Greeks are reluctant entrepreneurs

Greeks fear entrepreneurship and its risks and the majority of those who become entrepreneurs do so because they are forced to and not because they exploit opportunities, a study has found. The study is conducted annually by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), an organization affiliated with the Confederation of Greek Industries (SEV), as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) study. The results of the 2004 study were presented yesterday by IOBE and the Entrepreneurship Club in a conference on «Entrepreneurship in Greece.» The 2004 study confirms that fear of failure remains the major factor inhibiting entrepreneurship in Greece. Other points of concern are the small number of ambitious entrepreneurs, the low percentage of outward-looking businesses, the lack of entrepreneurial skills among the management of existing enterprises and the small number of jobs created through entrepreneurial activity. On the positive side, the survey conductors saw an expansion of entrepreneurial activity into a greater number of sectors, including consultancy services to enterprises as well as the increasing use of new technology and the more positive attitude of younger people toward entrepreneurship. However, overall entrepreneurial activity declined in 2004 because fewer new enterprises were founded. On the positive side, the number of entrepreneurs looking for new opportunities has increased. Experts who attended the conference agreed that start-up costs for new companies in Greece are too high and that financing is not easily available. Another study for the European Union’s Eurobarometer opinion poll showed that most Greeks see globalization as the reason businesses are moving their production bases to countries with lower labor costs. Forty-nine percent of respondents to that poll, conducted a few days ago, agreed with that assessment, up from 40 percent in 2004. Only 18 percent said that globalization results in more foreign investment in Greece, down from 22 percent in 2004.

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