Investment grants for catering firms, self-employed

A new program for subsidizing investment in existing companies in the services sector was announced yesterday by the president of the Hellenic Organization for Small and Medium Enterprises and Handicrafts (EOMMEX), Nikos Kakouris. The program will likely include bars and restaurants, too, while a new set of subsidies from the coming winter will also incorporate self-employed professionals in the sector, Kakouris told the Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Conditions of entry into the program will be the same as for trade companies, with subsidies reaching 40 percent, while the funds available will by far exceed the 80 million euros of state funding given toward trade. There are plenty of funds available but the problem is they are not absorbed, said Kakouris. The services sector is also the main focus in the program supporting Women’s Entrepreneurship, he said, adding that the last round of the young people’s entrepreneurship program concluded at the end of April with as many as 3,000 applications. Two more programs will be announced by EOMMEX, Kakouris said, for Industrial Subcontracting and for upgrading the human factor in commercial enterprises. The program director of the Credit Guarantee Fund for Small and Very Small Enterprises (TEMPME), A. Avgerinou, noted that since September 2004 when the fund was reactivated, a total of 20 million euros in loans was guaranteed, with 60 percent being in the provinces and mainly close to the borders. The aim is that by year’s end this amount will reach 100 million euros, Avgerinou said.