The financial crisis poses risks, but also many opportunities, say Greek businessmen who are determined to defy the general negative sentiment in the country. "Greek companies should no longer depend on the country as it was until now and learn to work on the free market" believes FrieslandCampina Hellas CEO, Grigoris Sklikas. He makes it clear that many of the changes that Greece is experiencing today are urgent and entrepreneurship should be separated from the protectionism of the state in order to become truly competitive. FrieslandCampina Hellas is a company which works primarily on the dairy products, baby foods and condensed milk market. The Greek branch of the company employs around 470 people and it supplies over 20,000 food stores, as well as some pharmacies and other outlets. "It is time to make sure that we can manage, despite the difficulties," said Sklikas, who remains positive for the future.
The same opinion shares also the head of the Athens Brewing Jac Van Herpen, who shares the idea that a crisis provides opportunity for economic development and progress of companies. The only condition in this situation is for entrepreneurs and their companies to quickly adapt to the new conditions. Corporate strategies must be adapted to the new needs of consumers, without hurting the established corporate values and philosophy. The Athenian Brewery SA is the largest beer producer in the Greek industry and was founded in 1963. It has plants in Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras, as well as facilities in Lamia, where mineral water is produced. Since 2008 the company dramatically increased the amount of barley purchased by Greek producers, and in 2009, 50 percent of the production needs of Amstel and ALPHA beer brands are barley from local producers. Jac Van Herpen said that entrepreneurs must not lose their optimism in these conditions, because after a crisis there is always rise.
"The crisis is an opportunity to learn from our mistakes," presents another positive side of the economic hardships of Greece Executive Director of the Greek branch of Procter & Gamble, Robert Van Papelendam. "Nobody likes to change things around themselves and see how good until now practices turn about, but it is time to adapt to new realities," said the head of P & G, who also stresses that world history is full of large and small economic shocks, but this did not prevent long-term development and entrepreneurship. Robert Van Papelendam stresses that what we live today has happened in the past and it should make us optimistic that we can overcome today's difficulties.
The strong ones and entrepreneurs will survive the crisis, says General Manager of Retail Banking of the National Bank, Andreas Atavasopoulos. He is more skeptical than his colleagues, but believes that companies that inspire confidence and play honestly and openly will undergo tribulation of the financial crisis and will be able to expand their operations. In turbulent periods, like the present, consumers are looking for stability. Any company which can provide quality service at a maximum logical price, will not only can keep the market but will also expand their customer flow.
One not so positive side for consumers is that large companies and producers put a priority on cutting costs rather than reducing prices in order to increase sales volume.