BUSINESS

Greece drops two places in startup chart

DESPINA KONTI

TAGS: Economy

The Greek startup ecosystem has entered a period of maturity, along with the organizations that contribute to the support of new entrepreneurs. However, the domestic startup ecosystem continues to rank below those of other Southern European countries such as Portugal, Spain and Italy, according to the third StartupBlink Global Ecosystem Report.

Still, Greece remains above countries such as Romania and Turkey, whose performance is perceived as lagging last year’s, according to the 2020 version of the report that maps out the startup ecosystems of 1,000 cities in 100 countries.

This latest report has taken into account the changes brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, which contributed in the assessment of the strength of the global ecosystem. Notably, in countries that were hit particularly hard by the virus, such as Italy, Switzerland and Ireland, young entrepreneurs scrambled to find new technological solutions to tackle the obstacles raised by Covid-19.

Greece ranks 44th among the 100 countries, slipping two places compared to last year’s report. However, this does not mean the local ecosystem is in decline – it is just that other countries, such as Brazil, which climbed 17 spots, and Norway, which jumped from 46th to 33rd place, have developed faster.

According to the report, Greece is again facing a crisis, this time due to the pandemic, which is expected to hit tourism revenues. It added that new entrepreneurship offers an opportunity to modernize the economy and could contribute toward the country’s emancipation from sectors such as tourism that are vulnerable to external shocks. The decision by Tesla to start conducting research activity in Greece shows the potential of the local startup environment.

StartupBlink chief executive officer Eli David explained to Kathimerini that one of the problems Greece is facing is that there are several talented Greek company founders who realize they have to move to other countries due to problems such as bureaucracy. The report also considers the country’s high social security contributions to be an obstacle.

David notes as positive the inclusion of Rhodes among the cities considered as innovation hubs, alongside Athens, Thessaloniki and Ioannina, but surprisingly Athens slipped six places from last year to 107th among the world’s best innovation centers.

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