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Introduction in Greece

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Introduction in Greece

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Why Start A Business In Greece?

If one thing has happened since the end of ancient Greece, it's refinement. Greece was the womb where philosophy, mathematics, literature, politics, democracy, comedy, sport and astronomy gestated. Thoughts were born and ideology was nurtured. The oldest Western celebrities can call it home: Aristotle, Socrates, Seneca, Sophocles, Homer, Pythagoras, Plato. The ancient A-listers are aplenty, a Grecian urn brimming with ingenuity and inception. Even the word economy is etymologically Greek, and can be loosely translated as housekeeping, which, in a facetious way, still makes obvious sense. It seems the only thing that can't be attributed to a Greek is your BlackBerry (a Canadian, if you're wondering.)

Greece has a reasonably attractive climate for foreign investment. Its economy isn't exactly the belle of the EU ball, but we can't all be Germany. The EU is the country's largest trading partner, but it is also developing links with East European and Black Sea countries. Greece still has a comparatively large public sector, but the government is following privatisation policies, with major structural reforms likely in the not-so-distant future. There are openings and opportunities in most sectors and UK products, in particular, have an outstanding reputation.

Areas of lucrative practice and development are ports, healthcare, leisure, construction, security, food and drink, environment, and energy, to name but a few. On the less attractive hand, though, corporate incentives are few and far between. Greece isn't exactly a hotspot for exemptions and subsidies, so if you're looking for a tax break or reductions, this isn't your instinctive haven.

Tourism remains the country's big draw, though. It is the economic headliner. People go to smell the Aegean, see the topography, feel the terrain and live the mythology. Greece is all very historically and aesthetically attractive, flexing its natural physique and brown knotted muscles like an Athenian hero.

So if you think you've got what it takes to join Greece on its Olympian quest towards a prosperous economic future, then read on to find what it takes to become a part of Grecian history.

What is the population?

The population of Greece is 11.47 million

Economic Overview

Greece is a developed country with a high standard of living. It's fast growing economy has led to a business confidence in Greece over the last decade which, in turn, has led to considerable foreign investment. The Government is keen to reform the economy, and privatisation and public-private partnerships in Greece are high on the agenda.

The country's principal activities include tourism and shipping industries, telecommunications, manufacturing and construction, and banking and finance. The largest and fastest growing sector of the Greek economy is the service industry by 74.4%, followed by industry and agriculture.

Greece's main exports are aluminium, cement, chemicals, clothing, fruit, vegetables, steel, iron, metal ores, pharmaceuticals, petroleum products, textiles and tobacco. Their main export partners are Germany, Italy, UK, Bulgaria, U.S. Greece's main imports are mineral fuels and oils, vehicles, electric and mechanical equipment, consumer goods, and pharmaceuticals. Their main import partners are Germany, Italy, France, Netherland, Russia, US and the UK.

Greece is a member of the EU, NATO, OECD, WEU and ESA.

Greece is the regional business hub for many of the world's largest companies.

Greece's major industries are agriculture, aluminium smelting, cement, chemicals, fertilizers, food processing, steel, textiles and tobacco products.

What are the essentials to know?

Labourforce

Business hours: Business hours are usually 0900-1700 Monday-Friday.

Etiquette

It is customary to use a person's surname rather than their first name until a longer acquaintance has been established

The handshake is the business form of greeting, you should shake hands at the start and at the end of the meeting

Business cards are usually given at every meeting regarding business and should be translated

Financial Assistance

There are state and private Greek banks, and a number of foreign banks that offer a range of services for corporate businesses in Greece. These services include venture capital and finance and advice for new companies. The Greek government is also currently in the process of preparing new developmental legislation which will provide investment incentives to promote regional development, energy saving and environmental protection, as well as aiming to increase employment and competitiveness. The incentives will include investment grants, interest rate subsidies, tax allowances and special incentives for large tourist projects and significant mining industry.

Useful Contacts

The following contact will provide you with very helpful information about setting up a business in Greece:

British Embassy, Athens
1 Ploutarchou Street
Athens 106 75
Tel: +30 210 727 2600
Fax: +30 210 727 2734
Email: trade.athens@fco.gov.uk

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