If you think they take the piss in Britain… it’s shit in Greece

If I were the Greek government, or a Greek bank, I would be doing my utmost to encourage legitimate, tax-paying start ups who had an eye on harnessing ecommerce to export goods.

That’s exactly what www.oliveshop.com/ tried to do. Based in Athens and hoping to plug into the burgeoning trends of ecommerce, they sought to establish a website selling olive oil based products overseas. This article tells of their long struggle battling with redtape and bureaucracy.

Astonishingly, in Greece, it’s actually more difficult to start up an online enterprise than a bricks and mortar shop because of laws related to processing payments, according to founder Fotis Antonopoulos.

“An online store is more complicated than a regular store basically because of the way payments are carried out,” he said. “Most stores begin operating after receiving only the approval regarding  their brand name, as the bureaucracy involved takes such a long time to complete that it is simply impossible to keep up with the operational costs, such as paying rent on obligatory headquarters, without making any sales.”

In all, it took the company 10 months to get all the paperwork in order and permission to trade. What was the most onerous hoop to leap through? All shareholders were required to provide stool samples as part of a medical.

It’s no wonder that the Greek economy is spluttering towards oblivion, when it’s so very difficult to start up a tax paying enterprise. Such onerous requirements just go to show why so much Greek business is carried on under the radar with little money trickling into the national coffers.

So the next time you complain about British red tape taking the piss, remember that it could be so much much worse.