European Bank to Help in the Recovery of Greek Enterprises After the Pandemic

Αssociated Press

Α woman wearing a face mask against the spread of coronavirus, is reflected on the mirror of a closed shop in Athens, on Monday Dec. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS -- The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is willing to support the Greek government's efforts for the recovery of enterprises after the pandemic crisis, Dimitra Papandreou, principal manager of EBRD and head of the programme of Consultancy Services to Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises in Greece, told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) on Tuesday.

The main problems facing Greek SMEs during the pandemic are difficulty in obtaining direct financing of moving capital, delays in the delivery of raw materials and an inability to quickly adapt their operating model to find new customers, for example through e-commerce, Papandreou said, adding: "One of the initiatives we promoted during the pandemic is creation of an e-platform "KnowHow Academy" offering free educational content on facing the crisis, addressed to SMEs, with issues such as customer/supply management, financial management, funding, personnel management and leadership challenges. We continue to be close to the needs of the market, offering consultancy services to Greek SMEs through a network of certified consultants in Greece and abroad. EBRD covers 70-88 pct of the net cost of consultancy work".

"The main change in Greek SMEs is technological transformation. We saw a big increase in demand for e-commerce services. We believe that, although it started as a solution created by the need to deal with the pandemic, it will evolve into a new way of doing business. We expect a relative growth of IT companies and the creation of startups in this sector. EBRD wants to help in this direction," Papandreou said.

The EBRD's principal manager noted that 80 pct of enterprises participating in its programmes raised their turnover by an average 19 pct, 80 pct raised exports by more than 9.0 pct and a 62 pct raised their workforce by an average 16 pct.

Papandreou noted that the EBRD was working to cover the needs of enterprises around the country and stressed that more than 70 pct of its customers were based outside Attica.