The situation of female entrepreneurship in Greece: a comprehensive information bulletin in English issued by the Greek General Secretariat for Gender Equality

Dec 11, 2017




The English version of the thirteenth comprehensive e-bulletin of the Observatory of the General Secretariat for Gender Equality (GSGE), i.e. the governmental organization in charge of equality between women and men, has been uploaded on its website: .

It deals with the thematic area of Women and Economy and statistical data are presented for women’s entrepreneurship in Greece and in the European Union.

A. Finding a definition for women’s entrepreneurship, accepted by all member states in the European Union, has been an issue for several years. There is no concord among all Member States (e.g. some focus on self-employed persons, while others include freelance doctors in entrepreneurship).  The European Commission usually uses the following definition for planning and implementing policies: women’s entrepreneurship refers to businesses in which 50% of the property belongs to a woman and the management is carried out by a woman.

B. According to the World Bank, women entrepreneurs own slightly more than 30% of the officially registered businesses worldwide. Corresponding percentages appear in Greece and the European Union, where about 1/3 of self-employed persons are women.

C. In Greece, in 2016, the ratio of self-employed women and men to the total workforce is notably high, compared to EU28, as is the case for previous years. More specifically, the self-employment indicator for 2016 shows that 29,50% of total working women in Greece are self-employed, while the ratio of self-employed women to the total working women in EU-28 is only 11,80%. Generally, since 2007 (year of establishment for the specific indicator in the EIGE’s database), Greece precedes in women’s self-employment among all member states of the European Union.

It is worth mentioning that the number of self-employed persons in Greece was reduced in the last quarter of 2016, due to the reformation of the insurance/pension policies by law 4387/2016.

D. According to the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research’s last report for entrepreneurship in Greece (IOBE), when a person is pushed to entrepreneurship due to lack of other employment options, this is called necessity-driven entrepreneurship. In Greece, because of the high unemployment rates, starting a new business is more a survival option than a chance to take advantage of a business opportunity. It is, however, positive that, in 2015, the lowest necessity-driven entrepreneurship rate was noticed since 2008, the beginning of the economic crisis in Greece. Generally, as shown in the figure below, women’s necessity-driven entrepreneurship is only slightly higher than men’s (24% against 21%).

Women’s start-ups in the period 2014-2015 were raised from 5,8% to 6% (210.000 start-ups), while men’s startups were decreased from 9,9% to 7,5% (250.000 start-ups).

E. In 2015, the entrepreneurship gap between women and men was blunted for the first time since 2009. It’s also the third year in a row that there was an increase in the amount of women’s start-ups, so we could say it is now a trend. Despite the difficulties in discerning between entrepreneurship and self-employment, it’s a fact that women still encounter many obstacles in establishing and operating their businesses.

F. The role of the close family in Greece is decisive and defines the relationship between the informal investor and the recipient of the funding: 69% are people that belong to the immediate family and a 15,5% concerns people from the wider family circle. Thus, an overwhelming 85% of “informal investors” are simply family members, which may even take decisions under the psychological pressure of high unemployment rates to fund a venture that starts some member of the close family. According to the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), “informal investors” in Greece are mostly women. More specifically, the percentage reaches more than twice of European average (55,5% against 26,8%).


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