Government vice-president and Economy and Development Minister Yiannis Dragasakis, working with the Secretary-General for Strategic Investments Lois Lambrinidis, is planning to set up a new agency to support small- and medium-sized enterprises by coordinating and extending the various services currently provided by various institutions and government bodies.
According to Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) sources, the ministry has set in motion plans to set up such an organisation in all regions of the country, providing support to everything from corner shops to companies with dozens of employees. This could range from advice and networking to technological upgrades, export penetration and information on global trends, trade fairs and markets.
The initiative hopes to address an over-representation of very small businesses (less than nine employees) in the composition of Greek SMEs, whose small size acts as an obstacle to their development. During the years of crisis in Greece, the institutions had pressed for – and largely succeeded in getting – changes that had disrupted the various markets that permitted these very small enterprises to survive, the ministry sources noted.
“The proclaimed goal was, of course, to achieve, through an increase in competition, an increase in their size and thus the closely linked competitiveness of the Greek economy. Thus, we are tending to be led to a strong concentration of ownership and control in the hands of a few large companies, often under foreign control that have an oligopoly of the market and keep prices at artificially high levels, destroying healthy competition and removing part of the surplus out of the country,” the sources said.
The solution, according to the ministry’s conclusions, is to increase the size of enterprises while avoiding oligopolies and the flight of profits abroad.