The Challenge of Getting Back to Our Roots

Article originally published Business Partners/ Hellenic- American Chamber of Commerce, Entrepreneurship: Be the Change


Some people want it to happen
Some wish it would happen
Others make it happen.

This quote by Michael Jordan is written on the wooden picture frame in my office. It is a present from one of our co-founders, more experienced than me, making me realize that there are people who seem to do larger and more glamorous things, much faster than I do. However, what matters is groundwork in order to stand on solid foundations.

This is one point that Greece seemed to have forgotten through the years, but the recent socioeconomic circumstances are a strong reminder of what Greece stands for: not only democracy, but social and cultural human capital. Philoxenia (hospitality), synagonismos (competition), meraki (love for what we do), and critical thinking describe the core of our society, community, family, the place where ideas and actions flourish. Thinking big while taking small steps towards great actions.

Leaving the country might be the easy way out, but surely it does not change the current situation in the slightest. Waiting for the country to change without becoming actively involved might not be effective, and moving small steps toward its change seems like a challenge. But what does change require? Let’s face it, it is about time to work with what we have and build on it, apply new techniques and richer know-how. Rather than aiming to be the Silicon Valley or Apple of the Mediterranean, why not aim for Greece to be the Mediterranean star of Europe?

The entrepreneurial ecosystem, or what we consider as such, is not only facing the recent socioeconomic circumstances, but is also going through some childhood, sometimes childish, diseases, sometimes getting lost or becoming foolish, sometimes pushing forward like a stubborn teenager and then being afraid to take a step like a child, scared of possible responsibilities.

Greece is not only facing a financial crisis but also social instability, which some years ago was not part of the business world, or at least did not appear to belong there.

Micro-environments of stability that provide solutions to social issues and overcome social, cultural, financial, technological barriers are needed more than ever before. The business community needs to be more like a family, more interconnected, in order to stand united against the cold wind and share the warm sun, at the same time becoming more productive, or even creative, if you prefer the term. It is time for us to remember and return to our roots, our values.

Young entrepreneurs, less experienced professionally, often think that an idea makes a business opportunity. The truth is that its implementation and who is executing it makes the business a reality. Most ideas have existed long before you thought of it and have even been implemented before, but within a different framework, at a different point in time. The entrepreneurial path has not changed that much through time. It still takes courage, it still requires the ability to learn and recognize, it still needs people and it’s still not just about making money—but about creating value, equally for shareholders and society, preferably through the materialization of dreams.


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