How to start a business in Greece?
Greece is globally regarded as a gateway to Southeast Europe and the Middle East. A developed country, Greece's economy is primarily based on the service sector and industry, with agriculture comprising 3% of the total value of goods and services. The most important industries are tourism and merchant shipping. For the country to get out of a serious economic crisis, the government has set confident growth targets, but they depend on high levels of foreign investment. Popular economy sectors for investment in Greece are maritime, shipping equipment and services, food technologies, renewable energy, tourism, and beauty products.
Advantages of starting up a company in Greece: developed infrastructure, logistics, and transportation links, educated and low-cost labor force, strong entrepreneurial tradition; easy and fast company formation process (about 10 days).
Greece is used by many investors as an entry to Southeast Europe and the Middle East, in fact is the only country in the region that is both a EU and EMU member (this provides monetary and exchange rate stability). Investors looking to start a business in Greece are encouraged by the low bureaucracy, for instance it takes 10 days to open a new business if the basic requirements are met.
Company incorporation in Greece starts with choosing the type of company which can be open in accordance to their requirements, draft the company’s articles of association or the memorandum of association, chose a registered office and elect an accountant for the company.
TYPES OF GREEK ENTITIES
The most common form of entity for large businesses in Greece is the public company limited by shares or the AE. At least two corporate bodies or individuals must establish this form of business with a minimum share capital of 60000 EUR. The capital is divided into shares with a nominal value between 0.30 EUR to 100 EUR.
The management of the Greek AE is performed by the general meeting of shareholders which will appoint the body responsible for the daily management decisions: the board of directors.
A particularity of the Greek AE is that the capital can be increased by the transferable shares which can be traded at the Stock Market. The liability of its members is limited by the contribution to the capital.
Incorporating a Greek EPE. A more popular form of business for medium or small entrepreneurs is the private limited liability company, or the Greek EPE. Only two individual or corporate bodies are necessary to form this type of company and a minimum share capital of 18000 EUR. In certain cases, only one individual is enough to form a Greek EPE with a minimum share capital of 5000 EUR, and using the termination “one person limited liability company" at the end of the entity name.
The management of the Greek EPE is assured by the general meeting like in the case of the public limited liability company which will appoint an administrator for day to day decisions. The liability of the members is also limited by the contribution to the capital.
A Greek general partnership is established by at least two members, with no requirements for a minimum share capital and based on an agreement signed by these partners. The members of a Greek general partnership are fully liable for the entity’s debts and can claim profits in an equal matter.
Another form of partnership incorporated in Greece is the limited partnership which is formed by general partners with unlimited liability and one or more silent members with his/her liability limited in extend of the contribution to the capital. Only the general members can take decisions concerning the partnership and can claim profits, while the silent partners are limited in these activities. In case of liquidation, the personal assets of the general partners can be affected by the fact that is not protected in these cases.
The foreign companies are encouraged to incorporate entities without legal personality: branches, representative offices or subsidiaries. From the three of them, the Greek representative offices cannot perform any commercial activities while the rest of them can but under the strict control of the parent company
COMPANY Registration Steps in GREECE
There is a list of steps that a foreign entrepreneur/ investor must follow in order to set up a Greek Private Company.
For support with incorporation in Greece, please feel free to contact Soha Europe Invest experts and we would be delighted to assist you.