ATHENS — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Athens Stock Exchange (ATHEX) are stepping up their support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Greece. In an announcement, EBRD said that building on the success of the first round of the EBRD’s SME Pre-Listing Support programme last year, the EBRD is launching a second call for Greek SMEs.
The programme, funded by the Greek government through the “Hellenic Republic/EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund – TCF”, aims to boost capital market activity and increase the capacity of SMEs for corporate bond issuance or listing (IPO) on the Athens Stock Exchange.
The initiative is happening against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact. The EBRD is scaling up existing and new instruments to support small businesses as a central part of its response to the crisis. When companies tap into the debt capital markets or list their shares, they obtain access to capital market financing and can attract domestic as well as international investors. This is particularly important now, with uncertainty weighing on both economic activity and financing prospects. Tapping into capital markets can provide crucial funding, as a growing number of Greek enterprises are now compelled to pursue strategic opportunities and broaden their funding options through access to the capital markets. Through the programme, SMEs will receive tailor-made advisory services and technical support in business management, technical and development issues for a period of up to 18 months to upgrade their investment capacity to international standards. SMEs will be examined about their readiness for fundraising through capital markets, based on which a detailed plan will be developed and executed. From family-owned business planning succession to private firms wishing to raise finance through the local capital market, the programme can apply to all financially viable enterprises that have less than 50 million euros in turnover or 43 million euros in balance sheet totals, and fewer than 500 employees, operating in a wide range of sectors and headquartered in Greece.
The EBRD has so far supported over 75 SMEs in Greece with advisory services. The advisory programme is designed to help businesses gain know-how and improve their performance and competitiveness.