Large investments are important and one can only hope that either those whose implementation we have been awaiting for several years finally become unstuck or other new ones get under way. However, we should not underestimate the importance of Greece’s small and medium-sized businesses. The country must boost its own production.
The crisis played havoc with the Greek economy. Those businesses that managed to survive the tsunami do not owe that experience to luck. In many cases they were businesses that did not have a dominant position in their sectors. They had the advantage, however, of not being overindebted, in contrast to the bigger players. Indeed in many cases they had racked up no debts at all, either because they avoided doing so or because banks would not lend to them.
Moreover, the owners of these businesses generally have tidy finances, being people who as a rule eschewed the lure of a life of luxury. They were focused on their work, on meeting their obligations and, of course, on surviving. These 500-600 businesses can play a crucial role in the new landscape that emerged after the crisis. Experienced bankers trust them because they believe that they have true value. And, to paraphrase a verse from Frank Sinatra’s classic “New York, New York,” if you can make it here, you’ll make it anywhere.
The demands these companies have of the state do not concern subsidies or other benefits. What they mainly want is a reduction in social security contributions and in the taxation of salaried work. Moreover, they obviously do not want to get tied up in red tape which creates obstacles where there shouldn’t be any. The state could help, perhaps by providing tax incentives so that these healthy businesses merge with others.
It is positive that the new generation that is taking over these businesses is hardy and extroverted. It is not afraid to hunt for opportunities abroad and it systematically monitors the latest developments in the various sectors and cultivates professionalism. Moreover, the conditions have been created lately for the further financing of these businesses so they can further develop through the various funds that have been created.