How the Financial Crisis Provoked Good Behavior in Greece

How the Financial Crisis Provoked Good Behavior in Greece

You may not have noticed, but there has been very little news coming out of Greece lately, and no news about Greece is good news. It means that Greece is no longer the focal point of international drama surrounding the Eurozone global financial crisis.

Although unemployment is at a record 28 percent with a deepening recession now in its sixth year, the March 25th edition of the New York Times reports that for many young people, the Greek economic crisis may be a blessing in disguise. Natalie Kontou, 32, always wanted to work in tourism, and after she lost her job at a magazine, she started Athens Insiders with three friends. Together, they offer custom tour packages. Tourism is on the rise in Greece, and after $6,900 in startup costs, Natalie and her partners are positioned to ride the wave.

Many young people in Greece appear to be discovering their own agency, meaning their personal capacity to act and exert power. Waiting for the government to put the country back on its feet does not seem to be working, but in 2013, 41,000 new companies were formed by entrepreneurs. Similar to new initiatives in France and Spain, the Greek government has made it easier to start a business by reducing the bureaucracy and paperwork previously required.

“I know it is a gamble, but we are going to stick at it,” says Ms. Kontou as her company plans tours in five different languages. She adds, “If we young Greeks don’t try and create something new, who will?”

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