We Greeks, have to reconcile that our kids will have to be more competitive than our state-supported generation for a benefit which will probably be minor to what we used to.
Last week I participated at the Innovation Contest of Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB) as a member of the Assessment Committee. More than 50% of the candidates of the final round presented highly ambitious business plans and practicable entrepreneurial proposals. I would like to stay to a specific candidacy which highly impressed me. The proposal was presented by a team of 5 and this alone pointed out that team work is what Greece misses. The participants are sophomores of the engineering AUEB program and appeared united sharing roles and nuances. Even if high school doesn’t help students to be familiar with economic rules and theories, this promising team has elaborated a realistic model with goals and purposes. If Greek society is not friendly with entrepreneurial aspirations, Greek academic community is rather unfriendly, if not negative, with businesses and doesn’t favour start-up endeavors. The team of 5 supported a five-crafted business plan and had already worked on a pilot project, acquiring more than 1.000 clients around the world. I need to point out their international point of reference in contrast to the majority of Greek businesses, which mainly form Greece’s obsessions and characterize its autistic orientation.
The calm immigrants’ power
Armando is impatient… He is a 16years old high school student. His family, one of the thousands Albanian families in Greece, migrated over the 90’s, upon the communist regime’s decline. Armando’s family settled on a Greek island, his father works mainly in constructions’ industry when he’s also occupied at some agricultural activity, when the situation occurs, while his mother works as a hotel maid. Armando dreams to succeed in entering a Greek University to study Business Administration. His home is very close to a resort I visit several times every year, and last time I met him, he noticed me working with my notebook. In fact, he found this as an excuse to approach and ask my advice on what extra curriculum topics to study, in order to succeed the University entrance exams.
Armando usually plays games with his elder brother. Since our last meeting he keeps contacting me via Facebook, 2 – 3 times per week asking for sources and tips. So far I have not managed to respond to his multipart requests. It is not easy to spot a few relevant sources for a 16years old teen, as not only his environment but mainly his school cannot support. All in all, Armando’s family is the fortieth one of Albanian origin I had the opportunity to observe, over the last 15 years. All of them are characterized with the same qualities and attributes that I slightly recall of Greek society in the 60’s. They starve for progress, in terms of family wealth and education. They work hard and prudently manage their family budget. Greeks have been biased against Albanians and the minority of Albanians law-breakers is not a good excuse. Bottom line, the hundreds of thousands of immigrants’ maybe one of the best assets for recovery. Albanians, Bulgarians, Polish, Romanians, Egyptians who have already been consolidated in the Greek economy and society are usually more productive than their Greek fellow workers and prone to accept the internal devaluation of working cost. We Greeks, have to reconcile that our kids will have to be more competitive than our state-supported generation for a benefit which will probably be minor to what we used to. Moreover, we have to admit that it is not late to face the opportunity of cooperation with immigrants. Their advantages are more than shrinked salaries and neglected insurance costs.