The White Paper on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment and Greek Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

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This paper makes an assessment of the homo-genous approach and policy measures towards SMEs, adopted by the White Paper on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment and by national policies in Greece. It is demonstrated that there is a key distinction between the structure of competitive, high-tech, highly-specialized SMEs in advanced countries, whose size is determined by the size of the international niche market where they compete, on the one hand and on the other, SMEs in Greece or in other less developed member-states, whose (micro) size is determined by the local markets they serve, while in most cases they do not have the marketing skills/approach to address export markets. Copying successful instruments for SMEs in advanced countries can thus be most dangerous for the less developed countries, since the industrial organization of the typical SME is very different from those SMEs in Northern Europe. Therefore, the effects of policy measures, without further modifications, will be different from those envisioned by the EU policy-makers. Increasing the utilization of assistance by SMEs in less developed member-states is likely to be more effective if the assistance focuses on incentives and services, which support cooperative action in local and foreign markets, rather than on direct SME financing.

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