State subsidies, including funds from European programs, and state procurements are the anchors keeping many small and medium-sized enterprises from being swept away by the tempest of the crisis in Greece. However, those anchors are also holding them back by not encouraging them to grow, as when they did get access to bank financing they neither boosted their exports nor improved their operations through innovation.
These are the main conclusions to be gleaned from this year’s European Commission report on SMEs, particularly regarding their compliance with the principles of the Small Business Act, the European Union’s central initiative for the support of SMEs.
The latest estimates put the number of SMEs in Greece last year at 705,329, of which the vast majority (678,616) employed no more than nine people and with their added value reaching 36.3 billion euros, from 55 billion in 2008.
The report claims that SMEs will create 96,500 new jobs in 2018, of which almost 50 percent will be in very small enterprises, while adding that most of the new jobs will be part-time and low-paid, so the increase will not be enough to reverse the overall negative conditions in the labor market or to boost consumption.