Services attracting young Greek entrepreneurs

Two out of three new businesses launched in the past three years are service-based and most were opened by young entrepreneurs with start-up capital that came from their own savings, according to a conference organized by the British Graduates Society in Athens recently.

Research presented at the event suggests that the future of Greek enterprise may well rest in the hands of young people who have saved enough money to start a business of their own that is innovative and outward-looking.

A study presented at the event found that 32.6 percent of new entrepreneurs had start-up capital of under 10 thousand euros, 28.8 percent had from 10-30 thousand euros, 10.6 percent had 30-50 thousand euros, 5.3 percent had 50-70 thousand euros, 6.1 percent had 70-100 thousand euros and a percentage of 16.7 had over 100 thousand euros.

Half of the entrepreneurs surveyed began their businesses with their own money, 19.7 percent had help from family and friends, and just 7.6 percent were able to procure backing from a bank. Other sources of funding accounted for 12 percent of the sample, with state funding supporting 4.5 percent of that tranche and venture capital representing 2.3 percent.

The main reason why the entrepreneurs surveyed decided to start up a business in the middle of the economic crisis was, in the case of 40 percent, that they wanted to be their own employers, while 35 percent said that it was because they thought their idea could be successful. Interestingly, looking for a way out of unemployment or seeking an additional source of income were the least popular reasons why entrepreneurs took the leap in the past three years, with just 5 percent of the sample saying that this was why they opened a business.

The survey also found that the majority of young business owners have a good deal of know-how in their field and are looking to expand their horizons. Exports are also significant, as 58 percent of new businesses are working both inside and beyond Greece?s borders, 26 percent are directed exclusively at the domestic market and 16 percent are purely into exports.

According to the respondents, the biggest obstacles to starting up a new business in Greece are bureaucracy and the cost of promotion, as well as the complex taxation system.

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