Stumbled upon opportunities: Kefalonia Island (Greece)
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Nice people, excellent quality, low prices and lots of opportunities for entrepreneurs in Kefalonia Island (Greece)
In short, Kefalonia – a Greek island in the Ionian Sea, West of the mainland – has a pretty good sustainable and self-sufficient starting position. The people are nice, the climate warm but not too hot, local labor and products are cheap for EU-standards and communication is not a problem.
Islands are always interesting for water and energy and sustainability. Why? It is easy to know what is locally produced, needed and what is exported. Islands are in the pursuit of sustainable self-sufficiency ideal. Kefalonia in size: half of Greater London (UK) or eight times larger than Manhattan (NY, USA). However, it is hilly, sometimes even mountainous. Less than 20 percent of the island’s surface is suitable for human activity. The soil in the lowlands is extremely fertile. The climate is wetter and milder opposed to the Greek islands in the eastern Aegean Sea.
- The island has much less litter than, say, Marrakech (Morocco), Sfax (Tunisia) or the five islands that I have visited in the Caribbean. How Kefalonians process their waste remains unclear. (I could not and can not find recycling or upcycling businesses.) What, for instance, doesn’t exist for sure: their nationally and internationally renowned local olive oil doesn’t come in a recycled, dark, and recognizable designed bottle.
- The taste of locally grown vegetables such as tomato or eggplant is unsurpassed, and for those who like it Kefaloninan goat cheese is unique. Kefalonians are well aware of the quality of their local foods – for example they know Dutch tomatoes as ‘water bombs’ – but they haven’t thought of exporting to delicatessen chains in North-West Europe. Yet.
- Drainage is needed
Drainage is the challenge in Greece, also on this island. It appears that the diameter of drainage pipes was estimated too small by the time of the first installations. It is forbidden to flush toilet paper and that is annoying. Anyone with a good idea for this, starting upon the island of Kefalonia, will be a rich (wo)man.
No hard EU-feelings
Greece is an extraordinary story, especially within the European Union. Judging by media reports since 2010, one would think that the Greeks don’t want anything to do with people and companies from North West Europe. Few is farther from the truth, at least with regards to these islanders. On the contrary, they feel ashamed of their national government. The Kefalonians, in my experience, speak much better English than the Italians, Spanish and French who I have encountered in my almost 40 years of southern European holiday career. And no, I’m not only talking about the workers in the tourist industry, but also about the hairdresser, the household items shop, the municipality officials and hospital people (receptionist, nurses, doctors). And they are NICE. For instance, in a restaurant we were allowed to pay the next day, and when we were a kind of lost in the hills a local man drove fifteen minutes in front of us to lead the way.
Kefalonian villages are well connected by a road network, only speeding is impossible. This due to the mountainous area and the 180 thousand stray goats. And yes, every goat is EU certified and registered (yellow ear flaps). All over the island you’ll find internet and there are harbors on every headland of this whimsical island.
In summer time, the 38 thousand islanders are mainly dependent from tourism and related sectors. Besides the holiday season, fishing, fruit- and olive trees, goats milk and grapes (retsina wine) are the main sources of income. You won’t encounter floating fish factories here; fishing ships do not exceed 18 meters. Most veggies are locally grown, and everything that is locally produced is cheap for North Western European standards. Half to one third of the price. Wages (catering, services, construction) relate to this.
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