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Home > Life Stories > The Web-enabled Entrepreneur - Greece - 1

The Web-enabled Entrepreneur - Greece - 1

Mr D is now in his early thirties, he was born in the UK and came to Greece for personal reasons; as his partner owned a business in Greece it was easier for him to move rather than for her to relocate to Britain. He had family experience of entrepreneurship and he took a business studies course in UK. Nevertheless his first job was in the field of transport as he also has a profession qualification in this field.

When Mr D was thinking about starting a business he found that there was a gap in the Greek market for motor vehicle spare parts which could be delivered directly and fast in every Greek town or abroad. He thought that one on-line shop selling car spare parts 24 hours a day would be a great idea. He employs just one person and he sells his products via the internet and telephone. After sale the products are delivered to customers by courier. He doesn’t have a shop, just an office but he advocates making his site look like a shop. It is a very modern site which shows the product and its availability on-line. Currently there are many traditional automotive parts shops, but for the internet the company is unique in Greece. This type of business is more common in Latin America and the UK than in Greece so setting up one of the first on-line shops in this field in the Greek market is an achievement.

He had heard many successful stories about entrepreneurs who owned on-line shops, so he decided to give a try. This was his first venture so he tried to do his best and become well known throughout the market. When he started his business he received great support from his family. The business had massive support with paperwork and regulations from his girlfriend. He found learning the Greek language very difficult. He now speaks a little Greek and when he first arrived he had lessons in order to communicate; passing some exams in the Greek language. However, most people, who he speaks to also speak English, so they usually communicate in English. He thinks that not speaking Greek is a problem for an immigrant in Greece and it’s difficult to have many employment opportunities unless you have Greek.

Nowadays he believes that due to the financial crisis it is difficult to do business everywhere, including in Greece. However he feels that it is important that regulation is more or less the same between European countries and that people inside EU are familiar with these. In his experience many things like employment, the stock and the shop are almost the same as in Britain.

Mr D has been in Greece for just four years, but he thinks that it’s a lovely country and it is a great place to live and work, citing its perfect weather and its natural beauty (islands, mountains, etc). He states that it is very common for foreigners who visit Greece for vacations, to do business in Greece and stay for the rest of their lives. For instance in many Greek islands you may find shops, dealing with tourism, run by English people.

He would suggest for an immigrant who has capital and wishes to start up a business in Greece that the first thing to do it is to get an accountant and deal with the bureaucracy, and after that to learn the local culture. Otherwise he would advise someone to use a consulting service provided by a specialist or cooperate with someone local who knows the market. Moreover, it’s also advisable to conduct market research into the business sector you are interested in to develop awareness of the best approaches. He believes that if someone has the talent, works hard and has the patience to work on the venture they can succeed.

Mr D states that he wouldn’t change anything in his life. When he came to Greece things were easier but he is willing to work much harder now for his company. He states that the financial crisis has consequences in his job as everywhere else and things now are much more difficult than last year, but he is still optimistic about his company’s future. 

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