ECONOMY

Entrepreneurship improves in Greece

Greek entrepreneurial activity continued growing for a second straight year in 2006, which also saw an increase in the total paid-up capital of new companies for the first time since 2000, a report released yesterday shows. According to the report, prepared by business research and consultants firm ICAP, a total of 4,580 corporations (societes anonymes) and limited liability companies were founded last year, of which nearly 70 percent were in the sectors of industry, energy, commerce and financial and business services. Their paid-up capital totaled 433.7 million euros, 30.5 percent higher than in 2005. The growth in new business activity was mainly due to a significant rise in the number of new companies in the sectors of real estate, construction, consultancies and advertising. The addition of several new large hotel units, which bolstered the total paid-up capital rather than the number of firms, was also significant. «The maintenance of property prices at high levels was instrumental in increasing the total capital of real estate management companies, of which the largest part of paid-up capital is contributed in kind, that is, property assets,» the report says. The significant rise in the number of start-ups in the energy production sector was clearly related to the ongoing process of deregulation and the granting of high subsidies for production using renewable sources, ICAP said. Nearly two-thirds of new firms (64 percent) were based in the Attica region, with Thessaloniki a distant second (10.8 percent). The increase in entrepreneurial activity was fairly evenly spread across the country, except in 11 of the 54 prefectures. Most new companies (59.4 percent) were limited liability, but corporations accounted for more than two-thirds of total paid-up capital (303.9 million).