Haris Makryniotis is a budding entrepreneur’s dream come true in Greece. After spending the past seven years at McKinsey & Company in Athens where he advised senior management of the world’s leading organizations on issues of strategy, organization and operations, Makryniotis is now helping small Greek businesses get their big break.
Not only is he coaching them on ways to weather the current economic crisis, he’s helping them to flourish and grow into companies that can create hundreds (if not thousands) of jobs and generate significant revenue.
A London-trained economist who has also worked in France and the United Kingdom, Makryniotis is the new managing director of Endeavor Greece – the newest affiliate of the worldwide non-profit that supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets.
Endeavor is the only non-profit of its kind. Its “mentor capitalist” model breaks down economic and cultural barriers to entrepreneurship through strategic advising from a network of world-class business leaders.
Makryniotis is determined to help budding entrepreneurs jumpstart private sector development in Greece.
In a recent interview with CNBC, he said it is now the time for a “total reboot of the economy”.
“It was time to focus on growth to get out of the crisis,” he said. “Now is the time for entrepreneurs to flourish and the time for creativity. We need to create new business models and jobs and have a bottom-up approach rather than top-down theoretical approach.”
The Greek division of the global non-profit organization is the newest group aimed at helping new companies create economic growth, jobs and affluence that will boost local communities.
Already operating in locations such as Latin America, Turkey, Egypt and Jordan, Endeavor says it has helped entrepreneurs create 200,000 jobs and generate over $5 billion in revenues worldwide.
According to Makryniotis, debt-stricken Greece has just as many investment opportunities as any other emerging market.
“Greece meets a number of criteria for successful entrepreneurship – there is a crisis and there is an opportunity,” he said.
More than a quarter of Greeks in the labor force are currently unemployed. Greece is struggling in its fifth year of a deep recession. But that’s not enough to scare away entrepreneurs who are putting their money and faith in Greece’s recovery.
Makryniotis has a lot of work ahead of him. According to Michael Chandris, who chairs Endeavor’s Greek division, Greece’s economic crisis has unleashed a new wave of entrepreneurship. “Thousands of young people are no longer content with accepting a civil service job but are keen to develop their entrepreneurial ideas,” he said in a September 12 press release announcing the new Greek branch of this ambitious non-profit. “Endeavor can become a catalyst to this process and thus have a substantial impact on a society in transition.”
Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg said: “I have always believed that some of the best entrepreneurs emerge in times of chaos. Greece is an extremely resource- and culture-rich country. There are huge opportunities for entrepreneurs, both in traditional industries like food and agriculture and in emerging sectors like biotech. We look forward to working with Greece’s High-Impact Entrepreneurs.”