“We have achieved a spectacular annual increase in the intensity index of Research and Development (R&D) expenditure of 17.2%, which is the best performance of the last 10 years”, as noted in statements to APE-MPE by the Deputy Minister of Development and Investments, responsible for Research and Innovation issues, Christos Dimas.
Mr. Dimas noted that the utilization of the research activity carried out by Greek scientists, in combination with the even greater extroversion of the domestic innovation ecosystem, are today one of the government’s main priorities.
In the last three years, he continued, we have implemented important initiatives and reforms in order to cultivate the right conditions, providing the necessary tools so that talented young entrepreneurs and scientists feel that they can be competitive on a global level from Greece.
“The structural changes we have promoted to support the world of science, innovation and entrepreneurship have resulted in a spectacular annual increase in the intensity index of Research and Development (R&D) expenditure of 17.2%, which is the best performance of the last 10 years” as the deputy minister characteristically noted.
In the real economy, continued Mr. Dimas, this translates into the creation of new, quality and well-paid jobs, while contributing to the improvement of the position our country holds in international evaluation indices.
He explained that: “however, in order to have an even friendlier and more competitive business environment, we have increased the excess discount rate for research and development expenses from 130% to 200%”.
This is an important tax incentive that pushes Greek companies to invest more in Research and Development and attracts even more investments from abroad.
Today, the deputy minister notes, Greece has turned the page, has regained the confidence of the markets and companies with a global footprint such as: Microsoft, EY, Applied Materials, Pfizer, Cisco, Amazon Web Services, etc. are already here making investments in cutting edge sectors.
Elevate Greece is constantly evolving and is now the ally of the State, which provides important incentives and opportunities to the members of the innovation ecosystem. Until recently, he emphasized, the Greek state did not have a definition for which companies are considered startups. He did not know how many there are, where they are located, in which sector they are active, how many workers they employ and what their turnover is. Therefore, when the State does not have all these data, it is unable to plan and implement an effective policy.
Today, for all the above questions, as he mentioned, there are answers, statistics and mapped data and the state has the ability to design policies tailored to the needs of the ecosystem. Elevate Greece is essentially the tool through which specialized incentives are provided to start-ups such as tax discounts for investment angels (angel investors), stock options and even ESPA actions to strengthen their liquidity. It is also surrounded by an important network of Official Supporters active in the field of innovation, investment and entrepreneurship, which includes banks, multinational companies, Greek businesses and institutional supporters.
The deputy minister also noted that the benefits offered by official supporters to start-ups include cash prizes, access to their global innovation network, cloud services, consulting services and even specialized banking products.
“In order to more effectively connect the field of research with entrepreneurship and the national economy, we have regulated for the first time, notes the deputy minister, in an analytical and coherent manner the institution of the techno-surge company. The new legislative framework modernizes the operating framework of techno-surgeries, with clear answers to key questions about their establishment, operation, or even closure.This is an initiative that gives impetus to integrate the research and scientific knowledge developed in universities and research centers into the real economy, with mutual benefits for all”.
Also, Mr. Dimas continued, we have promoted, through NSRF, actions such as Collaborative Innovation Formations and Competence Centers which aim to highlight even more the potential and activity of the Greek research community. He also mentioned that, in addition, the government planned the initiative for the maturation and operation of the Technology Transfer Offices in Greece.
As he said: “We want to claim a leading role in innovation in the Balkans and Southeastern Europe and for this reason we launched the creation of two natural innovation spaces, similar to those that modern cities have abroad. The first State of Innovation in Attica and the Technological 4th generation park – ThessINTEC in Thessaloniki will host researchers, start-ups and R&D departments of companies and industries, who will create business synergies, producing innovative products and services for the benefit of the Greek economy and society”.
The Deputy Minister underlines that the Greek innovation ecosystem has extremely great potential and the success stories it notes every day are a strong message of optimism.
“Our goal and commitment is to continue to provide incentives and opportunities for talented young people to enter the market, to realize their dreams here, but also to make our society and economy better. We want to leverage in every possible way the human resources that we have and to highlight the Greece of creation, building on solid foundations the next day” concludes the deputy minister, commenting on the actions for the further development of the innovation and research environment.