The power of female entrepreneurship “transforms” Greece
The penetration rate of women at the highest levels of management of Greek businesses shows a rise over time, appearing dynamically at the forefront of the Greek economy and their "success stories" have been increasing rapidly in recent years, focusing on technology, innovation and research.Despite decades of anachronistic perceptions, social barriers and difficulties, women founders and Startuppers are now one of the strongest "pillars" of the Greek Startup ecosystem and highlight their talent, creativity and leadership skills
A century ago the presence of women in business was as rare as pink diamonds at that time or in our days the… Californium. A few decades ago analysts said that successful examples in business were the “exception to the rule”, but the truth (as history proved later) was that they were behind dozens of “success stories” around the world.However, in recent years, women have officially and dynamically entered the forefront of entrepreneurship, with technology and innovation as their “springboard”, highlighting some of the rarest characteristics of top entrepreneurs such as unconventional thinking, pioneering perception, creativity and of course intelligence. After all, in the Guinness Book of Records the man with the highest IQ in world history (with 228) is a woman: the American Marilyn Vos Savant.By the criteria of the international organization high IQ Mensa is far smarter than the most famous men of science, literature and business such as Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Alan Turing or Leonardo da Vinci, since the measurement of her IQ exceeds any previous record. A contemporary “Marie Curie.”
According to the official data of international studies in Europe, Asia and America, in the last decade thousands of founders who created successful Startups with international recognition and businesses that evolved into giants with a value of hundreds of millions up to … billions, they are women. A new generation of women with high quality education, significant professional experience and especially with confidence, know-how, creativity, leadership skills and vision.
Many of the most famous business stories both globally and in Greece, which overturn the common perception of the traditional “entrepreneur” (man, white, smart, perfectionist and successful), bring the… seal of a woman. Even more pronounced is the participation of women in senior management positions of multinationals and groups, on the boards of companies and even in the position of managing director (CEO).
From the exceptions to the… international discrimination
The difficulties faced by women entrepreneurs have always existed and continue to be of concern to governments and international organisations. Historically, women began to make a more dynamic entrance in the 90s first in the USA and later in Europe and Greece, where the mentality maintained the view that entrepreneurship is an almost male-dominated “sector.”This antiquated but dominant mentality kept women away from high-ranking management positions for decades and even more so created insurmountable barriers to their entry into the business world as founders or shareholders of both Startups and traditional businesses, with few exceptions until the middle of the previous decade.
However, these exceptions were also based on the so-called “family businesses”, where women had increased participation due to the family relationship with the founder or the founding group of the main shareholders.
Over time at a domestic level one can think of the once mighty garment company “Raxevsky”, which was founded by Eleni Raxevsky in 1976 and then expanded abroad, developing many stores and writing its own history in the clothing sector.
On the other hand, in America, Oprah built her own “media empire” since 1986, with an emphasis on television, radio and print production and a turnover of many billions of dollars per year.
An important role in the development of female entrepreneurship in recent years has also been played by the “revolution” of social media. There are not a few women who succeeded effectively leverage platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Youtube to be able to build their audience, which then helped them “open up” to the business world.
A great example in this case is none other than the case of the Kardashian-Jenner family, whose women managed to build an entire “empire” through their promotion on social media.
The emergence of successful women
In the list of women who have met success and recognition (in some cases starting from scratch including names such as Oprah Winfrey, Bethenie Frankel and Arianna Huffington-Stasinopoulou of Greek descent in the United States, Lilian Betancourt (L’Oreal) or Maria Sklavenitou, Ioanna Papadopoulou and Melina Travlou in Greece, which have charted – each in their own field – a successful course and are ideal examples of what we call “women with vision”.
Even in the Greek ecosystem of Startups, behind some of the most important success stories (now known as “success stories”) lies the decisive contribution of a dynamic woman, for example, the co-founder of Instashop, Ioanna Angelidaki, who made headlines internationally in August 2020 due to the acquisition of the company by the German Delivery Hero for the amount of 360 million dollars.
In fact, on the issue of female entrepreneurship, Greece has made leaps forward thanks to the heyday of Startups specializing in technology, where women have been able to show off their entrepreneurial skills, despite their low presence in the field of research and science.
The top Greek Women Founders
In fact, on the issue of female entrepreneurship, Greece has made leaps forward thanks to the heyday of start-ups specializing in technology, where women have been able to show off their entrepreneurial skills, despite their low presence in the field of research and science.
In the last 3 years the issue of female entrepreneurship has come to the forefront not on the occasion of International Women’s Day as usual but the announcements for funding and acquisitions, starring female founders, Startuppers and fund managers.
A study of the Greek Startup ecosystem by Found.ation showed that only 9 out of 47 Startups have been founded by women and therefore 19.14% (almost 2 out of 10 companies).
According to the CapsuleT accelerator (of the Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Industry) in the 7 programs it has completed so far, 23.6% of the founders or co-founders are women as well as 28.2% of their executives.
Also, a survey by IOBE had recently shown that the percentage of early-stage female entrepreneurship in Greece doubled to 7.6% in 2019 from 3.8% in 2018. However, this upward trend was halted in 2020, due to the pandemic (2020-2021).
However, in the Greek ecosystem of Startup entrepreneurship, the cases of women who are distinguished as business leaders are several and each with its own unique history.
As a case study of female entrepreneurship could be recorded the case of the co-founder of Instashop, Ioanna Angelidaki, having gained international recognition in the field of ecommerce. Abroad you can also see the co-founder and CPO of Lenses.io Christina Daskalaki and the founder and CEO of Luta Security, Katie Moussouri.
In Greece, success and recognition as role models of female entrepreneurship have been won in recent years by the founder and Managing Director of Workathlon Katerina Santikou, the founder and CEO of Doctor Anytime Eleftheria Zourou, the co-founder and CRO of Clio Muse Daphne Tsevrenis, the cofounder and CSO of Valuelenz Jenny Tantidou, the CEO of DEVA Group Valia Papadimitriou and the CEO of Herado Dr. Marianthi Fragkopoulou.
Particularly important success in the field have also met the co-founder and COO of Owiwi Athina Dova, the founder of Agroapps Machi Symeonidou and the co-founder and CEO of Simpler Rania Lambrou.
In the list of women who contribute to the success of some of the top Greek Startups belong Zina Mavroidi (e-Fresh.gr), Ioanna Stanegloudi (Finclude), Maya Thanou (Apeikon Therapeutics), Vasiliki Rentoumi (Langaware), Rebecca Palaiologou (Inverzio) and Kyriaki-Korina Hadjigeorgiou (AGRO-U).