rural areas, for multidisciplinary planning based on interaction between local stakeholders, for adopting innovative approaches, implementing cooperation projects and networking with other areas.

As a result of many years of experience and successful implementation of projects in various fields, under different conditions and with different characteristics each time, both the local population and public and private stakeholders trust the Agency.

The trademark

HDA dares to envision and to plan! Goals are set and dedication is committed in achieving them. There is no mission impossible, because nothing can be done unless you do not stand up to it!

The vision

The vision for the future is to turn the territory, the Island of Crete, the Country into a fertile soil to plant the seeds of new ideas as a source of development.

The responsibility

HDA compass is the preservation of the region’s natural and cultural heritage and the development of internal cohesion. New ideas are grafted onto locally available abundant human, technical and natural resources in order to create a new and better condition, without altering local characteristics.

The role

To support Municipalities, the Region, public and private stakeholders alike in successfully performing their development role. The Agency is constantly involved in the overall planning with innovative ideas, tools, proposals and experienced resources for scheduling and finalizing projects.

We are …

what we do!

Heraklion Development Agency leaves its mark through national and European programs, the support of public and private investments, local, interterritorial and transnational cooperation schemes.

Implementing one of the largest local CLLD/LEADER Programme at national level, HDA is a pioneer Local Action Group. Within the framework of LEADER, the Agency coordinates one transnational and three interterritorial cooperation projects, with the participation of more than thirty Partners from Greece and Cyprus.

Since 2017, under the framework of Amnesty International and the European Union, and with the support of local Governments, HDA has undertaken the implementation of the ESTIA program for the hosting of refugees.

A vision of years became reality in 2021 with the inclusion of the Asterousia region in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) under the auspices of the UNESCO Man and Biosphere program, where the Agency plays technical support, networking and communication roles hosting the Local Committee for the Management of Asterousia.

Central Asian Countries have been included in the Agency’s partnership portfolio, as it coordinates for the European Commission Switch-Asia Secretariat the “MOST” Grant Project, the purpose of which is to promote an innovative and well-structured model for sustainable tourism in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Additional Info





Address & Contacts


Αντωνίου Τρυφίτσου 2, Τ.Κ.71021, Ηράκλειο – Greece


35.326570556584, 25.132511033257


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