Interview: Greece’s European SME Week Coordinator

Olga Nikolopoulou, European SME Week National Coordinator for Greece

Olga Nikolopoulou, European SME Week National Coordinator for Greece

Each country participates in European SME Week in a way relevant to its own small and medium-sized enterprise community, so we interviewed Olga Nikolopoulou, National Coordinator for Greece, to find out more.

How does the Week work in Greece?

It seems to be working quite well, as we tend to get a serious number of applications to hold events every year. Entrepreneurs, young people, students and various stakeholders are always interested in being informed about the available European Union financial instruments for the support of small and medium-sized enterprises. They also seek training and networking opportunities.

Which organisations are involved?

The General Secretariat for Industry of the Ministry of Development and Competitiveness and the Union of Hellenic Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

How do you promote European SME Week?

As soon as the SME Week platform gets activated, we begin our SME Week promotional campaign through various channels, such as: e-mail campaigns to targeted stakeholders, via social media, the Ministry of Development & Competitiveness’s interactive digital platform startupgreece.gov.gr which numbers over 5,600 members, relevant articles published in several Ministries’ newsletters, as well as direct communication with potentially interested parties.

What did you learn from last year’s events?

In 2013, we successfully co-organized “Europe 2020 Strategy for Growth: Promoting Business Partnerships in Greece” with the European Commission. The two-day event promoted business partnerships between Greek and European businesses in six developing sectors. 300 Greek enterprises, 110 foreign enterprises from 25 countries participated and over 1,300 business meetings were held between attending businesses. We learned that entrepreneurs are eager for any kind of networking opportunities, especially for entering new international markets.

And finally, what impact does European SME Week have in Greece?

Taking into account the fact that SMEs in Greece represent 99.6% of total enterprises, it is obvious that economic development in the country relies on successful SMEs. European SME Week events are therefore very popular.

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