ECONOMY

Software for EU grants

The Greek subsidiaries of Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Intel yesterday presented «Development Europlan,» an innovative program for tapping the potential of European Union subsidies for the technological upgrading of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The program offers a series of tools and resources, such as a user-friendly webpage (www.euga.gr, and soon www.europlano.gr) with information particularly addressed to SMEs, including new technologies and investment subsidization opportunities. The program also provides full support at all steps of the process of submitting applications for grants, through collaboration with an independent consultant. Neil Holloway, Microsoft president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, noted that 55 percent of European SMEs are not aware of the opportunities available for grants, while only 4 percent of those that are do submit grant applications. Further, of those that submit applications, only one in four succeeds in ultimately obtaining funds. Officials of the three companies told a press briefing that the program aims at meeting the challenge of tapping the opportunities offered by the EU and making Greek firms more competitive with the use of technology. The program will be available in all 25 EU member states.