Do you have to leave Greece to start your career?

We talked to Daphne Xourafi this week and our conversation raised one daunting question.

Can you find work in Greece if you are a highly trained and skilled young professional?

The social and economic crisis has deeply affected the living conditions and opportunities in Greece, resulting in unemployment and a poor working environment. Human capital flight, or brain drain is usually described as a problem that needs to be solved.

However, there are benefits that can be derived from this process. The country can naturally profit when talented workers return with new competencies and carry the prospect to create better job possibilities for Greeks. Another phenomenon that also acts as a bridge between the Greek and the international scene is the attraction of foreign human capital. Professional nomads are not merely tourists but they come to Greece to start a new life. They spread a strongly desired global mindset by carrying professional, social and personal skills.

Usually, the returners and the nomads choose to shelter their activities in co-working spaces, like the creative hub Stone Soup, because of the limitless networking potential and the inspiration one such dynamic environment may offer.

The effects of brain drain are quite visible in our daily practice, but should we despair?

Daphne was introduced to us as a talented, young professional looking for opportunities abroad. She has spent six months in Paris, at Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines with the Erasmus programme, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Mass Media from the University of Athens (UOA) and a Master’s Degree in Computer Animation and VFX from the University of Dundee.

Daphne is a passionate and determined person driven by her passion and ambition to distinguish in her profession. She has a broad range of interests and skills that she acquired during her education or she was self-taught, such as illustration, concept and comic art and 2D & 3D animation and she is already acknowledged for her work in some of these. In 2017 she illustrated a children’s book written by Cleopatra Deliou, a lecturer of Athens University of Economics and Business, and she released her own comic in Comicdom Athens Convention called “Requiem in Deep Blue”.

Both experiences were very important to build her confidence as an artist and gain constructive feedback to help her improve creatively and to build her network. A few months after graduating, Daphne returned to Greece, while seeking positions worldwide, in concept art, character design and animation, with the long-term plan to direct animation films. Asking for career advices she ended up at Stone Soup where she had the opportunity to network and to cowork on some freelance projects.

Daphne considers Stone Soup as an environment where global job possibilities come up all the time through getting to know all kinds of freelancers and you may find yourself committed in ongoing or future projects very naturally. Thus, she came to realisation that going abroad is not the only choice, because there are places for people to perform and network in an international setting in Greece too.

So if you are planning to leave Greece…

We hope we gave you enough reasons why you might want to drop by and check what is simmering for you here!

If interested you can reach here Daphne’s portfolio and LinkedIn profile.

 

5 Reasons why you should start your business in Greece

Greece’s long history, ancient mythology, and beautiful tourist attractions make it one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. Ιt is estimated that in 2018 alone, over 32 million people visited Greece, placing the country at the top of many “Best Countries to Visit in Europe” lists. Without a doubt, the term “Greek summer” is well-known across the world because it is the best season to visit, attracting countless foreigners looking to enjoy endless sunny days and some of the best beaches in the world.

However, everything changed when the economic crisis hit the country in 2009. While tourists still came to visit, there was a drop in overall investment in the country and locals became deeply afraid of starting businesses in Greece.

Now nearly a decade after the crisis first broke, things are changing for the better. New businesses, companies, and organizations are being set up in the capital city of Athens, proving that it is still a great market to invest in. Let’s take a look at why more people are starting their businesses in Greece today, and five great reasons to start if you haven’t already.

#1 Inspiration

Greece is an amazing country to get to know, with all the historical and tourist spots available to visit throughout the entire year, all relatively close to the center of the city.  Working in such a beautiful place is itself quite inspiring, and being surrounded by museums, art exhibitions and cultural events can be the right motivation for anybody to start their business, especially if it involves creativity. A perfect example is our resident Peter, a musician, who chose Greece because he truly felt inspired by the country for his work.

 

#2 Hospitality

When it comes to the Greeks, they are most known for being very friendly to newcomers and, in the words of our resident Max B., people here are more “Mediterranean”, which means that they are more open to start a conversation, share new ideas and meet new people. Greek hospitality is worldwide famous and it is part of the identity of the people living here, as well as those who choose the country for work or for their vacation. These  “Mediterranean” traits of the people are great for a stimulating working environment, networking, and building your brand messaging.

#3 Location

Greece’s strategic geographic position can be very useful to access other foreign markets, such as the international trade with many European, Asian, and African countries. If your company needs some good transportation to sell their products or services, getting to know the Greek ports and their links to the world market is the best way to start in the industry and become part of it. In addition, Greece is a member of the EU and EMU, which consists itself shows itself as a great opportunity for business.

#4 Cheaper Costs

The living costs in Greece are quite low in comparison to other european or north american countries, and, even though the average salary here is lower, you can enjoy a better life quality with less money. Also, the greek diet is one of the most famous in the world, with low fat organic food and lots of fruit and vegetables making it healthy and cheap. You can also find quality food and wine that costs much less than in other countries (25 to 50% lower than in many northern European and North American countries).

#5 Innovation Demand

Following the economic rise, the country’s startup culture is gradually growing stronger . New demands and new possibilities are increasing in diverse market fields,opening up more opportunities for innovation and the growth of new businesses.

One of our residents Lucy Xu came from the United States to create The Port, a company adapting the best entrepreneurial practices and business culture from the U.S. for the creative and innovative Greek startup ecosystem. It is the combination of these new and existing minds within the local tech ecosystem that contributes to a strong culture of originality, slowly transforming Greece into a global tech hub.

 

Last year, Athens was voted the Capital of Innovation, and today it has increasingly become the home to digital nomads, expats, and long-term international visitors. We are seeing the creation of more events dedicated to help these new businesses, such as workshops, hackathons and startup weekends bringing together tech entrepreneurs and creating a culture of technology and innovation

Stone Soup

Greece is a country that is constantly innovating, and it provides a bright future for those who want to build a brand and start a business. And in order to connect the national and international talents, Stone Soup was born as a coworking and collaboration space for startups, freelancers and digital nomads established in the heart of Athens.

If you want to know more about it, keep up with Stone Soup on our social media: www.facebook.com/StoneSoupGr/.

Are you an architect? Let a coworking space inspire you

 

Iris Papadatou is the co- founder of You&Me Architecture, a company that was established 4 years ago in the UK. She set up the company with her best friend and co-partner Alicja Borkowska.

Iris and Alicja have known each other for 18 years. Their friendship started during their studies, until one day they decided to build their own company. Iris states: “I think is important in any creative business that you see eye to eye with the person that you establish something.” Soon after, they expanded to Athens, Greece, employing freelancers.

Their expertise lies in public realm projects, retail, commercial interiors and exhibition design. By mixing architecture, public space, art and community participation, YOU&ME aim to have an impact in the regeneration of society’s identity.

YOU&ME in Athens

Iris explains that YOU&ME is a community based, multi-disciplinary architecture platform and co-design is one of their main areas of interest and expertise. So with this concept of collaboration in mind, their presence in a co-working space gives them a lot of opportunities. Networking and sharing ideas and knowledge with people from diverse sectors makes the coworking space a fruitful ground to grow their business.

As Iris said: “The whole concept about our practice is collaboration, so on all of our projects we work with creators and we embrace that process. Our presence at Stone Soup is a good starting point, because I’m already starting to think how we can have some more collaborations with different disciplines and enjoy this creative dialog that the space provides us.”

At the moment, most of their clients are UK-based, but the majority of the production and design activity of the company happens in Greece. However, Iris does not see that as a barrier, in fact she considers it an advantage, since  working from a different place gives you more flexibility in terms of schedule and a different creative perspective etc. Technology gives us different possibilities nowadays. Work is always attached to your computer, so you can take it with you everywhere you go and meetings can adapt and be set up via video calls . “We did not plan that two base situation. It happened and now we try to make that work. We say that we have an international practice and we can have the meetings via Skype.”

YOU&ME in London

Since 2012 YOU&ME have been working on UK public sector High Street Regeneration projects for local councils. These projects consist of transforming declined urban neighborhoods into nice areas to live and work in. As an architect, Iris is considering both the social aspects, while upgrading and modernizing urban contexts at the same time. Working with local residents and shopkeepers to regenerate their image, branding and actual shop premises is what YOU&ME are doing at the moment. “We get in touch with people who would never be exposed to this type of architect’s service, and this is great. We learn a lot throughout the process as well”, Iris observes.

Iris’ next steps are to open and expand their business in the Greek market. Working at Stone Soup for one month now, the idea is to link up with local creators and establish a network of collaborators, in a similar manner to their way working back in the UK.

Check out their beautiful work by visiting: https://www.youandmearchitecture.com/work

The first conference & General Assembly of the European Creative Hubs Network

The European Creative Hubs Network was a 2 year-long project (2016-2018) partially funded by the European Union. The project’s main goal was to unite creative hubs across Europe by forming bridges of communication and collaboration amongst creatives, entrepreneurs and freelancers from different sectors who could share their experience, exchange knowledge and explore possibilities of cooperation.

In Autumn 2018, while the project was coming to an end, the Network that emerged from ECHN started planning their next steps. In order to continue with their vision of bringing together creatives and entrepreneurs across Europe the Network decided to hοld its 1st Conference and General Assembly in Athens, Greece on 11th-13th April 2019. It will be the first official community meeting and the election of the Steering Committee.

At Stone Soup, we are very excited to take part in this initiative and we look forward in meeting everybody in person. It’ll be a great chance for networking and talking about ECHN’s progress and future steps as a newly founded collaborative organization.

Save the date and stay tuned for more info about the event and registration that will be announced soon!