Signs of economic recovery in Greece are beginning to be evident. And although the pace is slow, it is real.
A little more than a month after Greece issued its first sovereign Eurobond since before the financial crisis, another issuer, National Bank of Greece is reportedly set to come to market with a senior unsecured bond issue of its own–one that could be priced at an even lower yield than the sovereign’s, thereby attesting to the improved sentiment surrounding Greece.
Of course, Greece’s troubles are far from over. Substantial economic growth is still a dream and unemployment remains at record levels.
And yet there is a sense of great optimism, said Davia Temin, founder and CEO of marketing, reputation, and media strategy for Temin and Co., who was recently in Athens as part of the U.S. State Department’s Global Entrepreneurship Program’s Entrepreneurship Delegation to Greece.
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As much as the macro level changes are positive for Greece, Temin and others, like Michael Printzos, program director of the Hellenic Initiative, an organization that mobilizes the Greek diaspora to invest in the Greek recovery, say they believe that what’s happening at the micro level, in the area of small- and medium-size enterprises in particular, is far more noteworthy and heralds brighter times for Greece.
Here are three reasons why:
1. Start-ups Rose During Crisis.
“Ten years ago, everyone who graduated from university would send their CVs to big Greek companies, to the multinationals and even to the state, which was a big employer,” Printzos said. “Now, none of them are hiring, so more people have had to come up with start-ups as their only solution.”
Throughout Greece, people are sharing ideas and building small teams. In Athens, there’s been a rise in the number of incubators and co-working spaces, Printzos said, and they’re abuzz with creativity and innovation.
The crisis rendered many highly qualified people, such as engineers, IT specialists and others, jobless. These people have now become entrepreneurs, Temin said, lending their skills and talents to a host of ventures, from building ingenious iPhone apps to designing software.
“Greece has the technological capability, so the possibilities are endless,” she said.
What’s needed now is investment to spur credible business ventures forward.