The number of Filipino entrepreneurs is disproportionate to their population in Greece
Of the more than 50,000 Filipinos in the country, their business community is miniscule. One reason could be a cultural aberration, lack of managerial acumen coupled with scarcity of resources.
“I think the Filipino entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive. What we lack is capital and managerial acumen,” said Marlita Rondon Cheetham, a former Filipino banker who now lives with her husband in Greece
All over the Greece, the number of Filipinos as entrepreneurs has seen a slow increase.
“Filipinos in Greece continue to grow in number and more of them shift from merely being workers to becoming entrepreneurs opening up businesses in the capital and in Greece” Agnes Pedrosa-Marelid told tsismosaonline.com.
The majority of small and medium-enterprises owned by Filipinos in Greece are into beauty salons, coffe shop, and internet cafes.
The Philippines Embassy in Athens
Philippine Ambassador to Greece AMBASSADOR MEYNARDO LOS BANOS MONTEALEGRE is happy that more Filipinos are taking to businesses.
“The budding entrepreneurs should take inspiration from their successful compatriots and our embassy is too happy to offer any help. I urge them to take advantage of the information of your website,” he told tsismosaonline.com.
Backed by the Aquino administration, the initiative aims to promote a comprehensive financial literacy education and productive investment opportunities among Filipinos working overseas.
Even as Filipino brands are getting more popular in Greece, non-Filipino entrepreneurs are cashing in on the demand and growing their businesses.
Filipinos are fewer in number compared to citizens of other Asian countries in Greece such as India and Pakistan, but they do fuel growth to retail and other consumer-driven businesses prompting foreign investors to pump in fresh capital to Filipino brands and taste.
Home to an estimated over 50,000 Filipinos, Greece is awash with various Filipino products and brands–food, skincare, toiletries, condiments, canned goods, processed food, clothing lines and more.
Popular franchised Filipino restaurants like Barrio Fiesta, Max’s Restaurant, Tapa King and Chowking are not yet oparated in Greece
One of the Philippines biggest fast-food chains, Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC),is not yet oparated in Greece
Lack of capital not entrepreneurial spirit
Filipinos’ entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive but a number of factors like lack of resources, limited business acumen pose as challenges to setting up their own businesses.
“I don’t think Filipinos in general lack the entrepreneurial spirit but their overall situation in a foreign land makes them averse to setting up own businesses. Filipinos are content working for companies, they come here to a have a better life and the majority send money back home,” said Pedrosa-Marelid.to tsismosaonline.com.
“Not much is set aside to risk for setting up a business. The risk is just too high for many. But for those who have lived here and seen the potential of setting up a business, plus those who have the capital and good business idea, they venture into business. Some of them still keep their day jobs despite being business owners,” she added.
Jang Sabay, an outlet manager at her asian food shop, said Filipinos are talented but there’s just not enough opportunities for them to put up businesses.
She said the high cost of doing business as well as restrictions on foreign workers to engage in activities other than their specified jobs, restrict Filipinos in trying their luck with business ventures in other countries.
“The Filipino entrepreneurs here are usually permanent residents or married to Greeks , indian or Pakistani. It is costly to do business in Greece,” she said.
Patricia Corre, a former professor from Manila, said Filipinos certainly have the skills but they need more government encouragement and support to take on higher risks.