The best news this week was the announcement that a Greek startup has been bought by a multinational giant for 360 million dollars. Even the prime minister congratulated the Greek company on being the largest Greek-founded startup company acquisition to date, underscoring that the agreement offers proof that the country’s startup ecosystem is blossoming and going from strength to strength.
In this case, as in others like it, the secret of success lies in displaying the right reflexes at the right time, starting with spotting a gap in the market and then developing an idea fast and methodically. InstaShop managed to successfully develop the on-demand groceries model in multiple markets and cities, starting in Dubai five years ago. During the lockdown in particular, the Greek firm allowed its users to make orders from supermarkets and local stores and to take delivery of the products they purchased at their own convenience.
With the coronavirus pandemic taking such a heavy toll on the mainstay of many world economies – tourism – including that of Greece, the conversation about how we need to redefine and redraw the country’s production model is only getting more imperative.
Numerous articles, studies and reports by economists, special advisers and businesspeople indicate that the timing right now is crucial, because apart from a serious recession that the pandemic is seen causing, it is also posing an opportunity to make important strides of progress. Officials in Europe and Athens stress that the significant resources being made available to member-states from the European Union’s Recovery Fund, in combination with structural reforms, can help us create a new productive paradigm.
Startup entrepreneurship, which is associated with innovation and technology, is an intrinsic part of the paradigm known as the knowledge economy. It points to an economic activity that can be developed like tourism, as it requires different political tools, foremost among which is a decision to bolster and tap into the potential of young scientists. Greece’s scientific community is constantly proving that it is not only eminently accomplished and capable, but also that it is extremely skilled, extroverted and cooperation-minded. So, this awful and inauspicious time for the world may be the perfect moment, the perfect opportunity for Greece to reverse the brain drain and put that energy into changing the country’s production model – and startups have all the elements needed to bring us good news every once in a while.