Greece must aim to consolidate businesses into larger units, through tax and funding incentives, Deputy Minister of Development & Investments Ioannis Tsakiris and former Deputy Minister to the premier Dimitris Liakos said at the 7th annual Hellenic Entrepreneurs Association (EENE) Economic Forum on Wednesday.
As an example, Tsakiris said that Greece currently has some 830,000 registered companies. Of these, 30,000 are small and medium-sized businesses, with the remainder being very small, or employing between 0 and 10 people. “If we were to divide the number of employees by the number of companies, we get an average number of 1.7 employees per company. This does not exist in any other country, and is not sustainable, therefore it must change,” noted Tsakiris.
Large companies in Greece, according to the European Commission’s definition, he said, currently number 500. Medium companies (between 50-250 employees) number 4,500, and small companies (between 10-50 employees) number 25,000.
Addressing the same issue, economist Liakos said that companies needed to consolidate. “They obviously need incentives, tax andd investment and funding ones. I believe this must be made permanent. In other words, when we have a new fiscal framework from 2023 on, any tax incentives we provide must have this end in mind, to make our businesses larger. Larger size means tough competition,” he stressed, added that it was also important that salaries rise.
Liakos also said that the funds coming into Greece from NSRF, the Recovery Fund and investments had to be absorbed quickly. The Recovery Fund’s resources expire on December 31, 2026, he noted.
Relative to new businesses, Minister Tsakiris said that he had signed an agreement the same day to set up the first support fund for startups with the help of angel investors.
Speaking at the live interview in the same afternoon session, Hellenic Industries Federation (SEV) Chairman Dimitris Papalexopoulos revealed that SEV had brought into its membership 60 startups with a total value of over 6 to 7 billion euros “from nothing five or ten years ago.” As he said, “Can you imagine a system of startups in five years from now, with 20,000 employees and 15 billion euros in value? It’s extremely important.”
EENE President Christian Hadjiminas said that despite all Greeks returning from abroad, “you cannot bring a lot of people back. There aren’t enough talents, for better or for worse, but we will create them from the people we have here. Greek businesses will be forced to take another look at their existing managers and see how they will upgrade them.”