Banks ready for SME proposals

Banks are bracing themselves for a flood of investment proposal submissions by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from today as part of the Third Community Support Framework. Indications show that interest by SMEs in funding from the EU-sponsored fund will far exceed the approved budget of the -500 million to be allocated. Today is the deadline for proposals from enterprises whose tax registration number ends in 0. The last deadline is on November 9, for companies with numbers ending in 9. However, companies in the regions of Western Greece and the Peloponnese have until December 10 to submit their proposals, regardless of their tax number. Banks have been prepared for the electronic submission of applications through a common system installed at the Economy Ministry, but every application has to be accompanied by hard copies, including all essential documents. Traffic at banks is expected to culminate today, as applications will go far above the 10,000 figure originally expected and may reach as high as 50,000 proposals. Entrepreneurs are expected to crowd banks since this is the biggest subsidy project for SMEs in the context of CSF III and following years when trading companies were excluded from such funds. Subsidies may range from -20,000 to -200,000. The role of banks in the whole process of the investment will be crucial, as apart from the admission and evaluation of proposals, they will provide consultancy services, follow the realization of the business plans and pay the subsidy to the entrepreneurs.