Development and entrepreneurship recognise new technologies as their most important ally; technologies which will help enterprises to survive within the cruel competition, to grow and expand their work outside the strict geographical boundaries of the country and increase employment by offering new jobs.
The Operational Programme “Information Society” strengthens the competitiveness of small and medium sized enterprises of the country. It offers possibilities for the incorporation of new technologies into their operation and promotes the utilisation of the Internet as one of their basic tools for their development.
The OP “IS” is the driving force for the development of entrepreneurship in the new era by implementing actions such as “Small Enterprises & Technological Support” (METEHO), “Go-Online II” and “E-Business”.
|Small Enterprises & Technological Support (METEHO)
The objective of the specific action is the finance of small and medium sized enterprises which have 2-10 employees in order to buy and install information equipment and applications as well as their familiarization with new technologies.
The finance of each project ranges between 4,000 and 10,000 euros with a subsidy equalling the 50% of the budget.
More than 1,100 enterprises all over Greece have incorporated equipment and applications in their productive operation information through the METEHO action; this fact shows that Greek enterprises not only have understood the benefits from the new information technologies but they also want to utilise them.
The call for tenders for the METEHO action was in June, 2005, with an initial budget of 26 million Euros which was later on increased to 33.8 million euros, due to the increased interest of the enterprises. It is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) by 75% and by national resources by 25%.
More than 3,700 enterprises from all over Greece have been integrated in the METEHO programme. In a period of time less than 5 months, 30% of these enterprises has acquired equipment and has been certified.
This equipment concerns information technology systems and applications contributing to the simplification of the daily operations of the enterprises (financial- commercial management, storehouse management, payroll management etc), time and cost saving as well as the promotion of their products and services (e.g. applications for customers’ list management etc) through the connection of the enterprises with the Internet.
Something that is also worth noting is the strong regional dimension of the project, since 73% of the expenses already come from the purchase of information systems by enterprises which are based in the Regions (after excluding the proposals of the enterprises in Attica and Central Macedonia).
The wide participation and quick completion of the procedures are due, to a considerable extent, to the administrative innovations which were adopted. The METEHO action was based on the e-submission of proposals without supporting documents facilitating, thus, the participation of small enterprises. E-processes were, however, applied to the evaluation of the proposals making the action an integrated model of best practice.
The mean time needed by an enterprise in order to draw the amount of the expenditure anticipated is less than 10 days as of the date of the correct submission of the supporting documents for the purchase of equipment.
Due to the increased interest for participation expressed by the businessmen, the Special Secretary for the Information Society, Mr. Asimakopoulos, recently said that “we are looking into the possibility of calling for tender for the 2nd cycle of the METEHO action within the 1st semester of 2006”.
The “Go-Online” programme supports the small businessmen for the use of new technologies providing them with the necessary tools and knowledge and financing the purchase of computers and the connection with the Internet.The implementation body is ΕΟΜΜΕΧ (Hellenic Organisation for Small Medium Sized Enterprises and Handicraft SA), while the programme is co-financed by the European Regional Development FUND (ERDF) and the Greek State.
The objective of the 2nd cycle of the programme is the aid of 32,000 small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) for 2006 with a total budget of 100,000,000 Euros.
The beneficiaries of the programme are all the Greek enterprises with up to 10 employees which are divided into 3 categories for the programme’s purposes:
- Without connection
- Without connection and e-mail
- Without connection and website with a possibility of transactions.
The programme, depending on the above categories, finances:
- The purchase of the necessary equipment for Internet connection for 2 years and technical support for 3 years.
- The development of a simple commercial website and hosting by a provider for 2 years.
The above financing covers 40% of the cost up to the amount of 1,250 euros.
The very small enterprises are today approximately the 95% of the Greek enterprises and their Internet connection, in combination with other actions of the OP “IS”, will lead to the very fast increase of the enterprises which regularly use the Internet, will improve the quality of their services as well as expand their range. Furthermore, it will be easier for them to make their transactions with the public sector through the Internet (e.g. TAXIS).
Important benefits are expected for the Ministry of Development with the concentration and organization of reliable updated information for small enterprises and the achievement of personalized communication through the e-mail.
The dissemination of the information and communication technologies to enterprises is one of the main European objectives which are directly connected with the strategy of providing support for the competitiveness of European enterprises.
The objective of the “E-Business” action is providing finance for the electronic operation of Greek small and medium sized enterprises through technological investments which will contribute to the increase in their competitiveness and the utilisation of opportunities offered by the information society.
The call for this programme is in two phases and aims at aiding approximately 2,500 enterprises with 5-150 employees, financing special investment schemes for their introduction to digital economy, such as for example:
- Operational resources management (ERP systems)
- Customer Relation Management (CRM and Call Center systems)
- Storehouse management
- Modernisation of storehouses with bar code systems
- Work Flow management (Workflow Management systems)
- Development of e-shop etc.
The higher amount of finance for each proposal comes up to 250,000 euros with 100,000 Euros being the higher amount of subsidy per project.
These enterprises will be the critical mass for the participation of the enterprises of remote areas in e-business through which the cost and time of traffic is decreased, transactions are facilitated, the production programming is favoured as well as the expansion opportunities in the international market. Productivity and competitiveness will be increased and possibilities for equal and active participation in the globalised networking economy will be given.
The “E-business II” programme is absolutely compatible with the objectives set by the European Council (to make Europe the most competitive economy in the world until 2010), with the objectives of e-Europe as well as the objectives of the Go Digital initiative of the European Commission.