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Greeks innovate to survive financial woes

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 - 01:49

Eight years of a crippling recession and dwindling work prospects has compelled at least some Greeks to reboot, switch professions and innovate to survive. Hayley Platt reports.

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When times are hard you need a vision And for one Greek couple this was it. Wooden reading glasses made from old boats and furniture. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) ZYLO EYEWEAR OWNER, ELENI VAKONDIOU, SAYING: "It was very difficult and there were many times when we thought about giving up, but we believed in our efforts and in the product." They now make 2,000 pairs a year - each one selling for 250 to 300 euros. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) ZYLO EYEWEAR OWNER, PERIKLIS THERRIOS, SAYING: "We didn't expect it and we couldn't believe it. But I think it was deserved because we worked very hard." Eight years of recession has prompted many Greeks to retrain and innovate, in some cases turning a hobby into a business. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) SPEARGUN MAKER, DIMITRIS HATZIRODOS, SAYING: "I think if it had not been for the crisis, things would not have worked out this way. I would still have made spear guns for my friends but I would not have made it into a profession." Dimitris's kitchen cabinet business is now long gone. But his spear guns sell for up to 1,500 euros and he even has customers in Russia. In a country where one in four is out of work finding a niche market has rich rewards and not just financial ones. 400,000 Greeks have emigrated since 2009. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) HONEY MAKER, YANNIS KARYPIDIS, SAYING: "We were ready to leave for Britain if we had to, so we said to ourselves, 'If it works it works, if it doesn't it doesn't." And it did. Stayia Farm now produces 16 organic honey mixtures and has sold 70,000 jars so far this year. One type, infused with gold flakes, sells for up to 50 euros a jar. Crowd funding helped as government assistance was virtually non-existent. So too did bright ideas - proving perhaps that the mother of invention is indeed necessity.

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Greeks innovate to survive financial woes

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 - 01:49