Greek debt crisis: ‘I wasn’t paid for two years’

Setting up a business in a country that is suffering to get over a excessive financial disaster is rarely the maximum ideal of occasions.

So Greek entrepreneurs Dimitris Kokkinakis and Sophie Lamprou faced an uphill struggle after they set up their commercial enterprise in 2013.

Greece became beginning the long trek back from its debt crisis, which at one point appeared like it might force the u . S . Out of the eurozone. It had imposed drastic austerity measures in response to bailouts starting in 2010.

Then in 2015, the authorities announced capital controls, which means the quantity of money human beings could withdraw from banks became confined.

“It turned into a very huge surprise, not just for us, but for every person in Greece,” says Sophie.

Both entrepreneurs went without pay, whilst nevertheless paying their personnel.

“For years I wasn’t paid,” Dimitris says. “As quickly as capital controls started, the whole economy became frozen. Everybody was pronouncing to us, ‘You need to prevent’, but for us it changed into now not an option.”

Dimitris, who’s now 32, changed into compelled to go back and stay along with his parents. Any cash the business enterprise introduced in turned into put returned into the enterprise.

“For young humans to be independent and then have the boomerang effect… You pass again on your base in survival mode,” he says.

As citizens visit the polls in Greece on Sunday for the primary countrywide election because the quit of the u . S . A .’s international monetary bailout, Dimitris and Sophie stated their commercial enterprise is going through but extra uncertainty.

Greece’s ruling Syriza birthday celebration is going through a major venture after a setback in the current ballot for the European Parliament.

Dimitris says adapting to alternate is something they have become used to: “We need to be stubborn, and deal with complexity.

“Things can trade – politically they’re fluid, no longer only in Greece, but inside the EU.”

Dimitris and Sophie’s business, Impact Hub Athens, is a workspace for socially-conscious corporations in the Greek capital.

They set up in 2013 in an old deserted constructing in Psyrri, an area which as soon as had a horrific recognition, however is now stylish.

The enterprise grew organically, and now affords workspace for establishments include Ecocity, a volunteer organisation with environmental aims, and Liminal, which specialises in theatre accessibility.

To cope with political and economic uncertainty the two founders have focused on diversifying their customers and building resilience into the enterprise.