ECONOMY

Very small enterprises are hit hardest

Greek small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been hurt by the prolonged recession to a much greater extent than larger businesses, but an annual European Commission report on SMEs published on Tuesday says that emerging trends suggest the basic indices in the Greek SME sector will turn positive in 2013.

The report notes that “more than 50 percent of private employment in Greece is concentrated in very small enterprises (with up to nine employees).” Given that most of those businesses are too small to look to exports, their dependence on domestic consumption has resulted in them sustaining a disproportionate amount of damage from the fiscal adjustment and the austerity measures which have hurt demand.

The report includes figures showing that the number of medium-sized companies amounts to just 0.4 percent of all enterprises in Greece, against a European Union average of 1.1 percent, while their employees represent 13.6 percent of the total, versus 17.3 percent in the EU. About a third of private sector workers are employed by large enterprises, against just 15.2 percent in Greece. “The SME sector in Greece depends more on very small enterprises than in other EU states,” the report concludes.