It is a common secret that investments are one of the most important, if not the most important factor of a country’s economic growth and development and consequently the improvement of both the economic climate and the quality of life of its residents.
One does not have to be an economist or be a specialist in statistics looking for examples from the past to realize how important it is for a country to become an attraction for investments. Nor does one have to search a lot to understand that all around the world, developed countries have relied on attracting investment capital.
Greece is now on this path. With high extroversion, with significant procedural and legal innovations and through successive meetings, participation in fora and coordinated moves, Greece tries to lay the ground for a highly attractive environment for investors.
This vigilance is encouraging and the early examples seem to reduce investors’ uncertainty and reluctance.
The Greek businessman and investor Vyron Vasileiadis is the example of a man with perseverance and patience who has always been looking for the right conditions to effectively invest in the country and in the real economy rather than make “firework” investments.
In his 42 years today, he is active on environmental issues, undertaking port waste projects and offering emergency services in cases of marine pollution with his company “Antipollution S.A.”. He has also invested in energy with the company “Green S.A.”, one of the first Greek companies of electricity trading and supply.
The activities of Vyron Vasileiadis’ companies, in addition to the substantial investments in the country, are characterized by strong extroversion. “Antipollution S.A.”, for example, recently dealt with a huge project in Dubai, setting up the entire site where it scrap-cleaned, separated and repackaged hazardous and non-waste products. At the same time, “Green S.A.”, is active all over Europe.
“It is true that over the last years -obviously due to the recession but not only for that reason- there investors are in our country looking for an opportunity, taking advantage of the situation and leaving. Apart from the crisis, the state mechanism- the system- also had a great deal of responsibility for the fact that no investment had a significant value over the long term of our economy and the country’s productive fabric. Now it seems that something is going to change”, says Vyron Vasileiadis in «business stories» and adds:
“Unfortunately, invitations to investors are not enough. There has to be something tangible and in many different areas and I am not talking about motivation. I am talking about things that are simple and rational. And I only refer to things we have been taking about for years but only now something is moving. To put it simple the regulatory environment is one of them, as well as strengthening the institutional framework for research and innovation. Adapting processes to fast track standards for a wider range of investments. And finally, perhaps the most important of all, the radical rationalization of the licensing system”.
A few days ago, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, referring to the Ministry’s strategic goals, spoke extensively about the licensing framework and how this will change to facilitate those who want to invest.
Both Vyron Vasileiadis and those who deal with businesses, know that investments can create a positive shock and an «avalanche effect» with spectacular benefits to the Greek economy.
Their strength multiplies and applies to almost every area of national development. As business analysts admit, the government is right about placing the state mechanism and its institutions against the world market. It entails friendliness in the sense of private investments, stability in the political and economic environment, licensing and tax framework are the pillars of development of the necessary conditions to attract many and good investors.
A new day begins
As a result of all the above, Greek and foreigners are interested in the Greek economy. Vyron Vasileiadis who was proven to be constantly present during the Greek economic crisis, could not be far from these new developments. He actually prepares his next business step, with an investment of several million Euros.
“It is the VEN Engineering that belongs to Vasileiadis’ Group of Companies, with an industrial activity in the field of recycling and recovery of waste, sub-products and secondary raw materials.
We are now dynamically entering the field of commercial, industrial and craft hazardous and non-hazardous waste management in line with European and international standards and good waste-management and treatment practices. In this way, we ensure both the protection of the environment and public health.
With VEN Engineering and the investments in Attica and Boeotia (Aspropyrgos and Ritsona), our group of companies vertically integrates all its activities.
It is important for us to say that we are entering a -so far- oligopolistic sector, the sector of hazardous and non-hazardous waste management, as well as shipping waste. Our purpose through healthy competition is to provide additional solutions to customers and to fill possible gaps in the market.
With integrated waste management and utilization as the core of our activities, the company will manage tens of thousands of tons of industrial hazardous and non-hazardous waste. Depending on their category, the materials will be converted into alternative fuels, raw materials or marketable products”.
Investments, though, are not just a number in the economy. They have multiple extensions with a positive impact on culture, society and the environment.
According to Vyron Vasileiadis:
“Our goal through VEN Engineering is the maximum recovery of useful materials and the utilization of resources, in line with the principles of the circular economy, contributing to the development of the institution of recycling and energy recovery. In addition, the Group’s collaboration with Universities is also very important and further enhances the industry with international experience through the beneficial interconnection of scientific knowledge and actual application in the industry”.
Many people are wondering why the country is looking for foreign investors, ignoring the Greeks. Why do we keep searching one or more “deus ex machina” that will make our economy extrovert? Why don’t we pay the necessary attention to the Greek capital for the country’s development? The answer to the questions is given by Vyron Vasileiadis:
“There are many reasons for this. Excluding some very large investments such as Elliniko, the Greek investing capital seems indifferent. There is money that could be invested but there is no real interest.
I would tell you that maybe some Greek businessmen are afraid of taking the risk or they only want to cooperate with the State. Others may not have the know-how. There are definitely the skeptic ones, those who have taken a risk in the past and lost because of our political system.
However, what I am afraid of and do not want to believe it may be true is the possibility that no one has ever felt that this place is their home. The place to live and create. The place where they will make their legacy. I am an optimistic person. As a Greek, as a businessman and as an investor. I am not naive; no capital is ever invested to be lost later. We all want guarantees, but we must first start with ourselves. The four words that lead to success are perseverance, vision, work and partners”.
The persistent investor
There is a great “truth” behind the word “guarantees”. The truth of -at least until recently- a difficult business environment with the unnecessary obstacles to businesses and their investment plans.
However, there are people who consciously decide to overcome the obstacles and “be the first to ride the wave” even though in the years before, the difficult Greek reality would prevent anyone from getting involved. The question posed to Vyron Vasileiadis is whether these people finally see something that not everyone else sees:
“Just like everything in our life, investments are a risk. And once you decide to make an investment, until you see it succeed, it takes a lot of time and a lot of effort. What you must definitely have is the commitment to your vision and your choices. If we consider it in a pure human point of view, many depend on our decisions. Therefore, commitment is above all. It is the consistency of words and actions.
For better or for worse, we are neither born nor become businessmen. At some point, we turn into a businessmen through experience. And I believe that it is about time that this experience is gained by as many people as possible, through a functioning framework of investments with the state’s support and with the desire for creation from the generations to come.
At the end of the day, though, by investing in Greece, we are actually investing in the power of its people, in the minds that decided to stay here, to fight and to create. At the same time, we support a huge effort that has begun for our economy. It would not be a lie to say that by investing in Greece, we invest in ourselves… because we too will be here, working, giving our daily battles and we will stay here and maybe it has a greater value and a special symbolism if investments in Greece are also made by Greeks”.