OK, I am not an economist, but I am Greek (as well as Cypriot and British). And even though being Greek still doesn't make me an economist, it makes me the receiver of comments such as "Oh, so is that why you are in the UK?", and "So, are things really bad then?". And just like you guessed, no, I don't like hearing any of the above, particularly from those who know nothing about me or the economy.
If I sound a little bitter, it's because I am. This post, however, is not about me or the unfortunate comments made by strangers who lack interpersonal skills and are awkward during social occasions. It's about the state of Greek affairs and a few things you didn't know that might surprise you.
Like for instance, did you know Greece’s economy is growing faster than that of the UK, Belgium, Monaco, Italy and the Euro area altogether? That IMF believes growth will be 2.2 per cent in 2020 and 1.6 per cent in 2021? Or that Standard & Poor's credit rating for Greece stands at B+ with positive outlook?
Of course, none of that means that all is well now with the Greek economy. It does mean, however, that the country is recovering. The challenges ahead remain huge, but slow, steady recovery is on the forecast.
And even though the state still presents obstacles to the daily life of entrepreneurs, Greece-based companies saw a financial backing increase from 10 million in 2010 to 155 million in 2018.
The areas attracting the most interest are life sciences (health tech, biotechnology, medical devices), lifestyle, social entertainment, tourism and hospitality.
The unemployment rate dropped to an 8-year low of 17.2%. It is still a high number and remains the highest in eurozone. That, however, means that the pool of human resources is there and it’s available.
Take, for instance, Tesla who’s opening a research and development centre in Athens and aims to transform energy on Greek islands. They know there's room for development and they know where to find unemployed engineers. Simple.
With the new government committed to restructuring and reforms across the board, modernisations and improvements remain the target. Removing bureaucratical hurdles by easing business processes and establishing a consistent taxation system, will generate an upward spiral in investment.
So, the growth is there, the resources are there, and the outlook is positive. The risk remains, however, the returns may be worth it!
Now, which sector should you be investing in? That is a different post for another day.
Vasiliki is a translator, interpreter, transcreator, blogger, consultant and founder of Greek to Me Translations, a company that helps businesses communicate their brand and products to their customers, grow their market reach, and form new partnerships. She works with English and Greek and specialises in legal, marketing, and psychometrics. She is a member of CIoL, ITI and PEM and she is registered with the Greek Embassy as a certified translator and interpreter. Her mission is to help you achieve your goals through the power of words. You can follow her on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.