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Home > Life Stories > The Ethnic Food Entrepreneur - Greece - 1

The Ethnic Food Entrepreneur - Greece - 1

Mrs T was born in Italy and after graduating from university she married and moved with her Greek husband to Thessaloniki. In Italy she had studied medicine, followed by a Masters degree in nutrition in London. For a short time she worked as a general practitioner but soon moved into the field of nutrition, while at the same time taking her first steps in business.

Taking advantage of a very skilled chef in the family, she opened her own Italian restaurant in Thessaloniki, focusing on quality ingredients. She states that this initial venture came about through chance. The restaurant was successful even in its first year of operation and after a few years won awards for its excellent service and the quality of its dishes. Initially, Mrs T worked mainly on the smooth running of the business but last year she exclusively focused on bringing to life the mission of the restaurant; offering her customers original high quality, Italian flavours at reasonable prices. Moreover, in order to serve her customers better she introduced a home delivery service.

Despite the difficulties of the current economic climate Mrs T seems to be quite satisfied with the progress of the restaurant thus far. She remains cautious however, stating that her business aim is firstly to survive and secondly to make a profit.

During the set-up period, the support of her husband and her family was crucial. They helped her financially. She also believes it is impossible to set up a business with no help at all and without possessing a basic knowledge of marketing and business. Nevertheless, Mrs T herself started without this knowledge of marketing and often made small errors, which were only remedied when she later gained the relevant experience.

Furthermore, she believes that if she took the same steps in a larger city she would have had greater success, with perhaps fewer difficulties. That’s why she insists that government organisations should encourage more entrepreneurs to create businesses with vision and integrity.

Her advice to other immigrants who wish to set up a business in Greece is to think hard and thoroughly examine every eventuality, taking small steady steps at first. As an entrepreneur, you need to be open minded and have the spirit of entrepreneurship inside you, willing you on.

Despite having a broad range of interests, she is convinced that if she had the opportunity to begin something new, she wouldn’t pursue it, because she truly loves her work and wants to develop it in a myriad of ways.

Mrs T is a very active entrepreneur who successfully manages to keep a healthy balance between her business and her family life. She looks upon any difficulty as a challenge because she sees “life as a series of challenges”. She welcomes the problems that crop up in her business and in life in general because overcoming them makes one into a true entrepreneur.  

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