FINANCE

Digital transformation project for SMEs

Digital transformation project for SMEs

A project on the digital transformation of enterprises, with a budget of 180 million euros, will be inducted into the Greece 2.0 plan, following a decision by Alternate Finance Minister Thodoros Skylakakis.

The initiative, which this year alone will disburse €90 million, is expected to benefit some 100,000 enterprises. It will also offer subsidies to 1,000 small and medium-sized companies for the creation of a cloud, as well as upgrading and replacing half a million cash tills and withdrawing 100,000 card terminals (PoS). For that purpose grant recipients must secure a certificate for the incorporation of a new technology or product and produce a receipt certifying the purchase of products and services. According to the existing timetable, the project will have to be completed by the second quarter of 2025.

The project will favor investments that aim at strengthening electronic payments, online sales and electronic pricing applications, such as the adoption of digital advertising instruments and of teleworking systems. This funding instrument will also target the improvement of Greece’s ranking based on the European indexes of digital readiness, such as DESI.

The next steps of the project provide for the creation of an integrated mechanism of support for the process to supply benefits through vouchers. That is supposed to happen in the first quarter of the year, but the ministry’s decision on the inclusion of the project in the Greece 2.0 blueprint admits that this target will be hard to attain. This is because besides the work required, it will also need administrative action for the selection of contractors to design it and for others to manage and support one of the sub-projects required to set the program in motion.

According to Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) Alternate Director General Giorgos Xiroyiannis, before the pandemic Greek corporations utilized obsolete technologies, while only 3% would invest in artificial intelligence solutions, compared to a 40% rate in other advanced economies.

The latest report by SEV’s Digital Transformation Observatory notes that the digital maturity of Greek enterprises ranks 24th among the 27 member-states of the European Union.