Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Greece represent 99,9% of the total private sector of the country which is slightly higher than the EU27 average in 2012 (99,8%, Source: Eurostat). More specifically, micro enterprises (1-5 employees and below €1mil. revenues) represent 96,6% of the private sector and 56% of the total employment of the Greek economy. In those terms SMEs are the most significant part of the Greek and European economy, affecting directly both the financial and the social aspects of the economic life.
During the last five years SMEs in Greece faced several negative trends as a result of the continued economic recession. The radical restructuring of the market shares in most sectors, the reduced demand due to lower purchasing power, the lack of liquidity which become worse due to the inability of the banking system to support it, the continuous and increasing exit from the market of a large number of enterprises and the rapid deterioration of employment rates, are some of the direct and visible results.
After this long struggling period, Greek SMEs are now trying to adopt new business models and development paths. In this new effort, SMEs have to face several challenges which in turn create multiple needs of consulting support. The main challenges are:
- reduced competitiveness due to high operating costs and low adaptation to technological developments
- organization of production and marketing activities based on outdated business models, with low use of ICT and lack of investment in R&D
- inability of approaching the financial system because of the crisis’ intensity and the poor banking sector performance
- low adaptation capacity to business initiatives of high added value and high future demand
- weakness of exploiting EU initiatives and funding programs, both because of the failure of Central Government to accelerate the processes and because of the lack of strategic business choices from the majority of SMEs
As the major consulting provider in the area, PLANET has already in place a modern and integrated service portfolio to assist SMEs in overcoming these challenges and fulfil their new needs. This portfolio is based on five strategic pillars:
- Financial reengineering and exploitation of new financial instruments for investment and working capital funding
- Operational and organizational adjustment to adapt into new market conditions
- Modernization of business infrastructure to catch up with latest technology standards and international market needs
- Development of new high value products/services using local advantages and reinforcement of exporting capabilities
- Introduction of R&D activities either in-house or through participation in R&D projects of independent R&D institutes
Using a unique diagnostic and service delivery methodology and leveraging a wide network of high level field experts, PLANET becomes a valuable partner for SMEs towards the fulfilment of their new goals and ambitions.