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Small and medium-sized entrepreneurship: Recovery with slow but steady steps

The sectoral assessment system of the Greek small and medium-sized entrepreneurship developed by the Department of Economic Research and Investment Strategy of Piraeus Bank is a key tool for mapping the Greek entrepreneurial landscape and developing suitable strategic actions to stimulate and support the most healthy and dynamic part of the Greek enterprises. The key findings from the update of this sectoral assessment system confirm and reinforce the trends and findings of previous years. In short, the main conclusion of the study is that the stabilisation trend of the sectoral performance recorded last year has gained momentum, since a significant number of sectors of economic activity has made a remarkable improvement in their financial performance. Indicative of the positive momentum of the Greek small and medium sized entrepreneurship is that this year the average rating is "a-" compared to "b" last year, exceeding by far the "c" rating of the three-year period 2010-2012. Based on the latest available data, 32 sectors (64% of the total) are ranked in the high performance category, with a total turnover of €41.7bn, net profit before taxes of 1.8bn and equity of €28.5bn. 7 sectors (14% of the total) belong to the good performance category, with a turnover of €4.1bn, net profit before taxes of €109.5mn and equity of €2.1bn. The medium performance category accounts for 12% of the sectors, with sales of €2bn and net profit before taxes amounting to only €15.1mn. Finally, the underperforming sectors are 5 (10%) with a turnover of €742.2mn and net losses of €78.9mn.

At the same time, it is interesting that the best performance is recorded in "non-traditional" sectors of the Greek economy, i.e. manufacturing sectors such as repair and installation of machinery and equipment (33), manufacture of basic metals (24) and manufacture of electrical equipment (27), as well as sectors of services such as computer programming and information services (62+63) and administrative and support service activities excluding travel agencies (N-79). On the contrary, the worst performance is recorded in sectors related to private consumption, such as entertainment (R), mass media (59+60), manufacture of furniture (31) and tobacco products (12).

This positive performance of SMEs sends an optimistic message, but the challenges of the Greek economy remain. Entrepreneurship seems to be on a recovery path aided by the gradual cleaning-up of the most problematic business cases. But we need to wait until next year to see whether this momentum can be maintained.