A vital origin of European civilisation, the historical and cultural heritage of Greece resonates throughout the West to this day. It created concepts such as democracy, political science and Western philosophy, to name a few. Made up of the mainland and over 1,400 smaller islands, Greece is well situated in the southern Balkan Peninsula. Doing business in this central location offers a gateway to Asia, Africa and Europe. However, the devastating effects of the global financial crisis in the late 2000s left the Greek economy in turmoil. With an ongoing sovereign debt crisis, doing business in Greece is certainly a challenge.
Unsurprisingly, Greece’s weak economic position has impacted its ‘Ease of Doing Business’ rankings, which continue to decline each year. Furthermore, an inconsistent and non-business-friendly taxation system and fruitless attempts at reform by an ineffective bureaucracy could further impede those doing business in Greece. Corruption persists at many levels: therefore, an understanding of these practices is also important.
Despite these problems, there are potential advantages of doing business in Greece, including a highly educated and skilled workforce and low labour costs, combined with strong entrepreneurial tradition. The largest industries are energy, food processing, agriculture, retail and tourism, with over 20 million tourists each year. With recovery on the horizon, now could be the time to invest in business here.
Greece’s culture shapes its business practice, with strong links to family and personal ties, meaning it can be time-consuming to establish successful relationships. Emphasis on the traditions of democracy and honour render trust and respect the key characteristics of business encounters, while experience and professionalism will gain foreign investors the confidence of local business people.
While this may not be an obvious location for business ventures, local knowledge can ensure success. With expert advice in navigating this tricky terrain, World Business Culture can reduce the risks of doing business in Greece.