Sotiris Leontaris

Sotiris Leontaris

Head of DIT, British Embassy Athens, focusing on the Embassy's commercial work

Part of Greek Blogyssey

23rd June 2014 Athens, Greece

Business opportunities as a way of putting Greece back on the exporting map

Guest blogger: Klio Panourgia, Assistant Trade Advisor, UKTI, British Embassy Athens

One of the tasks undertaken almost on a daily basis by UKTI teams at posts is the identification and publication of Business Opportunities; these are opportunities that can lead directly to export business for UK companies and can range from general procurement notices to tenders for large scale projects in sectors such as energy, transport, education, defence, ICT and others. They can also highlight niche sectors where the UKTI team at post feel that UK firms have a competitive advantage over other countries.

UKTI Greece recognized Business Opportunities as a way of putting Greece back on the exporting map. Alerting companies to such opportunities and prompting them to reconsider Greece as a potential export destination can also lead to increased numbers of OMISs (Overseas Market Introduction Services). OMIS is the most widely marketed service that UKTI offers customers and one of the main reasons they seek its assistance and expertise.


In 2012-2013 UKTI Greece uploaded 75 Business Opportunities. In 2013-2014, following consistent efforts in identifying, uploading and responding to Business Opportunities, the UKTI team in Athens posted 108 Business Opportunities and sent 381 responses; as a result the team exceeded its target by 214% and came to rank fourth among 100+ countries. This notable turnaround reflects both the signs of the country’s recovery and the team’s efforts to put Greece back on the exporting map.

But this achievement is not only about numbers and targets; it is also about establishing contact with UK companies who are willing to explore the Greek market and about focusing our work on promoting the opportunities the country has to offer. In their majority (but not exclusively), Business Opportunities are connected to smaller scale projects and tender components and, as such, bring the team closer to the grassroots of potential British exporters. They help us stay close to SMEs and as we all know, from small acorns mighty oaks grow!

Top tips (or how to exceed your target by 214%): It is important to stay in close touch with your marketplace – don’t wait for opportunities to land on your desk; go out and look for them on a daily basis as new areas of opportunity are constantly developing. You can never be sure if an opportunity will generate interest, so it’s better to publish more rather than fewer but tracking responses will help discount sectors that don’t perform on a consistent basis. The internet and social media are an excellent way of learning about business opportunities and promoting them to the right audience.

So, where do we go from here? Fourth place is good but first is better! Watch out Guyana!