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NETWORKING CULTURES 71 Greek Culture Greek Community It is estimated that there are 150,000– 200,000 Greeks in the UK as no exact figures are available. Yet for such a small community, recent research by Professor Richard Webber of University College London revealed that they were one of the most affluent ethnic groups in the UK. Reports Nikki Costa a more privileged life, second and third generation Greeks have followed the example of hard work and determination set by their parents and grandparents. This has led to a significant rise in academics, lawyers, engineers, accountants and doctors. The Community has also witnessed a multitude of entrepreneurs in a variety of areas. These include Theo Paphitis former owner of ‘La Senza’ and Millwall FC but better known as a regular panellist on the BBC programme ‘Dragon’s Den’, property magnets Andreas Panayiotou of ‘The Ability Group’ and Chris Lazari, ‘Easyjet’s’ Stelios Hajiioannou, brothers Michael and Costas Vazania of women’s retail chain ‘The Vestry’, John Kaponi of the ‘London Greek News’ website and ‘Infocis’ a press monitoring service, to name but a few. Furthermore, figures in 2005 supplied by the Cyprus Trade Centre UK showed that UK freight exports to Cyprus Networking London’s T he first generation of Greeks began arriving in the 1950’s through to the 1970’s. Some arrived upon request for workers initiated by the British government, some simply came for a ‘better life’ and some fled Cyprus after the 1974 invasion by Turkey. Most were found working in clothing manufacturers as cutters or machinists. Others worked in fish & chip shops, hairdressers, barbers, shoemakers and in restaurants as chefs or waiters. They worked long and arduous days for little money in order to establish financial security for their families and to provide a struggle free future for their children. Friends and family remained close and helped each other. The hard work eventually paid off and many went on to start their own businesses. Albeit subject to exceeded £300 million, a significant boost for UK companies. Small and quiet, yet reasonably prominent, the Greek community in the UK has always believed in integration within society and this philosophy has filtered through to commerce as many businesses proudly boast a multi cultural, multi racial work force. Firm family foundations, sheer hard work and good business acumen has certainly contributed to the success of Greek business, however, these qualities have also helped to establish a balance between the identity of a British nationality and a Greek heritage. For more information contact The Cyprus High Commission on 0207 499 8272 The Cyprus Trade Centre on 0207 629 6288 The Embassy of Greece on 0207 229 3850 ISSUE TWO 2006 engage