Opening a cafe and bakery in Athens proved to be a difficult process for Iphigenia Zacho due to bureaucratic obstacles. She encountered issues such as upgrading power lines, dealing with the Ministry of Culture for business licenses and applying for tax refunds. It took her seven months to start her business, and her start-up costs increased to $7,000. Despite Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ promise to boost entrepreneurship, Greece’s bureaucratic and highly politicized state still poses challenges for small businesses.
Greece’s economy suffered a sharp decline due to partisan action by various political parties, losing more than a quarter of its GDP and bankrupting 250,000 small businesses. Mitsotakis’ administration has been focused on good fiscal management, resulting in reduced taxes and social security costs. Greece’s growth rate last year was above the EU average, but concerns remain about the economy’s reliance on real estate rather than productive new economies leading to sustainable jobs.
Businesses such as Sunlight and Gastrade are investing in Greece, but the majority of jobs in the country come from small businesses and the self-employed. Energy inflation has eroded tax benefits offered by the government for mergers and farm cooperatives, making agriculture a high-risk business. Nikos Grigoriadis, head of the Alexandropolis agricultural cooperative, had to close the cooperative’s dairy farm due to tripled energy costs in three years.