Greece’s financial crisis started in 2009; since then, austerity programs and heavy taxes have brought the small Mediterranean country to its knees. In response, a number of social enterprises have emerged to combat the resulting brain drain and unemployment level that—at last count—numbers 856,000 as of July 2016.
Instead of emigrating to greener pastures in the EU and United States, these firms are digging in their heels to lift their country out of crisis. The following are 11 Greek social enterprises you need to know about in 2016.
Brace is a social cooperative enterprise that aims to “care for the carers,” supporting caregivers and children through educational, training and mentoring programs. Marte Meo Hellas—a initiative for training mental health professionals—is one such program.
Ithaca provides support for the homeless through a simple but powerful activity: washing their clothes to bolster dignity and self-esteem. The organization has developed a mobile laundry platform that operates in prominent areas of the city, allowing for easy regular access to the service.
Nable AMEA is a software development firm specializing in building mobile apps aimed at increasing the quality of life for people with disabilities, as well as other vulnerable social groups.
Greece is of course the birthplace of democracy; Wepolitics continues this tradition with its social network designed to revolutionize political expression. The platform aims to become a carrier of creative ideas, measurable views, meaningful reviews, and interaction at all levels of governmental policy.
Bloode is an online community and platform that facilitates the creation, promotion, and real-time servicing of ongoing calls for blood from patients in dire need of blood transfusions.
Solidarity Salt provides disenfranchised Greek and refugee women with a sustainable means of self-empowerment through the creation of a successful Greek sea salt export business.
Wise Greece’s mission is two-fold: to promote/sell high-quality Greek products, and to use resulting funds to acquire food and other resources for the elderly, economically-challenged, and other underprivileged groups.
Already the recipient of numerous awards and grants, Filisia creates devices for treating and rehabilitating sufferers of cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, and autism.
Using the dead leaves of seagrass found in abundance along Greece’s coasts, Phee creates beautiful cellphone cases and sunglasses with its patent-pending manufacturing process.
City of Errors has developed an interactive platform for encouraging Greek residents to proactively fix their city’s problems. The firm also provides creative services such as audio/video production and branding in support of socially-conscious projects.
Recycglobe has developed the first cloud-based platform for connecting users with recyclable materials—both liquid and solid—to private companies or municipal agencies in the business of collecting and treating waste.
These are just a few of the resilient Greek social enterprises making positive waves in the midst of trying times. As they say, hardship breeds compassion and creativity—be sure to keep these firms on your radar as they work to resolve the nation’s economic and social difficulties.