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Thought Leaders

Point/ Counterpoint The World of Work

Greek Employee Expectations ▼

Business Matters

The Company@gr ▼

Social Dialogue

Labor Markets and Financial Crises:A Short Primer ▼


Starting a Business— The Business Plan ▼

Plus Biz Buzz Names & Faces Trends & Trade Makers


Direct Sales— A Future in Greece? George Apostolopoulos

General Manager, Amway Hellas



Volume XII | Number 64






4 THE BOARD 6 In Profile

Companies on the Move

8 Chamber News 1 1 Start-Up


Starting a Business—The Business Plan by George P. Lelakis

George Apostolopoulos, General Manager of Amway Hellas, shares a unique business model that now, more than ever, is ideal for the circumstances in today’s market


The World of Work

Randstad Workmonitor: Greek Employee Expectations for 2013

1 4 Names & Faces in the News 1 6 New Greece Clinical Research: A Hidden Treasure

1 7 One World

Europe’s First Pan-European CSR Award Scheme Launched!



Currents in Today’s Business Environment

George P. Lelakis, Senior Manager, Consulting at Accenture S.A. and a member of the Chamber’s Innovation Education - Entrepreneurship Committee, launches a new column on starting a business

2 0 Connect America Greece@USA


Discover America—Louisiana

2 2 Collaboration@Work Fostering a Startup Community by Stavros Messinis

2 3 The Business EcoSystem

Unleashing Europe’s Entrepreneurial Potential


2 4 The Interview

Anastasia Sideri, Public Affairs and Communications Director at Coca-Cola Southeast Europe, and a member of the Chamber’s WIB Committee, takes part in Point/Counterpoint, discussing women on boards

George Apostolopoulos, General Manager of Amway Hellas

2 7 North Greece

Fostering Agricultural Excellence

2 8 Thought Leaders Point/Counterpoint

3 6 Business Matters The Company@gr

by Marcel E. Cremer

3 8 Social Dialogue

Labor Markets and Financial Crises: A Short Primer

B usiness Pa rt ne rs is the bi month ly maga zi ne o f t he Am e r ic a n - Helle nic Cham be r of Comm erce DIRECTOR Elias Spirtounias PUBLISHER & EDITOR Raymond Matera Please Recycle


OWNER American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce Politia Business Center 109-111 Messoghion Avenue 115 26 Athens Tel: +30 210 699.3559 Fax: +30 210 698.5686-7 E-mail: BRANCH OFFICE 47 Vassileos Irakleiou Street 546 23 Thessaloniki Tel: +30 2310 286.453, 239.337 Fax: +30 2310 225.162 E-mail:

by Duncan Campbell & Katerina Tsotroudi

4 0 Leadership Tales From Ancient Greece A Marathon For Your Life by Artemios Miropoulos

4 2 Marketplace Greece GOBANKNOTELESS

by George Oikonomidis

4 4 Trends & TrAdE Makers 4 6 Business2Business A B2B Toolbox

4 8 Viewpoint Technodrive



The year 2013 is bound to usher in major changes in Greece, many of which will affect our approach to understanding our society, to finding solutions to the many challenging issues we face and, at a deeper level, to how we interact with each other within the social unit called Greece. At the heart of our collective endeavor, beyond the crisis that we label economic, is the need to reexamine the very principles and values that guide us in our everyday life. We need to regain confidence, a sense of direction, and a sense of national unity that, if not restored, may lead to dire and alarming consequences. Step one must necessarily focus on rigorous, honest, and critical self-examination. This is as applicable to everyday citizens as it is to political actors, entrepreneurs, educators, and artists. It requires that we share a definition of patriotism and act in a way that binds us to responsibility vis-à-vis our common heritage, our shared present, and our children’s future. Our Chamber, for its part, is striving to embrace principles—transparency, meritocracy, egalitarianism, accountability, responsibility—that will set a positive example and generate common benefits. The Chamber is also prioritizing stronger ties to the United States through a series of initiatives—forums, delegations, seminars, and cultural events—that lead to a more outward looking economy and increased tourism to Greece by American travelers. In addition, our portfolio of established, successful conferences and events, including our forums and conferences on Taxation, CSR, Corporate Governance, Defense, Healthcare, WIB, Intellectual Property, Leadership, Insurance and Labor, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Education, and the Greek Economy, will continue to impact the business and social environment of our country. Business Partners, our Chamber magazine, remains a leading voice of our membership and the country’s business community and our annual Directory serves as a first-look reference for doing business in Greece and finding new business partners. Throughout the year, we shall introduce new initiatives that respond to current needs, trends, and developments. To our Chamber members, I invite you all to join our growing roster of activities, to add your voice to our advocacy positions, and to participate in our dynamic events. To our friends who are not yet members, we invite you to join, to become part of the family called the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, and to help all of us shape a new, successful, and unified Greece. To everyone, best wishes for the New Year. Elias Spirtounias Executive Director

The American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce A Dynamic, Proactive Chamber The American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce was established in 1932 and is one of the largest, most active, and dynamic American Chambers in Europe. Virtually all American companies that do business in Greece and Greek companies that engage in trade with the United States are members of the Chamber. The Chamber's membership is comprised of more than 1,000 proactive companies that seek to expand business horizons, create new business partnerships, and take advantage of trade and investment opportunities in today's global economy. The American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce is an active mem-


ber of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C. and the European Council of American Chambers of Commerce (ECACC).

Mission Statement The American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce strives for continuous improvement of American-Hellenic commercial and financial relations, through increased membership and through the organization of top-quality events, exhibitions, fora, seminars, and congresses on both sides of the Atlantic.

American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee


Gramatidis Yanos President | BAHAS, GRAMATIDIS & PARTNERS

Auditors Committee

Kyriacou Marios T. Vice President | KPMG CERTIFIED AUDITORS A.E. Bakatselos Nikolaos Vice President | PYRAMIS METALLOURGIA A.E. Karayannis Angelos Secretary General | KARAYANNIS K. GROUP OF COMPANIES Panayotopoulos Litsa Treasurer | BOSTON HAMILTON LTD. Anastassopoulos Simos Counselor | PETSIAVAS N. S.A. Bacacos George Counselor | BACACOS P. CHEMICAL & PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS CO. S.A. Charalambous Odysseas Counselor | CISCO SYSTEMS HELLAS S.A. Papadopoulos Thanos Counselor | CHEVELLAS S.A. Spirtounias Elias Executive Director

Board of Directors Ahmed Pervaiz | BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB A.E. Alexopoulos George | HELLENIC PETROLEUM S.A. Antoniades Vassilis | THE BOSTON CONSULTING GROUP Antonopoulos Constantinos | INTRALOT S.A. - INTEGRATED LOTTERY SYSTEMS AND SERVICES Canellopoulos Paul | AIG Greece S.A.

Members: Felonis Athanassios, Papakosmas Dimitrios, Sabatakakis Kyriacos | Coordinator: Andriana Chadjianagnostou

Corporate Governance Committee

Chair: Papacostopoulos Constantinos | Members: Charalambous Yiangos, Dimou Ioannis, Petalas Apostolis, Siamishis Andreas, Hadjisotiriou Paula, Theodoulidou Maria | Coordinator: Daphne Constantinidou

Corporate Social Responsibility Committee

Chair: Stavridis Stelios | Members: Alexiou Maria, Constantelis George, Lolas Vassilis, Vrachatis Ioannis | Coordinator: Angela Boyatzis

Greek Economy Conference Committee

Chair: Kyriacou Marios | Members: Anastassopoulos Simos, Antoniades Vassilis, Bacacos George | Coordinator: Angeliki Dikeoulia

Innovation, Education & Entrepreneurship Committee

Chair: Panayotopoulos Litsa | Members: Darda Dimitra, Farmaki Teresa, Lelakis George, Makios Vassilios, Makridakis Spyros, Papadakis Georgios, Patakiouti Maria, Pateraki Evangelia, Persidis Andreas, Pilitsis Loukas, Printzos Michael, Raptopoulos Manos, Rizopoulos Yannis, Tsangos Christos, Tsiboukis Antonis, Tsigos Dimitris, Tsoukalis Alexandros | Coordinator: Katerina Tzagaroulaki

Insurance, Social Security & Labour Matters Committee

Chair: Kremalis Konstantinos | Members: Andriopoulos Stavros, Canellopoulos Paul, Christidou Agni, Kollas John, Koussia Venetia, Lisseos Panayotis, Lysimachou Triantafyllos, Mihos Stathis, Oikonomopoulou Antouaneta, Panagiotou Andreas, Pelidis Manos, Sarantopoulos Dimitris, Tzotzos Apostolos, Vlassopoulos George | Coordinator: Voula Tseritzoglou

IPR Committee

Chair: Katerina Galanopoulou | Members: John Kyriakides, Antonis Makris, Dora Zachou, Xenophon Paparrigopoulos | Coordinator: Daphne Constantinidou

Leadership Committee

Costopoulos Alexandros | FORESIGHT Strategy & Communications

Chair: Miropoulos Artemis | Members: John Kalligeros, Pavlos Katsivelis, Antonis Kerastaris, Kyriakos Kofinas, Michael Mavropoulos, Spyros Olympios, Aristotelis Panteliadis, Vassilis Rabbat, Emmanuel Raptopoulos, Michalis Roussos, Alexandros Saracakis | Coordinator: Ritana Xidou


Medical Devices & Diagnostics Committee

Costas Stavros | Economist

Filiotis Dionysios | PHARMASERVE-LILLY SACI Frangou Angeliki | NAVIOS MARITIME HOLDINGS INC. Kartsanis Georgia | CEO CLUBS GREECE Kokorotsikos Paris | EUROCONSULTANTS S.A. Kosmatos Makis | JOHNSON & JOHNSON HELLAS S.A.

Chair: Liakopoulos Theodore | Members: Anagnostopoulos Stefanos, Andria Magdalini, Baracos Christos, Boulougouris George, Deligiannis Konstantinos, Derkos Kalogridis, Kartalis Christos, Krinos Gregory, Lindholm Mangnus, Maroutsis George, Nikas Dimitris, Papazoglou Konstantinos, Strouzos Anastasios | Coordinator: Voula Tseritzoglou

Northern Greece Committee

Koutsoureli Eftychia | QUEST HOLDINGS S.A.

Chair: Bakatselos Nikolas | Members: Accas Ioannis, Alexopoulos Charis, Gigilinis Alexandros, Kafatos Vassilis, Katsaros George, Kokorotsikos Paris, Kouides Antonis, Kouimtzis Thanasis, Koukountzos Konstantinos, Mavroudis Theodoros, Pylarinos Othon, Symeonides Dimitris | Coordinator: Nikos Tsavdaroglou


Pharmaceutical Committee

Kouides Antonis | B.E.R.M.A. A.E.

LAW FIRM Mamidaki Eleftheria | MAMIDOIL JETOIL PETROLEUM COMPANY S.A. Manos Alexandros | PIRAEUS BANK S.A. Meintassis Harry | HAY GROUP S.A. Nordkamp Hendrikus Hermannus | PFIZER HELLAS S.A. Papalexopoulos Dimitri | TITAN CEMENT COMPANY S.A.

Chair: Pascal Apostolides | Vice Chairman: Filiotis Dionysios | Members: Frouzis Konstantinos, Gerassopoulos Marcos, Charalampidis Savas, Karokis Antonis, Greco Roberto, Kefalas Nikos, Lakatos Matyas, Nordkamp Hendrikus Hermannus (Erik), Pervaiz Ahmed, Tsoutsias Spyros | Coordinator: Voula Tseritzoglou

Public Affairs Committee

Members: Anastassopoulos Simos, Kyriacou Marios, Papadopoulos Thanos | Coordinator: Xidou Ritana

Taxation Committee

Stavridis Stelios | PISCINES IDEALES A.E.

Chair Costas Stavros | Members: Altiparmakis Christos, Ampeliotis Evangelos, Anastasiadis Harris, Antoniou Vassilis, Desipris Antonis, Doucas Spyros, Gigantes Stavros, Goulakos Panos, Govaris Vassilis, Kanellatou Athena, Kerameus George, Kyriakides Stelios, Laskaratos Panagiotis, Mavraganis George, Mitsios George, Nasiopoulou Maria, Panagiotidis George, Papadatos Eugene, Papandreou Cristina, Samothrakis George, Sarafoglou Gerasimos, Savvaidou Katerina, Sfakakis Konstantinos, Spyriouni Litsa, Stavropoulos Ioannis, Stavrides Vassilis, Theophilides George, Trakadi Maria, Tsakonas Yannis | Coordinator: Katerina Tzagaroulaki


Tourism Committee

Passaris Despina | PROCTER & GAMBLE HELLAS LTD. Plessas Dennys | LOCKHEED MARTIN (INTERNATIONAL) S.A. Priamou John | U.S. Commercial Counselor (ret.) Saracakis John D | SARACAKIS BROTHERS S.A.



Chair: Stylianopoulos Andreas | Members: Ananiadis Tim, Anglos John, Argiri Byron, Marriott Carol, Panayotopoulos Panos, Papadopoulou Catherine, Peressiadis Costas, Van de Winkel Bart | Coordinator: Angeliki Dikeoulia

Women in Business (WIB) Committee

Chair Kartsanis Georgia | Members: Adamopoulou Efi, Anagnostopoulou Popi, Athanassoulas Elena, Dimou Maria, Katsou Nelly, Kazakopoulou Betty, Labrou Marica, Milona Martha, Panagopoulou Varvara, Papakonstantinou Ioanna, Sideri Anastasia, Tarou Iphigenia, Thomas Marielle, Tzimea Deppie, Velliotou Peggy | Coordinator: Angela Boyatzis





In Profile

Companies on the Move

Business Partners profiles Chamber partner companies and Chamber members that are active in the Greek market.

Fibrex Hellas

K & N Engineers Ltd


Understanding the need of the Greek market to find new materials for waterproofing and high-performance insulation, combined with the large increase in energy costs for heating and cooling, Fibrex Hellas works with the

K & N Engineers Ltd specializes in the food industry sector since 1997, providing technologically advanced food processing systems and equipment, reliable solutions that significantly boost business’s productive processes, improves product quality and drastically reduces operating and maintenance costs of their customers. K & N Engineers Ltd supplies bakeries, confectioneries, coffee-shops, restaurants, fast foods, butchers, slaughterhouses and large industrial food processing units with specialized equipment and machinery that enables them to process meat, poultry, fish,

Regus, the world’s leading provider of workplace solutions, can ease a company’s or individual’s entry into a new country by providing the immediate needed infrastructure and support. With Regus a company or individual can:

Fibrex Hellas can respond to every requirement of thermal insulation and water-proofing large multinational group Covertech Fabricating Inc. to offer a comprehensive range of quality and modern reflective insulation products. The company’s main concern is always providing immediate information and customer service to individuals, manufacturers, civil engineers, and architects. Today, Fibrex Hellas can respond to every requirement of thermal insulation and water-proofing to reduce energy consumption in buildings. All products have certificates of quality control according to European standards and international regulations on insulation. Fibrex’s products are applied to the shells of buildings (roof, interior and exterior walls, roofs, floors) and are designed to prevent heat transfer by radiation or induction inside.  Fibrex Hellas, 32 Kifissias Ave., 15125 Maroussi Tel: 210 684.7833, Fax: 210 684.7834 Email: Website:


K & N Engineers’ policy is to provide products and services of the highest quality fruits and vegetables with the technological and competitive advantage to succeed. The company’s fundamental policy is to provide food processing products and services of the highest quality that meet customer requirements and expectations as well as current legislation. This commitment is ensured by the Quality Management System that K & N Engineers Ltd has developed and applied based on ISO 9001:2008 international standards.  K & N Engineers Ltd 35 3rd September Street, 104 32 Athens Tel: 210 520.0440, Fax: 210 522.3298 Email: Website:

Regus makes it easier to start a business in Greece

• Start work instantly with an immediate, work-ready office • Use a virtual office to test the market first • Choose a location where a presence is most needed • Meet prospective clients in a professional meeting room • Stay connected with well-priced internet access that really works • Take advantage of free networking opportunities • Ask our multilingual staff for support and local expertise • Work in a quiet business lounge with a secure and free Wi-Fi access Regus has 3 business centers in Athens and 1200 worldwide.  For more information, please visit or call +30 210 727 9000

The Athens Exchange believes in the potential of the



and is supporting it

to watch the story unfold

tel. +30 210-33 66 449, fax +30 210-33 66 101,


23rd Greek Economy Conference The Chamber successfully held its 23rd annual two-day conference, The Greek Economy: State Reform—The Cornerstone for Investment and Development, on December 3 & 4, 2012 at the Athenaeum InterContinental Hotel. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras delivered the keynote address at the gala dinner, attended by more than 900 guests. Prominent speakers included members of the government, the opposition, the U.S. Ambassador, and distinguished members of the business and academic community in Greece and abroad. Chamber President Yanos Gramatidis launched the conference, which is the flagship event of the Chamber. Antonis Samaras

Evangelos Venizelos

Sakis Papathanasiou

Alexis Tsipras

Christos Staikouras

Antonis Manitakis

George Mavraganis

George Sourlas

Kostis Hatzidakis

Olga Kefalogianni

Leandros Rakintzis

Anna Diamantopoulou


Yanos Gramatidis

Daniel Bennett Smith

Business and Mediation The American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, the Faculty of Law of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, the Athens Court of Appeals, the Athens Bar Association, the French-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, and the Chinese-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, hosted the Business and Mediation conference on Tuesday, December 18, 2012, at the French Institute of Athens. The conference, held under the auspices of former Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos, was attended by 280 senior delegates. Prominent speakers from Greece and abroad, including Andrew Charles Tsunis from New York State Unified Court System; Daniel Kail, Conseil Directions Generales; and Wei Zhang, Director of Shanghai Commercial Mediation Center, all pointed out that mediation is an alternative means to effectively solve serious problems and disputes within business. Panel with Andrew Charles Tsunis (2nd from R)

Jenny Bloomfield

Panel with Yanos Gramatidis (4th from L)

Stephanos Issaias

Socrates Lazaridis

1st Make Innovation Work Forum The Innovation, Education and Entrepreneurship Committee of the Chamber held the first MIW Forum on December 10, 2012 at the Europarliament Offices in Athens. This forum, held in the format of a workshop, was one of the initiatives of the Committee based on its efforts to redefine the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Greece. Committee Chair Litsa Panayotopoulos chaired the event.



WIB Forum

Thanksgiving Dinner

The Women in Business (WIB) Committee of the Chamber held the WIB Forum 2012: Women, Business & The Future of Work, on November 26, 2012 at the Hotel Grande Bretagne. The forum, attended by 230 senior-level delegates from a variety of sectors, focused on exploring, discussing and debating the changes taking place in today’s workplace and help women prepare for “the future of work.” Theano Liakopoulou, Partner of McKinsey & Company, presented global survey findings on trends and opportunities of women in the corporate world. Titos Simitzis, Managing Director of Alternative Research Solutions, presented the key trends and changes in the workplace. The forum concluded with a panel discussion on the new work trends with speakers: Marica Labrou, CEO, SingularLogic; Katerina Triviza, Managing Director, Eurobank Business Services, Konstantina Kallimanis, Executive Director, Kallimanis Group; Maria Vlachou, CEO & Co-Owner, Fereikos Helix; and Helena Athoussaki, CEO, Carbon Positive. WIB Chair Georgia Kartsanis launched the Forum. Theano Liakopoulou, Partner, McKinsey & Company

The American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and the International Propeller Club of the United States, International Port of Piraeus, hosted Thanksgiving Dinner on November 21, 2012, at the Hotel Grande Bretagne Ballroom. U.S. Ambassador Daniel Bennett Smith was guest of honor at the gala dinner that was attended by 280 guests. Traditional turkey dinner was served. Yanos Gramatidis

Georgia Kartsanis, Chair, WIB Committee

ambassador Smith (R) with his wife and Mr. Gramatidis

Taxation Syllabus Amcham Taxation Committee Chairman Stavros Costas and committee members participated as speakers in an afternoon Taxation Syllabus Event, held by the Institute of Economic Management (EEDE), on November 28, 2012. The event addressed the subject, New Taxation Policies for Physical Persons and Legal Entities. Aikaterini Savvaidou discussed the legal aspects of the indirect tax audit process with regards to tax compliance certificate and rules of protecting personal data. George Samothrakis analyzed the importance of selected clauses of the draft law, dealing with the reformation of the Income Tax Code, and Stavros Costas presented the new rules for keeping accounts and records for taxation purposes that replace the abolished KBS, pointing out the scope, principles, and simplifications addressed by the new law. Panel participants

Stavros Costas

Chamber Calendar February 11 Thessaloniki, The Met New Year’s Reception February Athens, 2nd MIW Forum March 20 Athens, Launching the 2nd MIW Competition March 27 Athens, 9th Athens Tax Forum April 3-4 Athens, DE-WO-Exposec Conference



Starting a Business

The Business Plan George P. Lelakis provides a roadmap to starting a business in this new Business Partners series for would-be entrepreneurs.

by George P. Lelakis Senior Manager, Consulting, Accenture S.A., Member of the Innovation - Education Entrepreneurship Committee of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce

Dear Innovator, I am honored to present to you ideas on how to start a business. My colleagues, business associates and I are all committed to help you through every stage. One of the very basic things that you need to have at this early stage is “The Business Plan.” A Business Plan (B.P.) is a document that describes what the objectives of a new business are, how these objectives are going to be achieved, what resources are going to be required, and what the benefits will be. I can’t stress enough the importance of creating a B.P. It’s the immediate step after coming up with an idea. That is, if you want to give yourself serious chances to make a business out of it. Consider that your idea is the vision and your (to-be) business is the reality. The B.P. is the roadmap that will take you from vision to reality. I know that you expect me—being a “comme il faut” consultant—to describe thoroughly the components of a good B.P., give you detailed information on how to write it, provide examples … always with lots of bullets. I may surprise you, but taking a more innovative approach myself, I will skip the obvious. If you want information on what to write in a B.P., there are thousands of useful resources on the Internet. Not all of them say exactly the same things, but the basic components – Business Overview, Market Landscape & Strategy, Operational Plan, Execution Plan, Risk Mitigation Plan, Ownership & Management Team, Financial Plan and, of course, the Executive Summary – are usually the same.

yourself that you can really create a business based on your innovation. You will need it to realize your idea and to start your business. You will be continuously updating it with actual information and using it to move further. Take it seriously. Don’t consider it as a chore that the sooner you get over with, the better. It may take a second to produce a worldchanging idea, but it will take weeks to create a good B.P. You will spend a lot of time in researching, re-thinking ideas, re-establishing assumptions and scenarios. The value is in the process as much as in the result. I listed previously some basic components of a B.P. and I know that I may have scared you. You don’t need to do it alone. You can—and you should—involve other people who can help in B.P. development. After all, you are an innovator and nobody expects you to be a marketeer, a financial analyst, a lawyer and a project manager as well. At the end of the writing you will absolutely need to have others (whom you trust) study your B.P., provide their opinion and challenge your thoughts. If you don’t do this you will only be halfway through. I hope this advice was useful and will be looking forward to discussing with you other important matters around starting your business. Your consultant,

For now though, I will be content if I succeed in persuading you about the necessity of a B.P. and in providing some useful tips on its development. When you seek funding it is certain that you will be asked to present your B.P. Still, this document is far more valuable for you than for anybody else. You will use it to validate your own idea, to prove to



The World of Work

Randstad Workmonitor

Greek Employee Expectations for 2013


he Randstad Workmonitor survey for 4th Quarter 2012, explored employee expectations for 2013, quarterly mobility, confidence and job satisfaction. In Greece, according to the latest findings of the Randstad Workmonitor the economic situation is clearly dramatic. More or less all employees (98%) in Greece indicate that the situation is bad compared to the global average of 61%. Employees in other countries where they believe that their situation is also bad are Spain (96%), Hungary and Italy (both at 94%). Generally European countries outside the Euro-zone are performing considerably better and agree to the statement that the economic situation in their country is ‘good’, particularly in Norway (94%), Switzerland (87%) and Sweden (74%). Globally 47% of employees expect the situation in their country to improve in 2013. Countries with this expectation include Hong Kong (88%), India (83%) and Brazil (76%). However countries that are not performing well at the moment expect less improvement. In Greece, only 12% of employees expect the situation to improve. Hungary and Czech Republic have also scored low with 13% and 14%, respectively. Despite the economic state of a country, 71.5% of respondents globally say their employer is performing well financially. In Greece, 44% of employees surveyed believe their employer is performing well and only 32% expect that the financial performance of their employer will improve in 2013 compared to 2012. Similar to the Greek

employees, Luxembourg employees (38%) and Japanese employees (39%) are far more reserved in their expectations on employer performance next year.

Reward expectations In Greece, only 8% received a pay rise in 2012. Globally, 55% of employees received a pay rise in 2012, however 64% expect a pay rise in 2013. In Greece, only 14% expect a pay rise next year whereas in Hong Kong (95%), Argentina (94.5%), Malaysia (94%) and India (93%) expect a pay rise. Based on their achievements in 2012, 76% globally believe they deserve a financial reward or one-off bonus. Yet only 53% globally expect to actually receive such a reward. In Greece, the gap is especially high with 68% stating they deserve a reward and only 15% expecting to receive it.

Workload & work-life balance 75% of Greek employees stated that they have seen an increase in workload in the last year which is in line with the globally figure of 73%. Countries like India (87%), Hong Kong and Malaysia (both 83%) rank at the high end. 80% of respondents globally would like to improve their work-life balance in 2013. In Greece, 83% agree with improving their work-life balance in 2013.

Christmas Gifts Receiving a Christmas gift or end-of-year gift is common practice in only half the countries (48%). It is mostly common practice in the Netherlands (83.3%), India (73.1%)


Randstad Hellas is a leading HR services company in Greece and each quarter, since 2010, conducts the Workmonitor survey to capture labour market trends locally.

and China (70.9%). Although in Argentina only 54% usually receive a Christmas gift, 80% of respondents expect they will receive something this year. Expectations have declined in Greece compared to 2010 from 75% to only 35% expecting a Christmas gift this year.

New Year’s Resolutions In Greece, 47% of respondents make New Year’s resolutions whereas globally the figure is 51%. The tradition is most common in Mexico, India and Argentina (between 80 – 87%) and less common in countries like Denmark, Sweden and Norway (between 14-24%). In Greece, 43% stated that in 2013 they will make specific New Year’s resolutions regarding their career which is in line with the global figure of 44%.

Mobility Index The mobility index for Greece is at 100 for Q4 2012, an increase of 2 points from Q3 2012. This result indicates that slightly more employees expect to be employed elsewhere in the coming 6 months than they did last quarter. Globally the mobility index for Q4 increased to highest levels at 108. In Greece 12% is actively looking for a new job, whilst the global figure is 11%. Of those surveyed in Greece in Q4, 16.1% stated that they changed jobs in the last six months, a decrease of 1.8% since Q3, 2012. 39% of those surveyed that stated they changed jobs in Q4, indicated that the reason for their job change was organizational circumstances such as reorganization or merger.

Confidence in finding a new job in Greece

% of employees stated that they have seen an increase in workload in the last year by country


Of those surveyed locally, 36.7% expect that they would be able to find a comparable job within the next six months which is very similar to the Q3 result of 35.7%. Over the past three years we have noticed a drop of 21% in the confidence levels of employees believing they will be able to find a comparable job from 58% in 2010, 44% in 2011 and 37% in 2012. Of those surveyed in Greece in Q4 2012, 44% of employees fear a job loss. Proportionally, both men and women have the same level of fear for the first time this quarter.







80% 71%




61% 55%








































The latest Workmonitor survey found that 52% of Greek employees are satisfied about working with their current employer, a decrease of 2% from the last quarter. Women continue to be the most satisfied (58%) as opposed to men (49%). A complete press report, including regional differences, is available at:


Job Satisfaction

Top 3 reasons for job change in 2012 per quarter

The Randstad Workmonitor The quantitative study is conducted via an online questionnaire among a population aged 18-65, working a minimum of 24 hours a week in a paid job (not self-employed). The sample size in Greece was 405 interviews, using Survey Sampling International. Research for the fourth wave in 2012 was conducted from 18 October to 6 November 2012.




2012 Q4 27%





2012 Q3




38% 32%

2012 Q2

Shaping the World of Work Randstad services in Greece range from permanent and temporary staffing, to specialized recruitment, and HR Solutions such as Outplacement and Payrolling. For more information see Good To Know You



32% 30%

2012 Q1 26%




NAMES & FACES the news  National Bank Wins Award National Bank of Greece won the best bank in Greece in Trade Finance Award for 2013 from Global Finance magazine. The evaluation criteria for the award focused on the scope and completeness of the bank’s customer service and its active participation in global- or regional-level developments. The award justified National Bank’s strategy to focus on Trade Finance and particularly exports, a significant measure in restoring the Greek economy.  Sunday Shop Openings Stores will have the option of remaining open on Sunday on a voluntary basis, according to the Ministry of Development. The ministry’s position is that the measure under consideration will not only be fully voluntary, it will also allow stores “to be closed on Monday mornings, instead of Sundays, if they wish so.” In addition, shop operators who find that operation on Sundays is unprofitable can always return to the old system, the sources said, stressing that the new legislation simply allows those who want to work more to do so, freely. Based on data and surveys from countries where the market operates in similar ways to Greece, the ministry believes the operation of stores on Sundays would result in prices being trimmed, while there will be an increase in employment openings and higher turnover.

Intralot USA

Intralot CEO Constantinos Antonopoulos

RepowerGreece—One Year RepowerGreece has celebrated is first year of operation. The RepowerGreece campaign is rooted in the conviction that redefining Greece and restoring its credibility should not rely on a superficial rebranding or changing of mottos, but rather on clear messages and facts that justify a commitment to work diligently, forge Alexandros Costopoulos solutions and move forward with a renewed result-oriented mindset. RepowerGreece was founded by Alexandros Costopoulos, a member of the BOD of the Chamber.

Greek Shipowners in Lloyd’s Top Businessmen List

 Hellas Direct Among Endeavor Organizaton’s

Best Enterprises

On December 12, 2012, Hellas Direct, the new car insurance company, joined Endeavor’s team during the Endeavor International Selection Process. Within the framework of its goal to assist and guide “businessmen with developing companies and a potential to evolve into business leaders...”, Endeavor chose Hellas Direct’s co-founders, Emilios Markou and Alexis Pantazis, among the best businessmen worldwide. This is a second distinction for the company, following Hellas Direct’s recent award as the most innovative and best new ebusiness at the E-Volution Awards 2013. Hellas Direct is Greece’s first online-only car insurance company and uses cutting edge technology to provide a quote in less than five minutes and their prices are generally lower than competitors of comparable quality.


Angeliki Frangkou

Dimitris Melissanidis

And So We Begin

Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect. —Alan Cohen

Intralot USA announced the South Carolina Education Lottery (SCEL) has approved an extension of its contract to continue to provide central gaming and statewide retail network systems, including associated gaming products and support services. The initial 7-year contract will be extended for three additional years, until 2018.

Fourteen Greek shipowners and shipping senior managers are included in Lloyd’s List with the 100 Top Businessmen in the world. Two, George Economou and John Angelicoussis, are among the five first. Angeliki Frangkou (photo), Peter Livanos, George Prokopiou, Victoras Restis, Kostantinos Kostantakopoulos, Simeon Palios, Nikos Tsakos, Theodoros Veniamis, Kostas Grammenos, Dimitris Melissanidis (photo), Evangelos Marinakis and Peter Georgiopoulos are the top Greek shipowners in the list. Ms. Frangkou is a member of the BOD of the Chamber and Mr. Melissanidis is an active Chamber member.

Again—But Better

Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. —Henry Ford

Alex Bardis Co-owner & Head of Creative Rex Bites - Tablet Specialists

Going Tablet Why do businesses need tablet publishing applications? There’s no doubt that tablets are rapidly being adopted in the workplace, and the potential for tablet publishing apps for B2B purposes is limitless. From single brochures to complete presentation solutions, new ideas and concepts can lead to surprising success. What can digital print offer, that traditional print can’t? It’s like reinventing the same game by keeping the same rules but radically improving the playing field. Instead of carrying around bulky catalogs, brochures and a laptop, sales reps can now invite the clients to actually touch and explore their products with the use of immersive multimedia, slideshows, videos, and animations. Imagine a real estate agent showing a house to potential buyers while decorating the rooms with furniture, calculating prices, interest rates, and exploring the neighbourhood schools. How can tablets promote B2B objectives? First impression is everything when it comes to sales—and tablets certainly make a great one, especially when businesses understand how to unleash innovation. Tablets are here to stay and businesses should hurry to sent them out into the field. Whether in small meetings with clients or at large conferences, sales reps can be armed with an arsenal of tools that will pay off sooner than they think.

 Kouros Awards The 2012 annual Kouros Awards for Entrepreneurship were presented during a ceremony in Athens, with the awards going to entrepreneurs who have distinguished themselves in innovation, development, the international arena, social contribution and smart business ideas, organized for the 18th consecutive year by the Hellenic Entrepreneurship Association. Supporting Greek entrepreneurship is a national need in order for the country to return to recovery orbit, Association president Constantinos Evripidis, said at the ceremony, noting: “It is the duty of the state to support entrepreneurship, and it can achieve this. Solutions exist, such as tax incentives, simplified procedures, and the formulation of a steady and smooth operational environment.” The Development and Innovation Award, presented by Deputy Development Minister Notis Mytarakis, went to Apostolos Kakkos, founder and CEO of Lambda Helix. The award for Performance in the International Economic Arena, presented by Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, went to Pyramis Metallurgy S.A. and Pyramis Deutschland Gmbh CEO Nikos Bakatselos (photo). Mr. Bakatselos is Vice President of the Chamber. The Social Contribution award, presented by parliament president Evangelos Meimarakis, went to the Hellenic Business Administration Association (EEDE). The “Stelios” Haji-Ioannou award for Young Entrepreneur of the Year, presented by Stelios Haji-Ioannou himself, went to Revekka Pitsika of the Athens-based ‘People for Business’. The Green Dreams-Green Entrepreneurship award went jointly to Eurobank EFG alternate CEO Dr. Vassilios Theoharakis, founder and chairman of the board of the nanotechnology firm Nanophos S.A. and Dr. Ioannis Arabatzis, CEO and co-founder of Nanophos.  New Chamber Members Corporate Members Praxis S.A. Tzavelopoulos G. & Co. Professional Members Batistatos, Nikos Bezantakou, Danai Foutsis, Dimitrios Kalafatas, Panagiotis Kremli, Anna

Intentions Are Nice… But

Know Thy Process

—Liz Smith

—George Bernard Shaw

Begin somewhere; you cannot build a reputation on what you intend to do.

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

Panagiotidis, George Paparoussi, Iphigenia Paraskevopoulos, Yiannis Photakides, Athanasios Proedrou, Lia Psarris, Caterina Skotidi, Jenny Tarou, Iphigenia Tryfonas, Theodoros

And So We End

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. —Maria Robinson


New Greece

The estimation that Greece can increase its annual income from clinical research five-fold is offered by Denis Filiotis, president of both Pharmaserve-Lilly and EPhForT—the EVEA1 Pharmaceutical Forum Team.

Clinical Research: A Hidden Treasure


r. Filiotis notes that investment in clinical research, carried out by Greek scientists, could reach €400M annually, compared with today’s €80M. This amount, he explains, is considered exceptionally large even for the “good days,” even more so in a time of crisis such as the one we live in now. “In this time of memoranda, it is imperative that every initiative promising growth for Greece’s economy be carried out,” he adds “and if it involves new technology, training, and promoting innovation, then we are talking about a very important investment.” Clinical research is a perfect example of such an opportunity, with benefits such as ensuring rapid access of patients to new therapies and thereby promoting greater public health. New Jobs: Clinical research helps to reduce pharmaceutical spending while reinforcing the economy with inflows of significant foreign capital and research expertise. It creates jobs, continuous training, and capitalizes on highly trained individuals. For these reasons Mr. Filiotis says that clinical research is a matter of utmost importance to the state, and will be a force of strong growth for the country. In order to accomplish this goal, the Ath-

ens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) established EPhForT in 2012. It was proposed by Mr. Filiotis, with the encouragement of the president of ACCI Mr. K. Michalos, and a unanimous decision from the ACCI board of directors. EPhForT is led by Mr. Filiotis as president, Mr. Katsos as vice president, Mr. Lambropoulos as sec-

EPhForT endeavors to promote clinical research with a vision of Greece as a point of reference for research and development retary, Mr. Bekyras as treasurer, and several distinguished individuals as members. EPhForT was founded to work towards two goals, first to promote research, and in particular clinical research, second to promote the manufacture of pharmaceuticals in Greece for the international market. Through its efforts to coordinate and mobilize the public


and private sector, and all the relevant regulatory bodies, EPhForT endeavors to promote clinical research with a vision of Greece as a point of reference for research and development, and as a central target for the execution of international clinical research programs. A Proposal: Having fully comprehended this grand opportunity, EPhForT has taken a series of actions to elevate clinical research in Greece. It has drawn up a proposal, based on proven methods, to ensure the recognition of clinical research as scientific and technological research, and to accelerate and harmonize the various processes surrounding the execution thereof. The goals of the proposal include recognition of clinical research costs by the tax authority, removing all manner of disincentives (managerial, administrative), and the creation of incentives for domestic growth and investment in research, and in particular incentives for hospitals. EPhForT has made contact with many of the relevant responsible institutions and political influencers. It has made significant inroads toward informing and sensitizing its audience. Mr Filiotis insists that this crisis can be handled as an opportunity. The health sector in particular can be a very important field of cooperation toward reform, and EPhForT will, with a sense of great responsibility, make every attempt to turn its strengths toward the elevation of clinical research in Greece, setting its sights on the resurgence of the country, with an eye towards social welfare.


Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry

One World

Does your company, whether large or small, engage in innovative, multi-stakeholder CSR partnerships and thereby make a positive impact?

Europe’s First Pan-European CSR Award Scheme Launched!


f so, the first-ever European CSR Award Scheme may be exactly the right opportunity for your collaboration to be awarded. The first ever pan-European Award Scheme to inspire CSR Excellence in multistakeholder projects is coordinated by the European Network for CSR (CSR Europe) and the British Network BITC and aims at giving higher visibility to best practices in the field of CSR in 28 countries in Europe. In Greece the award is coordinated by the Hellenic Network for CSR and is under the auspices of the Ministry of Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport & Networks and has the support of the Hellenic Parliament.

portunity to tell how your collaboration has created positive social and business change.

Focus on Partnerships

There are 2 categories for this overall European CSR Award Scheme: • Award 1: Partnerships involving small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and at least one non-business organisation • Award 2: Partnerships involving larger companies and at least one non-business organization In Greece there will also be two runners up in each category. Entries will be assessed by a panel of CSR independent practitioners from business and non-business organizations. The national winners from each category will be

This exciting and pioneering initiative focuses on successful partnerships between businesses and non-business organizations, with particular emphasis on collaborative programs that tackle sustainability through innovation. The new European CSR Award Scheme provides a unique opportunity for companies to promote their CSR partnerships both on national and European level. Whether your company is a SME partnering a single organization, or a large company working with multiple stakeholders, you have now the op-

Aims The overall aim of the Award Scheme is to: • Give higher visibility to CSR excellence and raise global awareness on the positive impact that business can have on society • Bring the best European CSR multistakeholder projects into focus • Enhance the exchange of CSR best practice across Europe • Encourage CSR collaboration between enterprises and stakeholders • Create innovative solutions to tackle sustainability issues


selected based on the positive impact their multistakeholder projects have brought to both society and business. Judges are looking for innovative and sustainable initiatives that can be replicated effectively. Submissions to the European CSR Awards are free. Deadline for submission is March the 1st 2013.

Why Apply The submission of a project will give you the opportunity to: • Gain recognition from your peers as a leader in CSR • Increase your reputation and credibility at national and European levels • Showcase your organization’s innovation and commitment to sustainability • Exchange ‘best practice’ and influence CSR development through replication • Participate at prestigious award ceremonies • Self-assess the level of maturity of your organization on CSR issues The announcement of the results and the winners’ celebration ceremony will take place on April 23, 2013.  For more information do not hesitate to contact the Hellenic Network for Corporate Social Responsibility at 2103387422 or visit



For the Executive that Has Everything (Except Time!) Perfect for those evenings when you’ve worked too late, and ideal for mornings after a big night on the town, the ‘1.6 sm of Life’ desk-bed hybrid by award-winning Greek designer Athanasia Leivaditou has an allure to most white-collar workers. This must-have piece first appears to be an attractive but otherwise ordinary desk, but it can gradually convert into a cozy bed thanks to a 2-meterlong mattress set into its base. In fact, few adjustments need to be made if you intend to snooze away in secret, for the panelling that surrounds the cushion can be left in place for privacy. If you’re fortunate enough to have your own sound-proof office, you can even turn on the small flat screen TV mounted on one wall of your  Trend Hunter catnapping cubicle.

For Sale The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) issued on Wednesday a tender for the sale of six real estate properties abroad owned by the Greek State. The final date for the submission of offers to the Fund is 19 March 2013 and the final date for the signing of the contract and payment is 11 May 2013. The buildings for sale are: • London: 2, Holland Park, W11 3TG • Nicosia: Aghios Prokopios str., Engomi • Brussels: Montoyer 25, Leopold district • Belgrade: 6 Kralja Milutina str. • Ljubljana: 17 Veselova str. • Tashkent: 3-4, Do’rmon Yo’li (ex - Zulaiho) str.

Green Building

Bitmore Tab 750— A Tablet for Less Than 100 Euros! For anyone looking for a useful and financially practical gift, the new 7” tablet by Info Quest Technologies might prove to be the perfect solution. The Bitmore Tab750, has a high-quality, Greek menu, keyboard and operating instructions. At 7”, it is the ideal size for those who want a light and reliable device for viewing emails and browsing the Internet (without, of course, sacrificing the speed and graphics to play games, watch video, and listen to music). The new Tab750 features a multi-touch 7” screen with a resolution of 800x480, 4GB storage (expandable with a Micro-SD card) and camera. It makes full use of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, for maximum speed and performance on any application. Its hardware is based on the latest generation processor and supports Flash. It also offers a USB port and comes pre-installed with GreekAndroidApps, SlideMe Market and e-Book reader applications. Its best feature? A mouthwatering €99 price tag.

New Course at EdX


The United States Embassy held a Green Building Initiative event at the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry on December 6. Daniel B. Smith, U.S. Ambassador to Greece; David McNeill, Commercial Counselor at the Embassy; and Constantinos Michalos, President of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomed the delegates, who were able to learn about products and services of the U.S. companies presenting: 3M, DuPont, General Electric, and Honeywell. Green building is becoming an increasingly important issue as it relates to energy consumption, climate change, materials use, the health of interior and exterior environments, and cost. As technologies evolve, buildings are able to become “smart” and self-regulate, adopt according to ambient conditions and, perhaps equally important, better house occupants.

The Ancient Greek Hero will use the latest technology to help students engage with poetry, songs, and stories first composed more than two millennia ago; this literature includes the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey, a selection of lyric poetry (including the songs of Sappho), excerpts of prose history, seven tragedies, two Platonic dialogues, and the intriguing but rarely studied dialogue, On Heroes by Philostratus. EdX is a not-for-profit enterprise of its founding partners Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that features learning designed specifically for interactive study via the web.

One in five companies in Greece run by women The ICAP Group recently conducted a study on women business leaders in Greece, surveying a total of 27,314 companies. Within this sample, the percentage of businesses run by women executives (such as Managing Directors and General Managers) averaged 18.8 percent (5,125 firms). ICAP observed a higher percentage of women executives in firms with a turnover of less than 2 million Euros (20.2 percent) and less than 10 employees. The percentage of women executives was found to be significantly lower in companies with sales exceeding 50 million Euros (5.6 percent) and more than 250 employees. Within for the top 500 companies run by women CEOs, the largest proportion (54.8 percent) achieved a turnover of between 2 million and 10 million Euros in 2011. Of the country’s 500 most profitable companies, 9 percent of companies (43 companies) are run by women. These 43 companies, with total sales of 2.9 million Euros, employ a total of more than 13,500 permanent staff.

Tim O’Reilly on Government Service “I wouldn’t say they’re disenchanted but that they’re burned out. Everybody who goes into government gets somewhat chewed up in the process. Being a senior appointee is like being at a startup, only more so: You run into opposition from the entrenched oligopoly of contractors whose business model is to extract as much money from government as possible for doing as little as possible. At O’Reilly, when we first found out about the World Wide Web and recognized its potential, we went around to all the phone companies to get them to provide Internet access with the Global Network Navigator as a front end. They didn’t listen. And when we went to publishers to talk about pushing books online, they had zero interest. It’s very similar when you’re trying to bring new ideas to government. People are comfortable with what they’re doing, and they don’t see the future coming at them. There’s that great story in the book of Jeremiah where he’s been preaching and nobody’s paying attention, and he feels that he might as well be preaching to the ground. Well, I was out there being Jeremiah.”

Strict New Rules on Energy Efficiency All new buildings to be constructed as of 2021 should be almost zero energy consumption, while new public buildings should comply with the same regulations two years earlier, as provided for in a new draft bill on buildings’ energy efficiency tabled in parliament by the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change. For small apartments (under 50 square meters), which were so far excluded from the energy regulations, the so-called Certificate of Energy Efficiency (CEF) will apply as of Jan. 1, 2016, according to the draft bill. Among other provisions, the new regulations allow for the determination of minimum energy efficiency requirements. These vary for new and existing buildings: newly-constructed buildings must comply with such minimum requirements, while existing ones would have to adjust to them when undergoing full refurbishment.




News and developments from across the Greek-American bridge

Schoox Online academy Schoox Inc. recently received $1 million of a planned $2 million financing. The Austin-based company collected the capital from a lone investor, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Schoox, which was founded earlier this year, is a Web-based academy in which selflearners can earn badges and certificates online and build a portfolio of qualifications to monetize their knowledge, according to its website. The company lists as one of its directors Angelos Angelou, a prominent Austin economist best known for tracking the business environment of Central Texas. CEO Lefteris Ntouanoglou is a former executive at Open Technology Services SA, a Greece-based software company. 

Project Hope

Responding to the deteriorating conditions in Greece, the Greek America Foundation is launching the Project Hope For Greece initiative, a USA-wide fundraising effort that will support a wide range of important institutions in Greece that are responding to the crisis in substantive and systematic ways and working to solve important problems for the people of Greece. The project’s purpose is to inspire philanthropy amongst Greek North Americans and to engage friends and supporters to come together on a grassroots level. The project intends to host a series of small events throughout North America that will raise funds for the campaign, whose proceeds will be shared with various accredited charitable organizations in Greece. The efforts of year one will culminate at the 2013 Gabby Awards in Hollywood, which will be branded this year as the “Gabby Awards for Greece”. 


Announcing the PanHellenic Games

The Pan-Hellenic Games is an international, multi-sport event involving athletes of Hellenic heritage from all countries around the world. It is an event devoted to creating inter-cultural bridges between the Greeks of the Diaspora and Greece and contributing to the maintenance of national and cultural identity of Greeks in the world through the athletic ideal. Pan-Hellenic Games will take place every four years in Athens, Greece, three years after the Summer Olympic Games. The first event will be held in the summer of 2015. The Games are supervised and directed by the Pan-Hellenic Games organizing committee, which will also control the sporting program and selected activities.

Travel USA

On the occasion of Greece’s entry into the Visa Waiver Program, the U.S. Commercial Service of the American Embassy in Athens is showcasing all 50 states and five territories in Business Partners.

Discover America—Louisiana ★


ouisiana is the place to create beautiful memories that will last a lifetime. This fun-loving state has a style all of its own, formed by the collision of cultures for over 300 years. As you travel through the state, historical influences will come alive through the music, architecture, culture and culinary delights highlighting the influences of French, Spanish, African, Cajun, Creole and British settlers. World-class music, spirited fairs and festivals ensure Louisiana has something for everyone. The birthplace of jazz and a natural melting pot for all types of music, here your toe will always find a beat to tap to and a rhythm to bring you alive. In New Orleans you can listen to live music 24 hours a day from the clubs and bars to the street theatre in the French Quarter. From a local deli or coffee house to a fine dining restaurant, food is prepared and enjoyed with equal enthusiasm and excellence – sample dishes unique to Louisiana from spicy jambalaya to sweet Bananas Foster. Louisiana brings history alive through its fabulous architecture - from Sportsman’s Paradise in the North, Natchitoches, Lafayette and Lake Charles through to the Garden district and French Quarter in New Orleans all telling the story of an exotic, rich and colorful history. oak alley plantation

THE PELICAN STATE Land Area 47,000 square miles Population 4,533,372 State Capital Baton Rouge Largest City New Orleans Local Time CST - 8 hrs behind Greece Climate Summer warm and long with mild winters and moderate rain fall. Driest months April, May, October & November National Parks Poverty Point National Monument, Cane River National Heritage Area, Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve. There are 22 State Parks

 For more information: Louisiana Office of Tourism Tel: 00 1 225 342 8100 E-mail: Web:



by Stavros Messinis

Fostering a Startup Community


spiring entrepreneurs want to live and work in exciting places that offer a supportive culture, quality of life and ease of doing business. The challenge is tough and it doesn’t happen overnight. It needs participation from all spheres of society—entrepreneurs themselves, State institutions or large corporations.

Led by Entrepreneurs, Helped by Institutions This is a bottom-up structure, it cannot be done by implementing policy change alone. This must be led by entrepreneurs, who have the most direct interest and can have the biggest direct impact. Having the most direct interest makes entrepreneurs take a long-term view. Top down initiatives—governments, universities, banks or investment funds—cannot lead this. They have decision and action cycles—3-7 years—that are too short. Investment funds probably have the fastest decision/activity cycle but it is nowhere near the agility and speed offered by individual entrepreneurs.

Startup Ecosystems Need to be Inclusive and Engaging Everyone who wants to offer something should be allowed to and should be supported. Whether it be organizing an event or offering resources to the ecosystem, the combined energy has an amplifying effect

supporting new entrepreneurial activity. Yes, there are some bad apples that might try to enter the system and, often, they will. This system, however, is a vibrant living organism and if healthy overall, will either change the bad apples into forces of good or reject them outright. One or the other will happen and as the ecosystem matures, it will happen sooner. We’re seeing signs of this in Athens now and it’s very encouraging.

Geographic Locality and Density Things become much more powerful when activities of startups are concentrated in a specific zone within a city, making it recognizable as “the place to go” to meet and learn from other entrepreneurs. Inevitably, the overall cost of starting up, acquiring talent, knowledge and capital becomes significantly lower as startup density increases. People work better in flocks and there’s safety in numbers. The catalytic factor here is attracting a large startup to a zone. In

We’re seeing good startup density in what I could refer to as the Syntagma, Monastiraki, Gazi triangle


An ecosystem is emerging. As we encourage more entrepreneurship and convince youth that entrepreneurship is a great option, we need to foster an environment where things are easier and faster to do. San Francisco, Twitter moving to the SoMa district was instrumental in attracting other startups to SoMa, making it a fashionable place to set up. Policy is driven by demand and numbers. We’re seeing good startup density in what I could refer to as the Syntagma, Monastiraki, Gazi triangle with more established or growth phase and later-stage corporate activity migrating further north to to Maroussi or Chalandri.

Commitment Fostering a strong entrepreneurial community requires hard work. Entrepreneurs should offer up to 15% of time to community initiatives. Some, like event curators or coworking space owners will offer more—it’s their job after all. Athens has a very dense activity calendar, from meetups to hackathons and networking events. Regularity, in terms of periodicity and location are important in the success of an entrepreneurial event. Initiatives acting as catalysts are Opencoffee, StartupWeekend, Eimai Kano Thelo, and MeetIn5. There are more and they’re all adding their bit of value.

Take the Leap It is important that now that we have the first cells of a healthy and vibrant ecosystem that we now move from inspirational or informative events and activities to measurable actions that deliver. We need more people to take the leap and startup, creating jobs, solving the world’s problems through their products. In the past few months, four new venture capital funds have emerged, ready to fund new initiatives. There is no better time to startup.

The Business EcoSystem

To return to growth and higher levels of employment, Europe needs more entrepreneurs.

Unleashing Europe’s Entrepreneurial Potential


ith 4 million new jobs created every year, new companies, especially small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), create the most new jobs in Europe. Therefore, on January 9, European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani presented an action plan to support entrepreneurs and revolutionize the entrepreneurial culture in Europe. The plan stresses the key role of education and training to nurture new generations of entrepreneurs, and includes specific measures to help budding entrepreneurs among young people, women, seniors, migrants, and the unemployed. The plan also tackles obstacles to entrepreneurship such as ambitious measures to facilitate start-ups and new businesses, make transfers of business ownership more successful, improve access to finance, and give honest entrepreneurs a second chance after bankruptcy. Studies show that such support is more necessary that ever. According to the Eurobarometer Entrepreneurship 2012, over the past three years the share of EU citizen who want to be their own boss has fallen from 45 percent to 37 percent. This drop is caused by less promising business prospects due to the current crisis. “To make it very clear: more entrepre-

neurs mean more jobs, more innovation and more competitiveness,” said European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, who is responsible for entrepreneurship and industry. “Becoming an entrepreneur and making a vision come true takes a lot of personal risk and effort. Entrepreneurs are the heroes of our time. Entrepreneurship is also the most powerful driver of economic growth in economic history. Therefore, we want to make entrepreneurship an attractive and accessible prospect for the European citizen.”

Targeting Entrepreneurial Education and Training Investing in entrepreneurship education is one of the highest return investments Europe can make. Surveys suggest that between 15 percent and 20 percent of students who participate in a mini-company program in secondary school will later start their own company, a figure that is about three to five times that for the general population. In the same vein, the role of higher education in entrepreneurship goes far beyond the delivery of knowledge to participating in business ecosystems, partnerships and industrial alliances. With high-tech and high-growth enterprises increasingly becoming a focus of entrepreneurship-related

public policies, higher education institutions are an active component of Member States’ and EU’s innovation policies. Of course, the Commission also recognizes that it must provide support to new businesses throughout their crucial lifecycle phases. About 50 percent of new businesses fail during their first five years as they often lack an appropriate ecosystem to help them grow. Given their limited resources and experience, small and newly created businesses suffer more from high compliance costs arising from complex tax legislation and cumbersome tax reporting procedures than large corporations do. In addition, in most of the EU, the legal frameworks for social security of self-employed persons differ substantially from that for the employed. The Commission plans to combat this gap through a variety of measures, including promoting the best practices of member states and supporting the cooperation between clusters and business networks. Other policy priorities include unlocking the full potential of the Digital Single Market for SMEs and continuing the development of the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs program to meet the increased demand for participation in the EU and encourage exchanges of young entrepreneurs between the EU and external countries.


The Interview

Direct Sales—

A Future in Greece? George Apostolopoulos, General Manager of Amway Hellas, talks about a unique business model that now, more than ever, is ideal for the current circumstances in today’s market.


Direct selling … what’s it all about? Please provide us with an overview. Direct selling is a method of marketing and retailing goods and services directly to consumers, in their homes or in any other location away from permanent retail locations. It is usually conducted in a face-to-face manner, either where products are demonstrated to an individual, or to a group or where a catalogue is left with the consumer and where the direct seller calls later to collect orders. The worldwide direct selling industry sector has reached 153 billion USD with more than 91 million direct sellers. Cosmetic and personal care products, household items and wellness are the strongest sectors in direct selling. Other product categories include food and beverage, nutritional products, jewelry and clothes, books, garments, toys, and games. Direct selling appeals to many people as it offers an equal and flexible income opportunity to both men and women, regardless of social and ethnic origins or work experience.

Amway offers more than 500 exceptional products, with patented ingredients and formulas, in the areas of beauty, wellness and home care.

What makes Amway’s business model so unique? Amway is one of the world’s leading direct selling companies for more than 50 years and offers consumer products and business opportunities through a network of more than 3 million Independent Amway Business Owners (ABOs), in over 100 countries and territories worldwide. In Greece, Amway started its operations in March 1996. Our new central offices and Experience Center recently relocated to Marousi and our Warehouse and Distribution center is in Agios Ioannis Rendis. What is the Amway business model? The Amway business model is based on the marketing of services and high quality products directly to the consumer. Apart from the more than 500 exceptional products we offer with patented ingredients and formulas in the areas of beauty, wellness and home care—the vast majority of which are developed and produced in company owned R&D centers in Michigan, USA—we also offer an excellent business proposal that gives people the opportunity to own their own business. Amway’s business proposal-opportunity is a unique alternative to conventional employment as it can be operated from anywhere; generally at home, at working places, not in the usual retail locations. Our distributors are not required to buy products beforehand and store them or to have a product inventory or the space for that inventory, so they don’t need to invest a significant amount of money to start. Work experience is not required and you can start a business as a part-time activity and develop it into a full time business, depending on the time and commitment involved. Another “asset” is that Amway safeguards the protection of consumers by providing its customers with 100% satisfaction guarantee after purchase. This means that if a consumer is not completely satisfied, they can return the product and be fully reimbursed. To sum things up, Amway offers a low-risk, low-cost opportunity that is open to everyone, which provides supplemental income, in a flexible working environment.

competitive—value for money. Furthermore, a product on a shelf is also burdened with additional costs. However, products retailed through direct sales are free from marketing expenses and from the intermediaries’ profit margin and the money gained from lack of advertising is invested in Research and & Development, in improving and producing innovative products. In other words, the benefits consumers gain from buying our products are multiple; they purchase unique and innovative high-quality products that come with a satisfaction guarantee, customers have the opportunity to try and test them in a relaxed and friendly environment and they receive personalized service from our distributors, who deliver the products at a time and a place that suites their customer.

How do you market your products to the end consumer in Greece? Are your prices competitive with respect to the “over the shelf” products? Our products are retailed through our distributor network that purchase products at wholesale price and in turn, sell them directly to their customers at a suggested retail price. Amway’s products are high quality and innovative brands and are time-tested and trusted, as many consumers are familiar with our products and reputation as a trustworthy company that stands behind its products with our Satisfaction Guarantee. Many Amway products are concentrated, so if you compare the usability they have and their selling price vs. the “over the shelf ” products, they are more

How does one profit from their Amway business? What kind of compensation plan do you offer to your distributors? An Amway business rewards its distributors for selling products and helping others they sponsor to do the same. Their rewards grow as their business grows and as they earn income from retail profit, monthly performance bonuses, monthly and annual leadership bonuses, as well as other cash and business incentives based on personal and group performance. Amway is

We also offer an excellent business proposal that gives people the opportunity to own their own business.


The Interview

The Amway business opportunity is attractive to an ever-increasing number of people from all walks of life, who are seeking ways to be more independent and to supplement their income a global community, which offers a compensation plan that has paid out more bonuses in 2010 than any other direct selling company. One of Amway’s key points is providing support to our distributors with world-class business resources, such as customer support, business management, order management, training and motivation from online or in-person training tailored to their specific learning preference under the Amway Academy e-learning program, providing extensive training for business owners in 22 languages all over Europe with more than 100 trainers. All these tools including a strong community of experienced Amway Business Owners who offer assistance and support to their distributors in reaching their chosen goals. Although our business opportunity may bring about substantial rewards, there’s no guarantee that someone will succeed, as this depends on the personal effort of each individual. We are always very careful when we present our business model as a “response” and as an alternative to the economic crisis for those who have no other alternative. How would you comment on the fact that the government’s austerity measures constantly reduce the spending power and consumption of the consumer? Does this have an impact on entrepreneurship and self-employment? There is no doubt that the austerity measures taken by the government have had a lasting effect on consumer


demand, thus further complicating the environment for entrepreneurs. We fully understand that there is a need for additional measures, to encourage private consumption and result in the overall economic expansion and development of the country. However, until this happens, the uncertain economic situation remains to be the main obstacle for entrepreneurial activity. The government should create a friendly environment that will strengthen and encourage the development of entrepreneurship and self-employment, not only by stabilizing the economy again, but also by revisiting the explicit and implicit effects that the current policies have on our biggest motor of growth, the entrepreneurs. What are the prospects for Amway and direct selling in Greece, in the context of the financial crisis, at a time when consumers are limited to necessities? According to a survey that was conducted—from May to June 2012—by the GFK research company of Germany in 16 European countries,* and in cooperation with University LMU (Ludwig-Maximilians University) Entrepreneurship Center in Munich for Amway Europe, there is a great deal of potential for entrepreneurship in Greece in times of crisis. The results for Greece in this survey, which was presented for the first time at the 2nd Labor & Insurance Conference in Athens on November 15, shows that 72% of Greek respondents have a positive attitude toward self-employment, while one in two Greeks can imagine starting up their own business. Furthermore, self-employment has a high reputation among young people in our country, as 8 out of 10 respondents between the ages of 18-29 years perceive self-employment with a positive attitude. Greeks also seem to admire those who have their own business as 7 out of 10 (66%) feel that they have the “courage to strike new paths” while 61% find it appealing to start up their own business mainly due to the “independence from an employer, being my own boss” and “self-fulfillment, possibility to realize own ideas” (54%). Finally, two thirds (70%) of Greek respondents estimate that entrepreneurship will be equally or more important in the modern working world a decade from now. As for those who hold a university degree, they believe in the growing importance of entrepreneurship, as 79% agree that entrepreneurship will be equally or more important ten years from now (without university degree: 67%). It sounds like Amway is an attractive entrepreneurial option? Amway offers a low-risk, small-investment and flexible business opportunity that is ideal to the current difficult circumstances because it promotes the need for innovation and development. More importantly, through a self-employment process, which is the basis of our company’s business model, we offer the Amway business opportunity to an ever-increasing number of people from all walks of life, who are seeking ways to be more independent and to supplement their income or to build a part-time or full-time business. The fact that the Greeks have such a positive attitude towards self-employment is a key driver to continue investing in Greece. At the end of the day, strengthening entrepreneurship will contribute to economic growth and wealth in the country and Amway would like to help push forward the entrepreneurial spirit, in Greece and all over Europe.

* Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and Greece, Fieldwork: May – June 2012, Sample: 17.768 women and men aged 14+.


North Greece


The new Center for Agricultural Entrepreneurship at the American Farm School and Perrotis College is training Greece’s next generation of agricultural specialists. Classes at the Center for Agricultural Entrepreneurship

Fostering Agricultural Excellence


he President of the American Farm School, Dr. Panos Kanellis, led the inauguration of the new Center for Agricultural Entrepreneurship at a September 28th ceremony held on the institution’s Thessaloniki campus. Dr. Kanellis stressed that his goal is for “young men and women to learn sound entrepreneurship and how to differentiate and promote their high quality agricultural products in the marketplace.” Greece’s Minister of Development, Kostis Hatzidakis, told the guests gathered at the event, “the school’s Center for Entrepreneurship gives optimism to the people of Greece—it is a bold innovation for others to seek to emulate.” It was an important message for the audience, many of whom were interested in studying themselves at the Center before launching their own agrofood ventures. Also on hand for the inauguration was Greece’s Minister of Agricultural Development & Food, Athanasios Tsaftaris; Alternate Minister of Energy, the Environment and Climate Change, Stavros Kalafatis; and several other ranking members of the Greek government. In addition, the U.S. Consul General in

Thessaloniki, Robert Sanders; President of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, Yanos Gramatidis; President of the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece, Nikolas Pentzos; and other leaders of the Athens and Thessaloniki business and civic communities were present. The U.S. Ambassador to Greece, Daniel Bennett Smith, lent the Embassy’s support to this event and to a second inaugural event at the Ambassador’s residence in Athens on January 24. Based at Perrotis College, and located on the American Farm School-Perrotis College campus in Thessaloniki, the Center for Agricultural Entrepreneurship is an initiative focused on strengthening healthy and sustainable development in Greece. It aims at preparing individuals with the technical knowledge and skills needed to succeed in their chosen field of agriculture, including mentoring them in the creation of business plans, and providing guidance and access for young entrepreneurs toward securing start-up funding. Angelina Kyriakopoulou, from the village of Gefira, on the outskirts of Thessalonki, raises the Chios breed of sheep. She has taken Adult Education courses at the American

Farm School in cheese-making, and is now enrolled at the new Center. “There are many opportunities, even in a deep economic crisis,” she says. “Once you have the entrepreneurial instinct, the American Farm School gives you ideas, motivation and know-how to make sure your business is profitable.” Courses at the Center opened in October for the inaugural class of twenty-three men and women. The students hail mostly from Thessaloniki, but some commute from as far as central Greece and northern Greece. All trainees take the “Start Up and Management of an Agriculture Business” and the “Entrepreneurial Thinking” courses, plus one elective in a specialized business or agrofood topic. Popular among the electives are “Product Standardization” and “eMarketing.” The second cycle of training, focused on mentoring and business plan development to attract angel capital investment, begins in February. In a significant step forward, the Center for Agricultural Entrepreneurship has received a generous gift from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation to support operating costs and for the ongoing development of its educational programs.


Thought Leaders

Point/Counterpoint is a new Business Partners feature that presents two sides of an issue—point and counterpoint—to examine topics that often have multifaceted arguments. In our launch feature we look at the pros and cons of flexicurity, women represented on boards, and lower corporate tax rates.


Point/ Counterpoint


Thought Leaders

Flexicurity— An Option for Greece?

A Stavros Andriopoulos KLC Law Firm

s a term flexicurity derives from the abridgement of “flexibility” and “security”. The notion of flexicurity was first introduced in the Netherlands, immediately after the labor legislation reform of 1999. It is based upon the view that both of these terms, i.e. flexibility and security, are not by definition mutually contradictory and exclusive but rather complementary in their effects. Its objective lies in more and better jobs this also was the primary objective of the modified Lisbon Strategy.

Four Policy Elements Flexicurity comprises four policy elements. First, the element of flexible and secure contractual regulations. Second, the element of all-embracing strategies on lifelong learning. Third, the element of effective and active policies on the labor market and fourth, the element of modern social security systems. Flexicurity could be portrayed as a ”structure” supported by three distinctive pillars. The first pillar consists of a flexible labor market. The second pillar involves the protection of standards of living and income. The third pillar consists of Active Employment Policies (A.E.P.). Flexicurity as a model is based upon a robust welfare state on the mold of the Scandinavian countries’ model. It promotes the mobilization of the unemployed workforce in their effort to find new employment and the facilitation of successful employment - searching through active employment policies and lifelong learning programs. Without doubt Denmark is a country where flexicurity has been implemented in an exemplary manner.


Good for Greece? What applies in our country in particular? For a multitude of reasons the issue of flexicurity is of direct concern to Greece. First, because of the Greek economy suffering from high unemployment rates and lack of competitiveness. Second, the Greek labor market is characterized by many examples of non-standard and “flexible forms” of labor which operate in a counter–competitive manner to functional enterprises. Third, our country is characterized by the highest percentage of unregistered labor in Europe. Having said that, it is important to determine the extent on which national particularities allow the successful implementation of the model.

Requirements A number of structural elements and changes are required. A modern educational system is necessary, as well as mutual confidence developed between state, civilians and institutions, low level of corruption, the existence of a social and redistributive state of law, budgetary balance and limited tax evasion. The question is: which of the above requirements is fulfilled by our country? In addition, a serious defect of Greek reality, which places a significant obstacle to the adoption of flexicurity policies, is identified in the field of social dialogue (i.e. dialogue between management and labor). In the case of Denmark the existence of positive social dialogue is the decisive factor for the successful implementation of flexicurity. Greece, in contrast, is considered a country suffering from intense conflicts between the social partners.

Moreover, collective bargaining agreements in Greece, and in particular the sectoral and business agreements, rarely include in their agendas matters relating to employment and professional training.

Challenges What is more in the case of Greece, the malfunctioning social state prohibits the implementation of the model of flexicurity. The tense relations between the state and its citizens, and the lack of trust characterizing the relations between the social partners and the particular characteristics of

wage labor cost, reduced mobility from sector to sector and limited flexibility on working hours. Also, the rate of remuneration of work to productivity is inversely proportional. On the other hand the fact that, to date, the EU has sought a productive model pursuant to which labor is considered as a “cost,” this under the influence of terms adopted from international competition and which incriminate both the employee and his/her rights must not be underestimated. Instead of supporting and strengthening the beneficial value of its social model as well as seek-

“Flexicurity is an integrated strategy for enhancing, at the same time, flexibility and security in the labor market. It attempts to reconcile employers’ need for a flexible workforce with workers’ need for security – confidence that they will not face long periods of unemployment.” —European Commission

their labor markets make it extremely difficult to establish a flexicurity model in Greece. More specifically, Greece has been described by the European Union as a “problematic” country, due to its residual rule of law and its “breathless” economy. Policies for unemployment subsidies and reintegration of the unemployed workforce adopted by the country may be considered as meager, discouraging and ineffective to a certain extent whereas the allowances granted to Greek unemployed are considered as temporary and insufficient. Furthermore a huge issue of the Greek labor market revolves around the uninsured and undeclared work, which is further accentuated due to the existence of an inadequate monitoring mechanism for the implementation of legislation as well as the laggard administration of justice in such cases. Some additional characteristics of the Greek case act to deteriorate the situation, such as high non

ing its promotion and “export,” the EU seeks to introduce elements of liberalization of the labor market, which upset the essential characteristics of the European Labor Law.

Worth a Try To sum it up, when it comes to labor markets flexicurity is neither a panacea on the problems currently being faced nor a disaster looming on the current structure of labor protection afforded by current labor law. However it is of no doubt that it is not a one-dimensional and unambiguous phenomenon; as such its manifold appraisal on a social and a financial level is imperative. At these critical moments which our country is currently experiencing, we should not remain passive but must instead seek the implementation of the appropriate combination of policies in order to evaluate the modes of “kick - starting” growth in this country, after taking as a rule the adequate protection of social rights.


Thought Leaders

Women Should or Should not be Represented on Corporate Boards by Legal Quota Experts agree and statistics support that having a diverse mosaic across corporate leadership helps a company to better cater to market globalization and the increased spending power among diverse consumer groups. Anastasia Sideri Public Affairs and Communications Director, Coca-Cola Southeast Europe


recent Credit Suisse study reconfirmed also that gender-diverse Boards are a good and viable indicator of investment potential, as they outperformed male-only Boards by 26% over a period of six years. Far from the clichĂŠ of inherently cooperative nature and women acting as conciliators, recent evidence indicates that this extraordinary performance is mainly attributed to the fact that women are less likely to follow group thinking, have better customer insights, are more resourceful and creative and can act as catalysts for Boards to stop sitting idly and taking action when there is underperformance.

Gender Gap It is hardly news, however, that despite the body of relevant evidence and voluntary measures taken, there is still a huge gender gap at the top of the private sector. Women still make only 16.6% of corporate Board officers at Fortune 500 (and 13.7% in EU corporations), while the rate of increase stays at a humble 0.6% per year, making companies less competitive according to a study by Ernst and Young.


Many claim that this is due to the fact that women lack key leadership qualifications, or the will to stand out as leaders. EU Commissioner of Justice Vivian Reding, however, recently announced a list of 8,000 Board-ready female leaders provided by EU Business Schools. At the same time a proposal was made to have women on at least 40% of EU Boards by 2020. The proposal that started as a mandate, and included fines for noncompliance, was eventually watered down to just a target, following fierce opposition by 9 Member States and the International Corporate Governance Network (a network of international institutional investors) stating that 66% of their members opposed such a quota. According to the final wording of the compromised proposal, companies with more than 250 employees will have to have targets and processes in place to have 40% of women in non–executive Board seats by 2020 (and 2018 for state owned companies). The debate on quotas is still very active across Europe and the rest of the world and I will try to summarize below the pros and cons:



• Self-regulation has not worked, while quotas seem to be the most effective way to challenge inertia and break up the elite boy-clubs. It will take us 76 years to reach the 2020 target of 2020 if we continue with the current rhythm. • only 2 Female Board members are today in FTSE 100 companies • in Norway, that imposed quotas in 2006, all Boards today have at least one woman and 80% have more than 3 women • As the issue is rarely the actual performance, but rather the image and exposure of candidates, a quota could push corporations to overcome these barriers and offer targeted mentoring schemes to the women candidates • Other barriers also relate to rigid organizational structures and inflexible and long working hours that do not allow for the aspired work life balance of women leaders. A quota could push corporations to revisit their policies and offer women friendlier work conditions.

• Business–led, self-regulatory models are the best approach. Mandatory quotas and sanctions are unwarranted interference to national sovereignty and employment legislation. • Quotas can be patronizing and pursued as political correctness rather than proceeding with removing the true barriers. • Quotas may lead to placing unqualified individuals in corporate Boards and generate unnecessary friction between men and women in an organization In my opinion, how to promote more women will remain a highly divisive issue in countries and within the corporate world. I personally find the quota targets a positive step that needs, however, to be taken seriously by corporations and be translated into policies and processes. I can only hope that by the time my daughter enters the workforce in 2020, our Boards, governments and other decision making bodies will be a more open and friendlier environment.

There is still a huge gender gap at the top of the private sector. Women still make only 16.6% of corporate Board officers at Fortune 500 (and 13.7% in EU corporations)


Thought Leaders

High or Low Tax Rates?

Ioannis Stavropoulos LL.M. Partner, Stavropoulos & Partners Law Firm, Member of the Taxation Committee of the Chamber

The crisis has revived the discussion on raising tax rates. In the last decade, under the euphoria of the markets and easy lending and spending, the demand for low tax rates was taken for granted. Today, with public finances under pressure, there is renewed skepticism about low tax rates.

Global Trends On New Year’s Eve, President Obama was struggling to avoid tax rate increases, without which the “fiscal cliff ” would be imminent. Finally, a modest increase of the highest tax rate was agreed, but Cassandras believe that further increases will be soon required. The UK government, in its autumn statement, announced a series of tax measures, including lowering the threshold for the highest tax band, dragging another 400,000 taxpayers to the highest rate. And earlier in 2012, France announced the staggering 75 percent tax rate for the very rich (which was later challenged by the country’s constitutional court). Following the same path, the Greek government, in the draft bill for 2013, subjected a much larger percentage of its taxpayers to its highest nominal rate by disproportionally lowering the threshold from 100,000€ to 42,000€ (although it lowered the highest nominal tax rate from 45 percent to 42 percent). It is important to keep in mind that each instance refers to nominal tax rates. If one were to add the cuts in personal allowances, the effective tax rate would be even higher. It is true that, for the time being, tax rate increases hit individuals, while in business taxation changes are modest. In the UK, the corporate tax rate was reduced by one percentage point, while


in the Greek system, resident corporate shareholders will be subject to an overall 33 percent instead of 40 percent. Tax rate increases are presented as a means of targeting the wealthiest, who are now called upon to pay a heavier share towards social welfare. As indicated above, this is not necessarily true. Most taxpayers are affected from the reduction of allowances and tax credits.

The Mission of Taxation But, should tax rates rise as an antidote to the crisis? Well, it all depends on how we define the mission of taxation. In our world of open economies, a cynic might say that tax is the price that a state charges its citizens for the public services it provides. Like any other enterprise, a state is called to obtain the best quality at the lowest and most competitive price. Of course, the state feels like a monopoly and does not care about competitive pricing. Should it continue like this? Obviously, no—for a state is not a monopoly. The taxpayer/customer may choose another supplier to buy the services from. And if an individual chooses to be like Gerard Depardieu, to change one’s residence, relocation of production lines (or even of a corporate seat) based on tax criteria is a common practice in the corporate world. But even if the state indeed serves as a monopoly

for most of us, raising taxes beyond a level that serves the reciprocal relation with citizens might produce adverse results. In competition law jargon, excessive pricing is considered an abuse by a monopoly. Even if a citizen cannot sue the state for breaching antitrust laws, he or she would definitely feel tempted to return the abuse.

The Double-Sided Coin This coin, however, is double-sided. Taxes are not only a consideration for buying public services, but also a mechanism to reallocate income among members of society. More precisely, taxes enable a state to allocate the benefits that income can buy. This is why tax systems follow the proportionality rule, which, in Greece’s case, is also guaranteed by the constitution. Nobody challenges this principle; the more you earn, the more you pay. A reflection of this principle is the progressive individual tax scale that leads to a better allocation of personal income. It is a social approach that can hardly be opposed in these days of crisis. Even Pope Benedict XVI felt the need to denounce the “growing instances of inequality between rich and poor” in his New Year’s message. All of these ideas are correct in principle. The question is if, how and when this reallocation takes place. Even the patriarch of the welfare state, John Maynard Keynes, challenged the effec-

tiveness of high and punitive tax rates by writing: “Taxation may be so high as to defeat its object, and that, given sufficient time to gather the fruits, a reduction of taxation will run a better chance than an increase of balancing the budget”. Adjusting the tax rates, especially when forecasting the needs for next year, is a favorite game of politicians struggling to cope with Q4 budget figures each year. It is difficult to commit to longterm competitive and stable tax rates to enable individuals and businesses to plan for their future. Most importantly, the state must ensure that tax rates apply to all, taxpayers and tax-avoiders, and that taxes serve their purpose: to finance the state only to the extent needed for cost-effective services, which will be equally enjoyed by all.

But, should tax rates rise as an antidote to the crisis? Well, it all depends on how we define the mission of taxation.


Business Matters by Marcel E. Cremer LLM Attorney at Law – CIArb, Accredited Mediator, Cremer & Associates

The Company@gr A recent read of John Micklethwait’s and Adrian Wooldridge’s book The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea1, provided me with a useful insight of the history of corporate entities from antiquity to the present.


n the back cover of the Greek version of the book2 there is a brief mention of the institutions that govern the lives of people, and those featured are: for Hegel: the state; for Marx: the commune; for Lenin and Hitler, the political party and, in less recent years, the parish church, the monarchy and feudalism. However, it is quite easy to realize that the company is perhaps the most successful institution, as it has survived for thousands of years and has an immense impact on modern life, directly and indirectly. The essence of the company as an institution is when more than one parties collectively endeavor to achieve—primarily—fi-

nancial goals. Stewart Kyd3, the author of the first treatise on corporate law in English, defined a corporation as: “a collection of many individuals united into one body, under a special denomination, having perpetual succession under an artificial form, and vested, by policy of the law, with the capacity of acting, in several respects, as an individual, particularly of taking and granting property, of contracting obligations, and of suing and being sued, of enjoying privileges and immunities in common, and of exercising a variety of political rights, more or less extensive, according to the design of its institution, or the powers conferred upon it, either at the time of its creation, or at any subsequent period of its existence.”

36 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | january-february 2013

Longevity—A Defining Characteristic Following that interpretation, companies have, throughout history, taken many shapes and forms, always depending on the aims of their beneficiaries and adjusting to social conditions. Above all, though, the main characteristic of the company as an institution is longevity. As humans have a finite life span, the “gimmick” of creating a legal entity which transcends the limitations of time is ingenious. To add to that, one must consider that as societies change, the needs for legal entities with longer duration have become as necessary as ever. Companies provide multifold benefits to the community. Aside from the purely fi-

nancial aspect of companies’ aim for profit, there are other well-known social provisions which are sometimes taken for granted, such as the stability which is created from employment offered to people, the contribution to the economy because of companies’ duties to pay taxes, the maintenance on a significant level of pension funds and the like. Equally important, as a result of the combination of people with different skills, there is substantially greater creation of value than what separate individuals would be in a position to accomplish.

Guilds—The Corporate Precursor In the Western world the origins of the modern company go back to European medieval times with the ‘Guilds’ being one of the earliest examples of egalitarian communities seeking to protect the common interests of their members. As the world evolved, conditions altered and there was need for more rigid legal frameworks concerning companies and the activities ther of. As such, different types of corporate form were invented and rules of corporate governance were established. There are brilliant examples of corporations that date back to the 18th and 19th century. Companies such as Lloyd’s (est. 1774 as a society – incorporated 1871 in the U.K.), Rothschild (est. 1798 in the U.K.), DuPont (est. 1802 in the U.S.), Colgate (est. 1806 in the US), are but a few of the successful companies-turned-multinationals which stood the test of time and still operate today. In Greece, the corporate legal framework mainly consists of the commercial code, law 2190/1921 relating to Sociétés Anonymes, law 3190/1955 relating to Companies of Limited Liability and more recently law 4072/2012 relating to Private Companies. The roots of Hellenic corporate legislation lie in the French and German commercial and corporate codes.

Greece—Odd Man Out? Before the 20 century there was little activity compared with the boom of the corporate trend in Greece that succeeded the Second th

World War and was the result of the overall financial recovery for the country. However, albeit Greece experienced robust growth in the post-war years, and even more recently after acquiring the member-state status in the European Community in 1981, few Hellenic corporations have managed to become sustainable and survive for periods exceeding the fifty-year mark. This is due to a twofold phenomenon: traditional family businesses and the pursuance of easy lucre. With all due respect to the family as an all-

defying the afore-mentioned “perpetuity of the artificial form.” Many may rush to claim that the financial conditions in Greece these last four years are to blame for the closing of thousands of businesses, but few will accept that most of these enterprises were created with a total lack strategy and planning. An indication of this is, among other factors, the massive flow over the last years of corporations to the refuge of art. 99 of law 3588/20074, which has to do with protection from creditors and financial restruc-

. . . few Hellenic corporations have managed to become sustainable and survive for periods exceeding the fifty-year mark. This is due to a two-fold phenomenon: traditional family businesses and the pursuance of easy lucre.

time-classic “incubator” for entrepreneurship, there are restrictions posed by the Greek mentality. Of course, there are exceptions in the traditional industries of mining, minerals, banking and shipping, but even in these cases most of the enterprises started as family businesses and remain so until today—an characteristic that definitely describes the Greek way of doing business but perhaps deprives the business community of more opportunities, as the decision-making process remains within the family circle regardless if its members are in fact capable for this role or not. This, in turn, frequently causes turbulence for the company and quite often leads to insolvency. The second criterion which leads to the short life-span of companies in Greece is the tendency to aim for quick profit, as if the legal entity is merely an extension of the stakeholders and not an actual venture aiming at sustainability and longevity, thus

turing and the misuse thereof, as extremely few of the businesses actually recover. The common scenario is that art. 99 is mostly used as an interval to gain time and detract as much wealth from the legal entity in order to go to full insolvency just right after. As Greece undergoes significant changes and reforms, an opportunity is presented for the new generation of entrepreneurs to start thinking differently and seek to lend newly formed companies features which will aim at sustainability and longevity. As “innovation” is the current trend, “maturity” should not be neglected as an equally essential element in business that will lead to sustainable tradition.

Published by Phoenix – Orion Books Ltd 2005 Published by Cretan University Publishing 2012 3 Scottish politician and legal writer (d. 1811) 4 Somewhat similar to chapter 11 of U.S. Bankruptcy Code. 1 2

january-february 2013 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | 37

Social Dialogue

Labor Markets and Financial Crises

by Duncan Campbell & Katerina Tsotroudi

A Short Primer In November last year, one of us gave a talk in Athens on, “How an unhealthy labor market is bad for the economy.”1 Isn’t it, instead, that a bad economy that is devastating for labor markets? In fact, both are true— and, indeed, a bad, and now scarred labor market might well turn out to be worse for the economy than the latter had been for the labor market. Here is why.


irst, history shows that labor markets take many years to recover from financial crises, particularly of the magnitude of the one we have gone through since 2008. The consequence is that by the end of 2013, the world economy will have created 50 per cent fewer jobs than needed just to turn the clock back to 2007. The considerable lag in labor market recovery is true even when financial and product markets have already recovered. They have not in Greece, and that makes matters even worse. Youth unemployment in Greece is just over double that of total unemployment—but the magnitudes are staggering, now over 50 and 25 per cent, respectively. What is more, labor

underutilization also shows up in underemployment, informality, and working poverty. This has long been apparent in the developing world, but it is now also evident in developed countries, such as Greece, today. Labor market depression today is a crisis of aggregate demand. The point is an alarmingly simple one: if people either do not have income, or have seen the value of what they counted on as trusted assets diminish, or otherwise sense economic threat, then they do not spend. Consumption is, in fact, the major component of aggregate demand: we don’t consume, we deflate demand. We deflate demand, we see prices and profit margins fall. These fall, and then do investments on which growth depends and, in an


umbilical way, does growth itself. Even prior to 2008, a widespread decline in labor’s share of national income exerted downward pressure on consumption. With the crisis, we did see one big consumer come to the rescue—governments.This was helpful, but governments do not have deep pockets these days even in the most fiscally fortunate of countries. Governments can only do so much. Private companies cannot come to the rescue if there are incentives elsewhere or there is doubt over demand for their products domestically. And labor—consumers—cannot be expected to ignore their uncertainty over current or future income. All this does not bode well in economic terms. Separation from the labor market, or the in-

ability to enter it, shows up in a lifetime’s loss of income even if and when conditions improve. Income aside, there are malignancies associated with an unhealthy labor market. Income explains only about 50 percent of how we evaluate satisfaction with our jobs and with our lives. Much evidence comes from studies of the consequences of the involuntary absence of work. Unemployment has a demonstrably corrosive influence on trust and civic engagement. It destroys “social capital,” capital that is difficult to rebuild, but upon which we rely for all sorts of things that define the good life or the good society—political stability and trust in government among them. Societies fray with prolonged absence of opportunity and hope. Economic crime rates rise and, with declining trust, we ally ourselves to blame others and single them out. As hope recedes, damaging physical behaviors rise with unemployment, such as substance abuse. The unemployed have a higher rate of cardiovascular illness. They die younger. Suicide rates among the unemployed are higher than those with jobs. They get divorced more than those with a steady job, or don’t get married to begin with, while marriage and self-reported life satisfaction are positively correlated. Psychologists refer to a phenomenon of “learned hopelessness.” This can apply to those who believe their opportunities in the labor market have disappeared (which is likely to happen the longer a person is separated from the labor market). People in

most regions of the world today, surveys tell us,believe that there are simply not enough good jobs to go around. Yet a good job is a source of good health for us and for society as a whole. The increasing convergence in research findings2 on the need to place social capital at the centre of economic policy has not yet been translated into coherent action on the ground. That labor is not a commodity and that social justice is a foundation of lasting peace are core to International Labour Organisation (ILO) values. The Greek language, of course, gave us the word “democracy”; the ILO views this concept in terms of social justice, freedom of association and social dialogue—not sufficient for solving all the problems in Greece or elsewhere, but utterly necessary for how to go about it. The bodies of the ILO that supervise the application of international labor standards emphasized that there could be no sustainable economic recovery without sustainable labor standards. They emphasized that social dialogue is essential in normal times and becomes even more so in times of crisis in the framework of pursuing a policy of full, productive and freely chosen employment. With the onset of austerity measures in Europe: they found that “the imperative need to achieve fiscal consolidation has not been balanced with sufficient concern for the social and human costs of such rapid austerity measures [… In these conditions] the economic recovery may be accompa-

 uncan Campbell, at the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce meeting D A. G. Berg and J. D. Ostry: “Equality and Efficiency: Is there a trade-off between the two or do they go hand in hand?” in Finance & Development (2011, Vol. 48, No. 3, Sept.). World Bank: World Development Report 2013: Jobs (Washington, DC, 2012). 3 ILO: Report of the Committee on the Application of Standards, Provisional Record No. 16, Part I, International Labour Conference, 98th Session, Geneva, 2009., para. 68; Report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR): General Survey concerning employment instruments in light of the 2008 Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization, Report III (Part 1B), International Labour Conference, 99th Session, Geneva, 2010, para. 794; Report of the CEACR: Social security and the rule of law: General Survey concerning social security instruments in light of the 2008 Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization, Report III (Part 1B), International Labour Conference, 100th Session, Geneva, 2011, para. 567). 4 ILO: 365th Report of the Committee on Freedom of Association, Governing Body, 316th Session, Nov. 2012, GB.316/INS/9/1, paras. 784–1003; 193308/lang--en/index.htm [15 November 2012]. ILO: Report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (Articles 19, 22 and 35 of the Constitution), Report III(1A), International Labour Conference, 101st Session, Geneva, 2012 and 100th Session, Geneva, 2011; ILO: Conference Committee on the Application of Standards, Extract from the Record of Proceedings, International Labour Conference, 100th Session, June 2011, p. 48. 1 2

nied by a prolonged “human recession.”3 As to Greece in particular, ILO supervisory bodies identified a social dialogue deficit in the way austerity measures had been introduced and implemented in a context qualified as grave and exceptional. They found repeated and extensive interventions into free and voluntary collective bargaining and called for a resumption of permanent and intensive social dialogue with the aim of developing a comprehensive common vision for labor relations in full conformity with the principles of freedom of association and the effective recognition of collective bargaining and the relevant ratified ILO Conventions. They expressed the expectation that the social partners would be fully implicated in the determination of any further alterations within the framework of the agreements with the Troika that touch upon matters core to the human rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining and which are fundamental to the very basis of democracy and social peace. The supervisory bodies also highlighted the need for and availability of ILO assistance to achieving these objectives.4 Much discussion in the world press talks about fiscal crises and austerity, about sovereign debt, about the crisis of the Eurozone, about the role of international financial institutions and whether they are playing that role effectively. These, quite obviously, are central and important discussions that must continue. The challenges facing Greece, as it goes forward, go well beyond the purely fiscal or economic. The challenges address the very foundations of Greek polity and society. And when the challenges are foundational in this way, then the process for addressing them becomes equally fundamental. What are the answers? We don’t know. What is the best way of finding them? Through broad, rights-based social dialogue. Of this, we are certain.�

Duncan Campbell is Director for Policy Planning in Employment, ILO, and a Fellow of the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), and Katerina Tsotroudi is Senior Legal Specialist, International Labour Standards Department, ILO.


Leadership Tales From Ancient Greece

by Artemios Miropoulos

A Marathon For Your Life The route of the classic Marathon race traverses the northeastern outskirts of Athens, where I grew up. As children, our schoolteachers would line us up along the Marathon route to cheer and encourage the passing athletes.


t was a colorful view with the small tags on their chests, drained bodies, stressed sweated faces and roadsides littered with empty water bottles. It was also a guessing game to tell whether exhaustion would prevent an athlete from finishing. The point where we stood seemed to be the hardest. After an 18-mile run under the blazing summer sun it is the final uphill approach to the remaining eight miles, a slight downslope stretch leading to the city center with a distant view of the sea and the finish line inside a white marble stadium. Most people know the story of the Marathon race. 2500 years ago, the Persians landed in Marathon, on the opposite coast of where Athens lies; the Athenians fought and won a great victory against the world’s superpower and a runner was sent to Athens right after the end of the battle to tell the undefended population of their victory. The runner died of exhaustion in the hands of the civilians who exited the city limits in agony waiting for the messenger.

The Marathon—Revisited What most people do not know is that the whole Athenian army had to run the same Marathon race a few hours later. It was September 490 BC, the city of Athens was living a unique social experiment, being the only spot on earth to have established democracy. It was only 20 years old at the time; was far from perfect, women did not participate, there was slavery, aristocrats openly opposed it, but it worked. Athenians also lived under the imminent threat of a Persian invasion. Twelve years before they had helped a revolt of a Greek colony, subject to the rule of the Persian emperor, on the coast of Asia Minor. The emperor had never forgotten and the Persian expedition that was underway had ravaged independent citystates that had helped this revolt. Stories of horror from the island of Naxos and the nearby city of Eretria reached the people of Athens. The Persians were coming and they had no mercy for the defeated. News came that they had finally landed on


the plains of Marathon, where they could best deploy their cavalry. The Athenians sent a runner to Sparta for help. the Spartans replied they would come after their religious holiday. On the morning of September 17 the Athenian army decided they could no longer wait and had to face the Persians on their own. Herodotus described the battle only a few years later, but his narration was far from perfect. Other historians tried to fill in the blanks centuries later but to this day there are dark spots: the absence of the Persian cavalry the day of the Greek assault, specific events or exact numbers and casualties. My brief description will only refer to the physical exhaustion the Athenians must have experienced that day.

Appropriate Strategies The Athenian army comprised heavy infantry, nothing else. The formation, called the phalanx, relied on keeping a tightly-knit line where the shield of each soldier would

beaten up, sleepless and exhausted army wouldn’t stand a second chance.Legend says not everyone made it to Athens that night. But those who managed to keep running picked up the shields of the fallen. They reached the city at dawn, running towards Faliron, the seafront of Athens. They didn’t have time to reach the sea. The Persian ships had already appeared and were approaching land. At that time, near the springs of Callirhoe, a point clearly visible from the sea, they lined up. One next to the other, the shields of their missing comrades held in the hands of the elderly or the women and children of Athens. In the morning light the Persians saw a sparkling bronze line of shields. They turned bows and left.

Drawing by Vasilis Evdokias

protect his comrade to the left. That’s why they didn’t charge the enemy. Instead, they walked in marching discipline; if they broke lines they lost their advantage. Another reason they didn’t charge was that the armor and gear weighed more than one hundred pounds. It would have exhausted them before they made contact with enemy lines. However, that September morning they decided to charge. The reason was the elite body of Persian archers opposite them stretching their bows. When the arrows flew, the Athenians ran. The trick worked; the swarm of arrows landed behind the Greek lines and the archers did not have time for a second draw. This was their first toil of the day. The second was the battle itself. The Greeks were outnumbered four to one. Instead of boosting the center, as the Persians did, they strengthened the flanks. This worked too. The flanks pushed the opposing troops and instead of moving forward they turned inwards to relieve the suffering center. It must have lasted hours. Then, the Greeks made a mistake that did not seem crucial at the moment. Overwhelmed by the adrenaline of an unexpected victory, they pursued the fleeing Persians in the surrounding marshland. Running into swamps in full armor must have been even more exhausting than the day’s body-to-body battle. Finally, they conducted their last battle on the coast as the Persians fought their way onto their ships, dragging them off the sandy beach of Marathon. I can imagine the scene. Men gasping for air, limbs trembling, washing off blood and dirt in the sea as the sun set. At that moment they must have experienced another shock. The Persian ships, instead of turning to the east, back to Persia, headed south in an apparent attempt to sail the sixty five-mile coast round cape Sounion and reach defenseless Athens.

Honor, Heroism, Survival

The Greeks claimed that Persians had suffered more than 6,000 casualties that day. Even so, their army of around 48,000, when it landed, kept its lethal potential.

The Battle Continues . . . The Athenian army had no choice. The troops gathered and, after some initial provisions for the wounded, prepared for a night-long run toward Athens. Not many details of this night remain. Historians call it ‘a march to Athens’ rather than a ‘run’. I find it hard to believe that the men had the relaxed temper and self-control to play with minutes, and march instead of run or semi run. Herodotus writes ‘they hurried to Athens as quickly as their feet could assist them’. This is not marching; they couldn’t have risked it. If the Persians managed to land and deploy their lines, a

Artemios Miropoulos is the Managing Director of Linkage in Greece, a leading U.S. leadership development organization and the Chairman of the AmCham Leadership Committee Vision 2020 The LCV 2020 thanks the scientists and staff of the American School of Classical Studies for their precious support, especially that of ASCSA’s Director Dr Jim Wright and the School’s GM Pantelis Panos.

When societies or organizations fight a severe crisis they are often unaware they are apt to reach their greatest achievements. The Athenians had a vision of defending democracy, innovative battle tactics, and quality leadership, but they didn’t fight for that. They fought for their homes and families and their uttermost survival. I am sure there are endless similar stories of heroism around the world, all finally fueled by the same life or death, freedom or slavery challenge. To survive through a period of instability and economic depression, or even thrive and grow when others become extinct, an organization needs to have developed essential ingredients: leadership, vision, and operational effectiveness; sometimes luck helps. A culture that allows tolerance for casualties, the understanding and acceptance that some will inevitably fall during the battle, is also key. In the most hard-hit industries during Greece’s deepest recession, organizations realized that those who leave need fair treatment while those who stay strive for hope. Successful downsizings involve investment in creating a shared vision, boosting morale, and installing an optimistic perspective. The process is difficult but the payoff is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to write history.�


Marketplace Greece by George Oikonomidis Civil Engineer, NTUA

GOBANKNOTELESS If we abolish the existence of banknotes we take a decisive step toward eliminating tax fraud and corruption.


he current economic crisis has generated a lot of conversation regarding tax fraud and tax avoidance, and the problems they pose for public finances. All parties agree that, regardless of the crisis’s deeper causes, better revenue collection would improve the state’s ability to pay its debts, as well as face major social problems such as poverty and unemployment. The following is a proposal to deal with all these obstacles, and help the country address its severe social problems. This may seem somewhat unbelievable, even impossible, at first glance. In fact, such a solution couldn’t have been discussed even a few years ago. However, with technological progress, such solutions lie within our reach, and the time is now to implement them.


All transactions thereafter, excluding those of very small value, will be carried out by credit or debit cards, or via internet or mobile banking.

My Proposal: How To Abolish Banknotes Imagine that, after taking all necessary legislative procedures at the European level, on 01/01/201X the 500€ and 200€ banknotes are removed from circulation. On 01/07/201X the same happens for the 100 € and 50 €. Finally, on 01/01/201X+1 the 20€, 10 € and 5€ are pulled. On this day, a new 5€ coin is introduced. The tiered time frame will help the public gradually adjust to the changes, and allow the necessary equipment and infrastructure to be installed. It will also provide time for depositing money in circulation at the banks. All transactions thereafter, excluding those of very small value, will be carried out by credit or debit cards, or via internet or mobile banking.

What I Am Not Proposing This idea, in various forms, has been around for some years now, but usually calls for a totally cashless society. My plan instead calls for the abolition only of notes, not coins, because the downsides of a currency are primarily associated with notes. This proposal is often confused with another idea, namely the use of alternative transaction units (among them bitcoin). This proposal does not replace the Euro as the official currency with any other form of cur-

rency. Instead, the proposal replaces only paper money with information transfers.

Why Keep Coins? Coins serve the small financial transactions of the population (newspaper, bread, candles in church, charity), for which, logically, it would be inconvenient to require any electronic action. Such small amounts obviously do not offer significant value to criminal activity.

Immediate Results 1. Abolishing banknotes allows European countries to fully supervise their economic and financial activity, allowing them to assess the entire tax base for direct (income) or indirect (VAT) taxation. 2. The increase in public sector revenues can provide for increased GDP growth and economic recovery. 3. Higher tax compliance allows for reduced tax rates and, thus, further enhances development. 4. The government can realize great savings by not issuing banknotes, especially with regard to transportation and security (estimated at 85 billion Euros for the Eurozone alone).

Who Will Oppose This Idea? Organized crime will be strongly opposed to this development. Tax-evaders will also be upset. However, they too will enjoy the benefits of a better and richer society.

Privacy Concerns Those who raise the issue of surveillance and personal data security should take into consideration that the state can already monitor anyone for whom it has a reason. Also, confidentiality provisions of transactions can be strictly enforced. The system of blind digital signature ensures the total anonymity of the payer, while the payee cannot hide the income.

Indirect Effects – Perhaps the Most Important! 1. This proposal would sharply reduce crime because, simply put, crime wouldn’t pay! 2. With banknotes removed from circulation, there would be no ground for drug dealing, human trafficking, gun smuggling, abductions, extortion, bribing— not even illegal gambling! 3. The proposal would reduce the risk of robberies, burglaries, thefts, kidnappings, as well as bribery, corruption, and blackmail. 4. This would release the potential of the state due to a massive reduction in the workload for a range of public services (courts, police, prisons).

The Response to Common Objections Many say, “this cannot happen.” In fact, until now, this could not happen because the necessary technology, mainly mobile telephony coverage, did not exist. Now, such a proposal can be immediately implemented. At the same time, the system of treasury bonds, as well as real estate property (land registries), show us that it is possible to eliminate the violent crime associated with values, provided such values are not immediately tangible and portable.

Extent of Implementation

With banknotes removed from circulation, there would be no ground for drug dealing, human trafficking, gun smuggling, abductions, extortion, bribing—not even illegal gambling!

The proposed transformation can be applied in any country having its own currency. An ideal candidate, the Eurozone may find the solution to be a catalyst for economic and social development, and to help solve the problem of illegal immigration (only legal immigrants would have the means to trade and therefore there will be no incentive for others to enter the market).

Last But Not Least: A Systemic Remark The proposal does not affect the capitalist system; it can continue functioning undisturbed. At the same time, it ensures liquidity for banks, since all the money will be deposited there. Banks will also benefit from cost savings on safety, and cash transportation. This proposal is a simple but effective tool that functions independent of politics. In any given country, it will promote better state economics and a safer society. What could be better than this?  A full description of this proposal with a detailed explanation of its functionality, can be found at



Europe’s Digital Priorities for 2013-2014 In December, the European Commission adopted seven new priorities for the digital economy and society. The digital economy is growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the economy, but this potential is currently held back by a patchy pan-European policy framework. Today’s priorities follow a comprehensive policy review and place new emphasis on the most transformative elements of the original 2010 Digital Agenda for Europe, namely: 1. Create a new and stable broadband regulatory environment 2. New public digital service infrastructures through Connecting Europe Facility 3. Launch Grand Coalition on Digital Skills and Jobs 4. Propose EU cyber-security strategy and Directive 5. Update EU’s copyright framework 6. Accelerate cloud computing through public sector buying power 7. Launch new electronics industrial strategy

Rethinking Public Service Civic engagement has a new face, and it is Code for America, an innovative non-profit based in San Francisco. Code for America partners with local governments to foster civic innovation. Through its various initiatives the group is building a network of cities, citizens, community groups, and startups, all equally committed to reimagining government for the 21st century. Its Fellowship program, for example, provides an opportunity for the web generation to give back by embedding developers and designers in city governments to collaborate with municipal leaders. This year Code for America has connected 26 fellows with eight cities nationally. But it’s not just about fellowships. Through the Accelerator program, Code for America supports disruptive civic startups, and through the Brigade program Code for America encourages civic participation by organizing local groups of civic technologists to take action in their communities.

Passport to a Better Job Do you want to improve the presentation of your CV? Have you heard about the European Skills Passport? The Passport enables people to improve the presentation of their CVs by bringing together their educational and training certificates in one place, providing evidence for the qualifications and skills declared in the CV. It is available for free in 26 languages on the Europass portal where an on-line editor helps users to create their individual passports. It complements the Europass CV which is used by more than 20 million Europeans. The European Skills Passport is one of thirteen actions launched under the Commission’s Agenda for New Skills and Jobs, which aims to make Europe’s labor markets work better.


Niko Bonatsos General Catalyst Partners, Fulbright Scholar, 2009-2010

What was your Fulbright Scholarship for? I was a Fulbright Scholar in 2009-2010 to read for an M.S. in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University. In what way was your U.S. experience valuable? It was a unique opportunity to familiarize myself with the world of high tech entrepreneurship, right at its birthplace, Silicon Valley. Besides, being a student and a researcher in cloud computing, I launched a social networking venture with a few of my friends and the cofounder of a high profile social network. Moreover, I had the privilege to meet with legendary entrepreneurs and venture capitalists that created tons of value and built household brands. This exposure helped me excel at my current job as an early stage venture capitalist, investing in IT companies with General Catalyst Partners in Palo Alto. How are you now trying to impact Greece? While being a student entrepreneur, I co-founded Silicon Valley Greeks and Greekamericans with George Zachary, a leading VC. This is a networking group for people with Hellenic heritage that are passionate about technology and startups. During the last two years we created the facemap of Hellenes in tech (in Silicon Valley & worldwide) and built a bridge with Greece. We organize events for founders, hackers, investors and startup enthusiasts. We helped jumpstart the Greek startup ecosystem by offering strategic advice, capital and connections to countless entrepreneurs and business executives.




W News / Ideas / trends Keep abreast of new science breakthroughs What you need to know about the telecoms business

What Will 2,000-TimeS Faster Broadband Look Like? According to Fast Company, Bangor University scientists claim to have reached such data speeds through clever signal processing and a similar kind of laser-and-fiber optic setup to today’s home fiber systems. Their solution can pump up to 20 gigabits of data per second down the fiber. That’s roughly a million times faster than dial up speeds. As the BBC points out, this is speedy enough to download a full HD movie file (not just a compressed low-res 700MB version) in just 10 seconds. This is one of the first reasons you’ll be wanting ultra-fast broadband in your home, but it’s only partly about current generation TV. The next wave in home entertainment—4k television—is 4000 pixels or so wide, versus the 1280 of an HDTV. This means that home TVs will now be capable of showing cinema-quality video. But thanks to this size, each frame of the video needs so much more data that it’ll push even fiber Internet tech. That’s where next-gen  Fast Company broadband will come in.

E.U. T C E R I With mutual investment stocks of €1.89 trillion, and trade in goods and services worth D €700 billion annually, the EU and USA enjoy the strongest economic relationship beEU-U.S. Relationship

tween any two economies in the world. Making this relationship work smoothly and reducing barriers and unnecessary burdens for transatlantic operators is the aim of transatlantic economic cooperation. DG Enterprise and Industry promotes regulatory cooperation with the American partners, taking into account the input from stakeholders. Since 2005, the European Commission and the US Government have held regular meetings of the High Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum to facilitate the exchange of best regulatory practice across industry sectors. Since 2007, the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC), advised by stakeholders, has been working at the senior political level to accelerate government-to-government cooperation on a wide range of economic issues. In November 2011, the EU and US leaders requested the TEC to establish a joint EU-US High Level Group on Jobs and Growth. The task of the Working Group is to identify and assess options for strengthening the EU-US economic relationship, especially those that have the highest potential to support jobs and growth. The underlying objective is to increase US-EU trade and investment to support job creation, economic growth and international competitiveness on both sides of the Atlantic. All about innovation A blog on marketing A documentary about manufacturing and its future Commentary on cleantech, carbon trading, energy, smartgrid, and the green economy The National Center for Technology Innovation (NCTI) Value innovation and Blue Ocean strategy What’s outside Innovation? It’s when customers lead the design of your business processes, products, services, and business models.

So Here’s to Living Life Miserable “In terms of lifelong learning, one of the most important things is to not get bored. If you get bored, guess what, everyone will figure it out. Boredom and the inability to be inquisitive and to learn more is death in a job. It’s death to your spirit, to the people working around you and to the people you work for.”—Carol Bartz



What is Crowdfunding? Crowdfunding is a collective cooperation of people who network and pool their money and resources together, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other organizations. Crowdfunding aims to reach a fund­ing goal by aggregating many small investors. Since President Obama signed the JOBS Act in April 2012, it has become a lot easier for small businesses in the United States to raise money online via crowdfunding. Previously, small businesses were limited to seeking investment from SEC accredited investors only; now nonaccredited investors (i.e. you and I) can invest in a startup to the tune of up to $1 million a year. One example of a hugely successful nonprofit crowdfunding venture is Kiva works with microfinance institutions on five continents to provide loans to peo-

ple without access to traditional banking systems, including U.S. businesses. While Kiva requires that you repay the loan over time, most crowdfunding opportunities aren’t loans and, as such, don’t involve traditional forms of repayment and interest. Instead, borrowers offer a form of payback or reward to encourage people to make the investment. One example is the funding model established by Kickstarter. If your business is of the creative kind – art, technology, film, photography, music – Kickstarter is a way to source funds from others. In exchange for investment (often as little as $25), borrowers “reward” investors with compelling returns. For example, a share in your business or even access to limited edition works, free products, invitations to parties and events, anything you believe is an attractive enticement.






Other cr owdfunding sites include Wefunder, crowdfunder, and RockthePost. S  ource:

Dining: For Business and Pleasure

Mama Roux Sometimes, casual fits the bill. Combine that with an eclectic menu, some funky jazz (not too funky), great prices and a welcoming staff—and lunch or dinner starts to be fun. Mama Roux in downtown Athens, opened by American John Higgens just over a year ago, has become a favorite spot to enjoy coffee or an after hours drink, a lively business lunch, or a dinner with a gentle buzz. The Mama Roux experience is ‘have what you want, when you want it.” A little Mediterranean (sometimes with a Middle Eastern accent), a little Mexican, a little French, and a little Southern USA combine into a polyglot menu that is not lost in translation. Mixed salads—the multicolor and the

Fatoush are favorites—a variety of meze that do duty as starters, sides, or part of selection for mains, and original soups of the day provide for a welcome start. Club sandwiches, burritos and quesadillas, burgers and falafel ensure international tastes are well looked after. And more


substantial items—steak with home cut fries, salmon souvlaki with a timbale of rice and vegetables, or one of the pasta selections—readily cater to meat, fish, and vegan eaters. A selection of desserts, a crème brule, a chocolate mousse, a creamy cheesecake, hit the sweet spot. Carefully made coffees, teas, and drinks, as well as a well-selected wine card, along with its delightfully diverse menu, make Mama Roux a good choice when something just a bit different is called for. Reservations recommended. Mama Roux 48 Aiolou St., Athens Tel 30 213 004 8382

The Business Bookshelf


How to Live in a World We Don’t Understand Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Allen Lane

In The Black Swan Nassim Taleb outlined a problem, and his revelatory new book Antifragile offers a definitive solution: how to live in a world that is unpredicatable, chaotic, and full of shocks, and how to thrive during periods of disaster. Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary, and proposes that things be built in an antifragile manner. For what Taleb calls the ‘antifragile’ is beyond the merely robust; it benefits from shocks, uncertainty and stressors. Antifragile is about what to do when we don’t understand. It is a new word because it is a new concept. Many of the greatest breakthroughs in human endeavor come from the innovation by trial and error that is part of antifragility. And some of the best systems we know of, including natural selection and evolution, have antifragility at their heart. How did the disaster of the sinking of the Titanic bring us closer to safety? Why does the stress on bones make us stronger? Why should you write a resignation letter on your first day in the office? Why should we detest the lack of accountability at the heart of capitalism? The most successful of us, the most daring and creative will take advantage of disorder and invent new, more powerful opportunities and advantages beyond our expectations. Irreverent and ambitious, Antifragile provides a blueprint for how to live-and thrive-in a world we don’t understand, and which is too uncertain for us to even try to predict. Taleb’s message is revolutionary: what is not antifragile will surely perish.

Jargonaut Edtech a.k.a. Education Technology An area of education that specifically focuses on e-learning and how to integrate blogs, podcasts, wikis, and other types of interactive technologies into the classroom to engage students and enhance the learning experience.

Gamification Gamification has entered the digital mainstream as both an interactive marketing method and an application. Gamification is the use of gaming technology for non-game applications, particularly consumer-oriented Web sites and mobile sites, in order to encourage people to connect with and use the applications

Moblog The short form of the phrase “mobile blog” or “mobile blogging” it is the practice of blogging using mobile devices (such as PDAs, cell phones, camera phones, telephones, and email).


by Travelogue

Photonic Hyperhighway The Top 10—Skiing in Greece By Andreas Stylianopoulos President, Navigator Travel & Tourist Services Ltd

Viotia, Parnassos—Fterolakka

Imathia, Vermio—Pigadia Imathia, Vermio—Seli

Super Node

Achaia, Helmos—Kalavryta

Grevena, Vassilitsa—Vassilitsa Kalavryta

Drama, Falakro—Falakro Pella, Voras—Kaimakstalan Evrytania, Evrytania—Karpenisi


Queer the Deal To ruin a potential business deal or arrangement despite all favorable odds. For example, “They are a liberal company, so don’t queer the deal by letting them know our conservative tactics.”

Viotia, Parnassos—Kellaria


The future Internet as envisioned by the British government. Researchers will devise ways to optimize fiber optics, aiming to create a network that’s one thousand times speedier than the fastest broadband.

A nickname for an avid online user who is considered an “influencer” because of his or her social networking followers, blogs, tweets, posts. Reproduced by Permission © 1994-2010 NetLingo® The Internet Dictionary at

Kastoria, Vitsi—Vitsi





ord was founded on the innovative spirit of Henry Ford, and the opportunity today to reinvent the driving experience excites us just as it probably would have him,” said Paul Mascarenas, vice president and chief technical officer of Ford. “Technology is enabling Ford to bring a new level of awareness and intelligence that will dramatically enhance our customers’ time behind the wheel.” As CTO, Mascarenas has been leading the team researching and developing new technologies for Ford vehicles, particularly in the area of driver assistance and mobile device connectivity. “The new Fusion sedan demonstrates how we’re making the car smarter using attainable and affordable technology and thus helping create a better driver,” continues Mascarenas. “Fusion features an unprecedented level of sensors for its driver assist technologies, machine learning techniques

to deliver more electric-only driving on the hybrids, and innovative graphical interfaces to help coach drivers to be as fuel efficient as possible.” With more than 145 actuators, 4716 signals, and 74 sensors including radar, sonar, cameras, accelerometers, temperature and even rain sensors, the 2013 Fusion can monitor the perimeter around the car and see into places that are not readily visible from the driver’s seat. These sensors produce more than 25 gigabytes of data per hour which is analyzed by more than 70 on-board computers. The actuators combined with signal information from the driver assist sensors can alert the driver to potential dangers, and actively assist with parking and lane keeping. “So far we’ve just scratched the surface of what is possible,” said Mascarenas. “In the Fusion, we have sensors and actuators that act independently as part of the assist features. The next phase, currently in research, involves

The American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce

State-of-the-art sensing, computing and communications systems are not only quickly changing consumer expectations in people’s everyday lives, but are driving innovation in the automotive industry at an incredible pace. sensor fusion, where engineers learn how to more comprehensively characterize the environment by blending multiple signals, and add externally available information through cloud connectivity.” According to Mascarenas’ predictions, top areas for car technology innovation in the coming years will include: • “Big data” analysis and intelligent decision making • Upgradeable, customizable hardware • Seamless integration across cloud ecosystems • Advanced machine learning • Biometrics • Prediction • Rapid data authentication “All of these areas of research are well within our reach,” concludes Mascarenas. “The key to readiness and implementation in Ford vehicles is ensuring the customer experience of these technology features trumps the technology itself.”


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Business Partners | January-February 2013  

The magazine of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce

Business Partners | January-February 2013  

The magazine of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce