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Years Experience

The Journey!

Dimitri Fountas made the decision to venture Down Under after a conversation with a Greek Australian millionaire he met at his village kafeneio in 2013. As an Australian citizen and successful businessman today, he pays tribute to the man who helped him realize his potential.

In a personal piece authored for Neos Kosmos, Dimitri Fountas, a recently arrived Greek who experienced the Aussie “fair go”, shares his story in a bid to honour his origins and “pay tribute to the Greek community of Australia.”

It all started in 2013, while holidaying at his village, Kandila, in the region of Aetolia-Acarnania and introduced by his grandfather to a friend who was visiting from Australia,Mr Dennis Makris

“He was a well-known businessman in Melbourne who died in 2015,” Mr. Fountas writes, citing a past NK report on Mr. Makris’ trajectory from arriving “barefoot” in Australia to becoming a millionaire.

Mr. Fountas made a good impression to Mr Makris, at a point where he was invited to move to Australia for a new beginning.

The young Greek took up the challenge, closing his business which was hit by the economic crisis, and arrived in Melbourne in January 2014.

“Mr. Makris welcomed me at the airport and took me to his place in Kew. We got there around 10 pm, his wife prepared dinner for us, we ate and went to bed,” Mr. Fountas recalls.

“At 5 in the morning, he woke me up to have coffee, and straight away we went to one of his factories where I completed my first working day [in Australia].

“I didn’t know English or anything… Every time we were driving to work he would tell me ‘Save enough money Δημητράκη and whenever you find an opportunity, go for it, don’t forget that, OK?’”

And he didn’t.

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After two years working at Mr. Makris’ businesses, while being a casual taxi driver at the same time, and studying, Mr. Fountas pursued new pathways to continue working in Australia.

He switched to driving a taxi full-time, and subletting it for an extra income, learned English, and got familiar with the Australian culture and how things work in the country.

It wasn’t a rosy path he set on. He remembers suffering burnout from excessive work, at which point his wife persuaded him to go to Sydney for holidays, taking a break for the first time after three years.

Their stay there instigated the idea for what is today his successful business.

Wanting to hire a motorbike to tour the city, Mr. Fountas realized that demand had out-beaten supply with none available.

“Immediately I got on my phone and posted an online ad for bikes available for hire in Melbourne. An hour later, I got my first deposit for an order, without having an actual business of course. The number of calls that followed was overwhelming so I had to delete the ad,” he describes.

Upon returning to Melbourne a few days later, Mr Fountas was quick to establish the business despite being able to afford to buy just two bikes for starters. On the very next day, both had been hired by clients for a two-month slot.

Today his business is “among the five biggest scooter rentals agencies in the country”, with an estimated worth of $1.3 million, Mr. Fountas says, with the undertaking also has successfully paved the way to Australian citizenship.

And while the achievements came as a result of hard labour and persistence, Mr. Fountas says he will always remember the man thanks to whom this series of events was made possible.

“I will never forget μπάρμπα – Ντένη – this is how we called him at the village – who gave me the opportunity to come to this country, nor [will I forget] his words of advice.”

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