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Demas: 533 start-ups have completed their registration in Elevate Greece

“Elevate Greece has completed the registration of 533 start-ups, which employ more than 5,000 people. In other words, for the first time we have an essential tool through which the State provides specific incentives to start-ups.”

This was stated by the Deputy Minister of Development and Investment Christos Dimas at the event of the International Initiative “Restarting the Greek Economy”.

Specifically, the Deputy Minister said of Elevate Greece. It therefore did not know how many existed, where they were located, in which sector they operated, how many employees they employed and what their turnover was. It is logical that when the State does not have all these data, it is in fact unable to design and implement an effective policy. Today, there is a clear and mapped picture of the innovation ecosystem, so the State is able to design policies tailored to the needs of the ecosystem. Elevate Greece has completed the registration of 533 start-ups, employing more than 5,000 people. In other words, for the first time we have an essential tool through which the State provides specific incentives to start-ups, such as tax deductions for angel investors, stock options and even NSRF actions to boost their liquidity. Elevate Greece is supported by a network of official supporters active in the field of innovation, investment and entrepreneurship, including banks, multinational companies, Greek businesses and institutional supporters. The benefits offered by the official supporters to start-ups include cash prizes, access to their global innovation network, cloud services, advisory services and even specialised banking products.

Record government funding for R&D in 2020

On the record state funding for R&D in 2020, which brought Greece to 3rd place in the EU, the Deputy Minister noted: “In 2020, the annual appropriations recorded in the state budget for Research and Development (R&D) amount to €1,463.2 million, which is the highest amount recorded since 2008-2020, according to official data published by the National Documentation Centre. More specifically, in 2020, state budget appropriations for R&D in Greece amount to 0.89% of GDP, which now ranks Greece in 3rd place in the EU-27, above both the EU-27 (0.67%) and the Eurozone (0.69%). Similarly, they represent 1.48 % of total public expenditure and place Greece in 8th place in the EU-27, above the relevant EU (1.42 %) and Eurozone (1.46 %) MTOs. “The allocation of a state’s credit for research and development is a prerequisite for enhancing a country’s competitiveness. The very large increase in state funding for research and development in 2020 is tangible proof that effective support for research and innovation is a strategic priority. Our goal is an annual increase in research funding both from public funding but mainly from the private sector. That is why we are continuing our initiatives in this direction with a methodical and planned approach.

Attracting investment

“Investing in research and innovation is a strategic priority for the government because it creates new, well-paid and quality jobs,” he continued, adding: “In the last year, despite the pandemic crisis, many companies, inside and outside Greece, have announced very important investments such as Pfizer, Microsoft, Applied Materials, Cisco, EY, Amazon Web Services ka and this is a practical confidence in the Greek economy and in the human resources we have. In any case, the improvement of the business environment, the steady reduction of tax rates, the reduction of insurance contributions, the incentives of the development law, the fight against bureaucracy and many other things are aimed at making Greece in the coming years a hub of innovation, capable of attracting many large-scale investments.”

Innovation State

The second phase of the international public tender for the creation of the first Innovation State, which will be located at the site of the former Cropei factory, was launched last month and, according to the timetable, a contractor will be identified in the second quarter of 2022. This was stated by the Deputy Minister and added that the investment is expected to reach 100 million euros, without burdening the Greek state since the cost of construction and operation will be borne by the private sector. “With the implementation of the Innovation Centre, there will be significant benefits for the development of the wider region of Attica, but also for Greece in general. The Innovation State is a natural space where researchers, start-ups and Research and Development (R&D) departments of companies and industries will create business synergies producing innovative products and services for the benefit of the Greek economy and society. The Centre is expected to accommodate more than 2,500 employees. We hope that with the operation of the project, Greece will have its own natural home in research and innovation and young scientists and talented entrepreneurs will be able to compete on a supranational scale from within our country, within the Innovation State,” the Deputy Minister said.

Brain – drain

Finally, on the brain-drain, Dimas said: If we want to keep business and scientific talent in our country and attract Greeks who left during the years of the crisis, they must feel confident that in Greece they can achieve their goals and dreams. The investments I mentioned above are creating thousands of new, quality and well-paid jobs and it is no coincidence that many Greeks who left during the crisis years have indeed returned recently. Our goal is for Greece in the coming years to meet the conditions to keep its children and its scientists and not to ‘push’ them into forced emigration. There is no doubt that important steps have been taken in this direction, but we still have a long way to go.

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