The official launch of the program entitled “European Network of Early Warning for Business and Second Opportunity in Greece”, organized by FHW GSEVEE and the Athens Chamber of Commerce, was held with great success today at Aigli Zappeion.
The event was attended by Mr. I. Dragasakis, Vice-President of the Greek Government, Mr. K. Andropoulos, Project Manager of COSME and Political Media Program, DG Internal Market of Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, European Commission as well as by European Early Warning Network Mr. Soren Boutrup, Danish Ministry of Development, MichaelLyngeHansen, Business Advisor EarlyWarningDenmark and Mr. Attila von Unruh, Director TEAM U, Germany, were also honored with the presence of Messrs. P. Kourouplis, Minister of Shipping, G. Papaderakis, Secretary General of Commerce, D. Sioufas, former Speaker of the Parliament.
In the greeting addressed by the President of GSEVEE, Mr. George Kavathas presented the main points of the Action and pointed out their importance for small and small businesses.
More specifically, the President of GSEVEE stated the following:
“About 250,000 small and very small businesses were closed in 2010-2015. This is enough to show the magnitude of the disaster that has occurred in the country’s business and, as a result, in the national economy. The country is in a deep recession over the last nine years and an unprecedented economic crisis in the last seven years, implementing three (3) fiscal adjustment memoranda, and according to FMI’s investigations, we are in the third year of stagnation. Despite the improvement recorded by all the economic indicators, they continue to be highly negative, creating a great deal of concern for the future. The probability of further stagnation puts at risk the position of weaker businesses and the self-employed.
Unfortunately, the main elements that make up a business-friendly environment such as stable and fair taxation, access to finance, reduction of bureaucratic and administrative compliance costs remain demanding, despite the efforts being made. However, the government’s legislative intervention to regulate red loans, which are one of the most important problems faced by the Greek economy and businesses, is extremely positive.
The everyday life experienced by small and very small businesses is extremely painful, since much of our colleagues have suffered such a financial disaster, many of them living below the poverty line and social exclusion. In fact, according to IME GSEVEE estimates, one-third of newly-born children come from the professional classes and social strata represented by GSEVEE.
According to European Commission surveys, 50% of small and medium-sized enterprises in the European Union close their operations in the first five years, while only 15% of bankruptcy firms are busy. Based on these surveys, it is estimated that 1.7 million jobs per year or 4,650 jobs per day are lost as a result of closure. This is one of the main reasons why the EU It is becoming more and more important to create a favorable environment for 2nd opportunity, to honest entrepreneurs who have failed.
In fact, the general social stigmatization creates a psychological context, as it perceives the entrepreneur who did not succeed, as a deceived person who deceived and who no one wants to know and to associate with him. And although EU surveys have shown that just 4% -6% of bankruptcies are fraudulent, the processes of restructuring, closing or bankruptcy of a business are inefficient, costly and time-consuming. These reasons are dissuasive not only for businessmen who have failed, but also for those who would like to start a new business.
The failure, the complex and time-consuming closure or winding-up of a business, and the lack of funding from the financial sector for a fresh start, are common pan-European ones. The second opportunity for a businessman remains largely a very lonely and difficult road. However, there are countries in the European Union that have good practices and, in particular, early warning systems for early-stage entrepreneurs, where the necessary corrective action can be taken.
This is our goal. Through this program, try to give answers, but especially to propose viable solutions and concrete policy proposals to create a business support framework. Especially in the case of Greece, this program is a pilot that is characterized by innovation, since innovation is not only the object but also the way of its implementation, which is based on the active and dynamic volunteering of experienced scientists and professionals. We are very optimistic about creating an extensive Mind Register that has already become a reality and is continuing to expand. In addition, a National Network is formed, consisting of institutional partners, legal entities of public and private law, who are members of the program and its benefits and are next to this endeavor to strengthen Greek entrepreneurship, each of its own field And with his own valuable experience. In our effort, those who have common goals are welcome to explore possible partnerships and exchanges of know-how, because our goal is to collaborate in a collective, mutually beneficial and socially horizontal effort. The program aspires to approach the issue of business in difficulty, not only financially and quantitatively, but also man-centered. We are talking about a socially beneficial action that is not limited to the benefit to the entrepreneur but extends to benefits for the public, workers, suppliers and society as a whole.
This pilot project will have 700 benefiting companies and will seek to connect with scientific research and analysis. A key goal of the program is, after the end, the production of quantitative and qualitative data capable of compiling policy tools for adopting actions at state level. The task is not easy, but it is a challenge and a social responsibility. After the end of each counseling, the program provides for follow-up of businesses so as to assess the qualitative characteristics of the action.
However, this program is not exclusively Greek. It is European. Greece is an important link that aims, through the effective implementation of the pilot, to contribute to the creation of a pan-European business support mechanism. The 2nd opportunity even has a strong symbolism. It’s not just businesses in Greece who need a second chance to come back to create again. Greece needs a second chance and let me note that Europe also needs a second chance to regain its pace. “