Establishing the Community of Greek Business Angels

by Maria Hala, May 26th, 2020

After two and a half months of social distancing and an almost complete shutdown of the local economy, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Greece has been proudly rated among the safest countries in the world. The main concern now is focusing on a healthy economic recovery. Responding to the current situation, the local Government proceeded with a bulk of generous measures, while keeping investments first on the list to mitigate the expected economic contraction. Among the most promising courses of action is the effort of establishing the Greek Business Angels’ community, through measures that support their existence.

The Greek innovative entrepreneurial community thrives. And this is a fact…..

The Greek entrepreneurial ecosystem is mainly venture capital dominated, with a generous support from European Investment Fund. On the other hand, Greek startup Teams have attracted around €2.5bn investments, have reached a global clientele and have achieved remarkable exits, over the last decade. Despite the 10 years of economic crisis and the heavy brain drain, the innovative entrepreneurial community of Greece is ready for the next decade. Brilliant scientific minds have become founders; venture capitalists have established a healthy entrepreneurial environment and the EIF has always stood by this effort. Well, the time has come to bring to the surface those anonymous entrepreneurs who have also supported the local startups ecosystem, not only financially, but also through their coaching and mentoring: the Greek Business Angels.

The Ministry of Development and Investments and in particular, the General Secretariat for Research and Technology announced supportive measures for business angels. In particular: a 50% tax reduction for up to €300.000 annual investments and the establishment of a startups’ registry platform, under the “ElevateGreece” initiative. The specific measures are a great relief for the seed and startup ecosystem, but also for the venture capital community, since the latter will be further concentrated to more mature Teams. On the other hand, the angel investors will be highly motivated to support a portfolio of local innovative Teams, at seed and startup level, through their expertise, network and financing capabilities. In addition, the local ecosystem will come closer to understanding the importance of angel investments, as a vehicle against unemployment (and “yes” Greece stands at the double digit level….) and as a support of one of the major components of economic expansion, the local entrepreneur. It is just the beginning, but soon expect angel groups, angel networks, certification and angel investors’ education to come that will aid the current investment group efficiently contribute to the local private equity sector.

To sum up, Greeks know how to handle a crisis. Over the last decade, a capable scientific generation has survived both from an economic and a health crisis. It is a great challenge and an opportunity, to stand up and try to find the best possible ways to support the next Teams of local entrepreneurial ventures. And business angels, as part of the real economy, know how to anticipate to this challenge!

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