The government hopes to see a blossoming of entrepreneurship

The government is working toward an «entrepreneurial spring» in Greece, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas told the international conference «Entrepreneurship Requires Boldness,» which opened yesterday in Athens. The minister referred to the need for a different, fertile and business-friendly environment. The government’s initiatives, he said, include fiscal recovery, tax reform, change of the investment incentives law, a new institutional framework for licensing and operation of companies, a new energy policy, support of small and medium-sized enterprises, reform of the mechanisms and redistribution of programs in the Third Community Support Framework and modernization of the public procurement system. Sioufas noted that, according to the Center for Economic Planning and Research, only 21 percent of Greek enterprises are internationally competitive. The Hellenic Center for Investment has also shown that approval for investment plans over 9 million euros have been on an accelerating decline in recent years. Sioufas referred to the 2004 World Bank report, which showed that procedures toward starting up a new business in Greece are 2.5 times more than average, last 50 percent longer, cost 4.5 times as much, while the smallest capital needed is three times more.