CompeteGR: SMEs despite structural problems can be a key driver of growth and innovation

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The hybrid event of CompeteGR, the Competitiveness Council of Greece, took place on Monday, December 13, 2021, with the theme: “The Power of the small: unleashing the potential of small and medium enterprises”. Representatives of business organizations of our country, small and large enterprises, the Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr. Theodoros Skylakakis and the Governor of AADE, participated in the extremely interesting dialogue on competitiveness, innovation and digital transformation of small and medium enterprises. George Pitsilis.

The main conclusion of the event is that small and medium-sized enterprises in our country, despite the basic structural problems and major challenges, such as sole proprietorships, their small footprint in the market, problematic access to finance and small economies of scale , can have faster growth and more opportunities through easier access to new technologies and digital services from around the world but also through networking and collaboration with other companies in Greece and abroad. At the same time, they can more easily manage new regulations, such as the ESG, and thus gain a competitive advantage.

Finally, they can more easily gain unified access to suppliers, for example through wider alliances, as long as they have the necessary tools for support, training, networking and funding from the government and the entire business ecosystem.

The event was opened by Dr. Venice Kousia, General Manager of CompeteGR, who stood by the low performance of Greece in terms of competitiveness of small and medium enterprises, since our country is characterized by “nano” – sole proprietorships, while many of their founders started businesses for the wrong reasons, without having the ability to lead a team but also with a lack of vision. It has been particularly supportive of government support for entrepreneurship, especially in the last two years, which is moving in the right direction, which will motivate young people interested in doing business.

The President of CompeteGR Mr. Simos Anastasopoulos in his greeting said: “Countries are recovering from the crisis as fast as their competitiveness allows while the critical size in any case is the ability to produce innovation at all levels and especially for the production of new products and services “. This finding was made through the change of the productive model of our country from introversion to extroversion and the presentation of products and services that can compete globally. “Innovation is the driving force for development and prosperity,” he said.

The consolidation of a stable economic and investment environment by the government, the integrated plan by the European recovery fund, but also the effort to integrate innovation in entrepreneurship has attracted foreign investment in our country and has given Greece the characterization of a best practice worldwide . At the same time, the transition to a digital, green and sustainable economy will further improve our competitiveness, said Mr. Anastasopoulos.

In fact, CompeteGR in collaboration with the Delphi Economic Forum will organize the Global Innovation Summit for 2022 in Athens, putting our country on the world investment map and further improving the image of our country internationally.

The President of the National Chamber Network of Women Entrepreneurs and First Vice President of EVEA, Mrs. Sofia Kounenaki Efraimoglou, stated that small and medium enterprises want the support of all of us to strengthen their competitiveness. Two factors are important for their future:

The first is innovation and technology, which dramatically change the data in the business environment and can give them a global impetus. The second factor concerns the emergence of women entrepreneurship which can give another perspective and new dimensions to the issue since it is a lever of economic growth. This is confirmed by a recent report by the Boston Consulting Group which states that if women participated equally in entrepreneurship, world GDP would be higher by 3 to 6%.

The President of the Athens Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Giannis Chatzitheodosiou, stated that the vast majority of companies in Greece are very small (1-9 people) while 5% are small (10-49 employees) with very small companies lagging behind in many competitiveness indicators and the integration of new technologies that prevent them from growing, especially in the manufacturing sector. Despite the fact that there are many actions of empowerment, collaborations – synergies, digital transformation and financing, however, since the financing passes through the banking system, it does not reach small businesses, said Mr. Hatzitheodosiou.

The Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr. Theodoros Skylakakis, in his position stated that the size of a company should not affect its treatment by the state and the banking system, but on the other hand the so-called economies of scale should encourage business collaborations and mergers since it is an important element of competitiveness. It also focused on a characteristic of Greek small, medium and large enterprises: they are smaller in size than their counterparts in foreign countries (since there are many freelancers in Greece) while there is a relatively large undeclared business activity which completely excludes them from bank financing but also makes it difficult for them to access other productive resources. All the above deduct points of competitiveness from Greek small businesses while on the other hand the banking system does not focus on small and medium enterprises.

The Governor of AADE, Mr. George Pitsilis, taking stock of the actions of the Independent Public Revenue Authority, focused on the goal of AADE in reducing the time devoted by a small and medium enterprise to the fulfillment of its tax obligations, and in this way Entrepreneurs will have more time to deal with their companies. This has been done and is being done through the digitization, simplification and standardization of dozens of processes and services and of course by the fight against bureaucracy. Mr. George Pitsilis also stood at the new digital service myAADE, where the citizen can communicate digitally with over 90 tax authorities while the support of companies in the midst of a pandemic was done and implemented digitally. It was noteworthy the reference to the digital invoicing platform which has issued more than 2 million invoices to date and very soon the entire process of starting a business will be done digitally, as well as the cessation of operations.

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Source From: Capital

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