Byron Vassiliades gives an interview in Fortune Magazine
The first business steps
Looking back, his first contact with the area of business was in 2000, when at the age of 22, Mr. Vassiliades was hired as a laborer at what is now known as Antipollution SA, a historic company whose name is linked with the boatmen of the port of Piraeus, who in 1946 built a union and started collecting waste from ships that called at the harbor. Having gone through all stages of the production process and having acquired in depth knowledge on the subject he was called on in 2003, during a difficult economic period for the company, to take on the reins of the company.
Since then the company has been on a profitable track and the group has expanded as two new companies were created. Kafsis SA is one of the largest animal waste management companies in Greece whereas GREEN SA is an electricity trading, supply, and production company, and indeed is the largest Greek electricity trading company in Southeastern Europe.
The barriers and difficulties presented by the crisis were not enough
Although GREEN SA commenced operations in 2009, a time when the financial crisis was in full swing, the company managed year after year to increase its economic figures. "It's amazing what we have achieved at GREEN over the past five years. Starting from nothing, in 2014 we presented a turnover of over 85 million euros, thus compared with 2013 we displayed 100% growth."
The company's immediate plans are to further consolidate its presence in Greece and abroad, to obtain a larger market share of the retail electricity market as well as that of RES.
Mr. Vassiliades is of the opinion that the future lies in the renewable energy sector. As regards Kafsis SA, which is considered a leader in the management of animal by-products sector and is one of the most powerful companies in the field, the company is setting up a network of biogas plants, with the first unit starting operations in the Peloponnese in the coming weeks.
Zero reliance on bank loans
It is worth mentioning that the companies have zero bank debt, and this enables the Vassiliades brothers to continue investing in the domestic market, while maintaining an extrovert orientation. "The headquarters of our company are and will remain in Piraeus. Despite the difficulties that exist we invest in Greece, constantly recruiting new people, in particular today we have 300 employees, and there have been no reductions in salaries."
He goes on to say that the time has come for young entrepreneurs to enter the market and that this is something that the state should seriously look at. It is important for the state to support any business venture that could help relaunch the Greek economy.
According to Mr. Vassiliades the secret of success for someone who is taking his first steps in business is to have a vision that your colleagues will also embrace, teamwork, ability to organize and anticipate situations and a little luck.