The first nationwide meeting of the new consortium Enterprise Europe Network – Hellas, an event which engendered optimism and hope for the future, marked the beginning of projects for the period 2022-2025. Co-ordinated by the PRAXI Network and the National Documentation Centre (EKT), the Enterprise Europe Network - Hellas has had a significant presence in the country since 2008, helping hundreds of companies to innovate, network and grow internationally.
‘In a difficult period for the country, you have proved that a Greek scheme can be reliable and effective,’ Makis Tikfesis, representative of the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA), said in his opening remarks at the Enterprise Europe Network-Hellas event.
Makis Tikfesis, representative of the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency
In his own greeting, the Deputy Minister of Research and Innovation Christos Dimas, conveyed the government’s view, saying, ‘Greece has the opportunity to develop into an innovation hub in the wider region. To achieve this goal, the growing development of small and medium-sized enterprises that innovate plays an important role’. The minister stressed that the priority of the Ministry of Development and Investment is ‘linking research with innovation and entrepreneurship’.
Christos Dimas, Deputy Minister of Research and Innovation
Integrated services for innovative enterprises
‘The new period of the network in Greece (2022-2025) means new integrated services for small and medium enterprises with international ambitions and innovation potential,’ says the co-ordinator of the consortium, Achilleas Barlas (PRAXI Network).
Achilleas Barlas (PRAXI Network).
Innovations and new elements of the network include the customer-centric approach with emphasis on service quality, and the integrated support of a business through the needs assessment and the provision of combined and long-term services (client journey).
The main focus of the new consortium is the support of innovation, and the green and digital transition of small and medium-sized enterprises.
The main points of the Enterprise Europe Network-Hellas target for the period 2022-2025 are the following:
- 7,000 companies and organisations throughout Greece will receive basic consulting services
- More than 700 small and medium enterprises are expected to receive advanced consulting services
- 500 of these are expected to achieve international partnerships with foreign companies
- At least 150 small and medium enterprises will ensure positive results in terms of economic development, retention and creation of new jobs and development of innovative products and services
- 339 companies will enter a cycle of combined services (client journey ).
The National Documentation Centre (EKT) has taken on a central role in Digital Transformation and Network Communication for the new period. The aim is to develop targeted Communication actions addressing the pioneers of the Greek business world and supporting all members of the consortium in the submission of their own success stories starring Greek small and medium enterprises to the European Commission. The network’s overall goal is to submit 55 success stories by 2025.
The Enterprise Europe Network - Hellas was formed in 2008. Following its success, the group has been strengthened even more and now has 16 members. The new joint venture of the Enterprise Europe Network-Hellas consists of 16 development organisations:
- PRAXI Network / Institute of Technology and Research (FORTH)
- National Documentation Centre
- Athens Chamber of Commerce & Industry (EBEA)
- Athens Chamber of Crafts (BEA)
- Association of Industries of Thessaly and Central Greece
- West Macedonia Development Company (ANKO) SA
- Arcadia Chamber
- Ioannina Chamber
- Kavala Chamber
- Heraklion Chamber
- Hellenic Development Investment Bank SA
- Institute of Small Enterprises of GSEVEE - IME GSEVEE
- MIRTEC S.A., the Certification and Laboratories of ELOT, MIRTEC, CERECO and of CLOTEFI MIRTEC SA (EBETA)
- Federation of Industries of Greece (SBE)
- Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV)
- Federation of Enterprises & Industries of the Peleponnese and Western Greece
Dr Nikos Karampekios, Head of Networking and Innovation Unit
Panagiotis Frantzis, Communication Consultant
EKT in the innovation ecosystem
EKT, a public interest body overseen by the Ministry of Digital Government, as co-ordinator of the Enterprise Europe Network-Hellas, supports innovative and extroverted Greek enterprises to gain access to new markets and funding, using their research results and technologies/products. It enables small and medium-sized enterprises to participate in consultations on future initiatives.
In this context, EKT provides integrated services for the digital transformation and strengthening of the country’s innovation system. The aim is to contribute to the transfer of technology to Greek enterprises, the strengthening of the co-operation between the research and production community and the support of the Greek knowledge intensity enterprises.
EKT is also National Contact Point for Horizon Europe, specifically the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) programme of Pillar 1 and the 'Health' and Digital Technologies, Industry and Space' sectors of Pillar 2 . It supports organisations, enterprises, academia and research organisations all the way: from identifying funding opportunities to drafting and submitting proposals, implementing projects and exploiting research results. In addition, it contributes to the recording and analysis of Greece's participation in European research and innovation programmes. As a National Contact Point, it supports the implementation of ongoing projects under Horizon 2020.
With combined value-added services, EKT supports the Greek research and business community to excel and grow internationally. As co-ordinator of the Greek node of the Enterprise Europe Network, it provides services complementary to those of the National Contact Points, operating as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for business information on European issues, finding business partnerships abroad, technology transfer services and mediation for international technological collaborations, access to European funding and finding partners to participate in research proposals.
EKT is also the hub of EIT Health in Greece (one of the largest European initiatives enhancing innovation in the field of health, from the European Institute of Innovation & Technology). It actively participates in the STARTUP3 project consortium, supporting Greek companies that develop innovative solutions in various fields, from Artificial Intelligence and cyber security to geospatial surveying and biotechnology.
Enterprise Europe Network
The Enterprise Europe Network is the largest business support network in the world. It consists of about 600 collaborating organisations, including chambers of commerce and industry, regional development agencies, research and technology centres. These bodies employ about 4,000 specialised executives, with experience in providing support services for companies, as well as 17 groups of experts in associated industrial sectors. The network’s local contact points are located in more than 40 European countries.
The Enterprise Europe Network acts as a single service centre for businesses, providing them with specialised services to develop new products and gain access to new markets, and providing information on EU activities and emerging opportunities.
The participants in the network document about 1,000 technological tests and organise 4,000 local events and seminars on issues related to small and medium enterprises annually. The network supports more than 2 million enterprises per year in international trade, technology co-operation and access to funding.