Today, Eurobank unveiled a comprehensive action plan that builds and supports sustainable Greek entrepreneurship within the economic crisis. The goal of the initiative is to reinforce Greek businesses, helping them to overcome the difficulties of the current climate, as well as to help them successfully live up to the challenges of international competition and international markets. It is a bold new step towards promoting national entrepreneurship, investment and exports—a strategic priority for our bank since 2009. The new plan focuses on the need for an outward looking development boost to the Greek economy and highlights the critical role that a healthy and productive private sector will play in the effort to overcome the crisis itself.
The programme is structured around four core initiatives, which together provide cutting-edge products and services to meet the needs of dynamic Greek businesses. In this effort, Eurobank has collaborated with the country's foremost entrepreneurial and business bodies, including the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises and bilateral chambers of commerce. Eurobank has also partnered with the leading export promotion agencies, including the Panhellenic Exporters Association, the Greek International Business Association and the Exporters' Association of Crete.
The four initiatives are as follows:
First of all, we offer our clients a set of new products and services, which allow them to grow their businesses in new markets. While many Greek businessmen and businesswomen find themselves under pressure in the current economic climate, we believe that they are also capable of capitalizing on prospects and opportunities abroad and, in so doing, contributing to the productive transformation of the Greek economy.
Second, in cooperation with the entrepreneurial and business bodies, we present, for the first time in Greece, Exportgate.gr, a new and unique web portal for Greek businesses to present and promote their products in new international markets. With the close collaboration of export bodies and with the anticipated support of the NSRF (National Strategic Reference Framework), we believe that this portal can quickly become a valuable, national tool for the support and promotion of Greek exports.
Third, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we are organising the fourth consecutive Go International conference in Moscow in the spring of 2013. Go International is a programme designed to promote Greek export businesses abroad. The previous three conferences took place in Nicosia, Belgrade and Bucharest, with more than 300 Greek export businesses participating. Most importantly, the three previous conferences played host to more than 4,000 business meetings between Greek exporters and foreign importers.
Meanwhile, in the fall of 2013, Eurobank will host a two-day conference in Athens, bringing together Europe's foremost wholesale food and beverage distributors, large European food retailers, and medium and small Greek export businesses. This provides Greek exporters with the opportunity to establish high-level trade contacts and promote their products overseas, two goals that would be difficult to achieve independently.
Fourth, we are building bridges between entrepreneurs, the banking sector and breakthrough scientific research. The Greece Innovates! Competition is central to this effort. Jointly organised by Eurobank and the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises, Greece Innovates! showcases the country's technological capabilities and helps transform high-tech ideas into high-value products. The 2nd Greece Innovates! Competition is currently underway, with dozens of fascinating proposals being evaluated by our scientific committee.
These four initiatives together form a comprehensive strategy to aid the transformation of the Greek economy from an inward, consumption-based, and state-centred economy to an outward-facing model of investment and development.
The programme of initiatives includes:
- A reduction of loan interest rates for certain categories of business clients
- A solution to the problem of providing internationally accepted guarantees for the purchase of raw materials
- Pre-financing for production investment for export businesses
- Financing for tourism businesses that are facing liquidity challenges
- Support for medium-sized businesses through new, innovative services, including providing businesses with specialised teams of Eurobank experts, who will act in an advisory capacity to help businesses access new international markets
“The Greek economy is at a critical juncture. The role of the banking system, in view of its recapitalisation, is crucial in moving forward from the painful period of adjustment and reorganisation into the promising phase of growth,” stressed Eurobank Group's CEO, Mr Nicholas Nanopoulos. “The set of products and initiatives we are presenting today reflect our firm commitment to contributing, with all our powers, to the effort to reorganise and restart our economy and utilise its creative strengths.”
“We are there for dynamic entrepreneurs and healthy, sustainable businesses which, despite the difficulties they face, remain creditworthy and able to compete internationally. These entrepreneurial forces can take Greece forward. These forces can lead the effort for the country to exit the crisis,” stated Mr Nikolaos Karamouzis, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Eurobank Group. “Over the past few months, we have developed a comprehensive proposal to support them. The slogan ‘Partnering with Businesses for Growth’ demonstrates the importance we attach to activating productive forces in order to return the country to growth and to create jobs.
Mr Karamouzis also stressed, that Eurobank would give great importance to:
· Offering practical support for businesses that continue to successfully compete in international markets
· Rewarding reliable, healthy and viable businesses by reducing their borrowing costs
· Providing technological support with cutting-edge tools to help Greek businesses gain a foothold in new international markets
· Offering flexible solutions for today's exceptional circumstances and planning for tomorrow's needs
· Providing multifaceted support for exporters, who represent the future of entrepreneurship
A. Products for the Support of Growth and Outward-Orientation
Eurobank offers five sets of new products as part of its comprehensive support framework for businesses:
- We reward reliable businesses. On our own initiative, and starting with the next instalment, we will reduce the interest rate on long-term financing by 50 basis points for business clients who are on time with their instalment payments from their own equity (minimum interest: euribor + 400bp).
- We support production that has been disrupted by the credit crunch. In cooperation with international banks, we will offer the opportunity for raw materials and semi-finished goods to be purchased on credit, so that Greek businesses can produce and export once again.
- We reward export businesses for their dynamism. We will reduce interest rates on pre-financing for exporters who are on time with their payments by 100 basis points on preliminary orders and by 200 basis points on documentary credit arrangements. Furthermore, we will fund their participation in international trade fairs with up to €100,000.
- We support medium-sized businesses—those that are sustainable but face short-term problems due to the current climate—because these businesses constitute the backbone of the Greek economy. We will reduce interest rates on financing by up to 30% (minimum interest rate: 6.50%) for qualifying medium-sized businesses with loans of up to €1,000,000.
- We support the tourism sector. We offer a range of facilitations for businesses in the tourism sector: a) we offer businesses with no outstanding obligations to tax authorities a deferment of instalment payments or a reduction of the instalment amount on long-term loans for a period of 12 months and an adjustment of the remaining instalments; b) we adjust principal instalment payments on long-term loans based on seasonal inflows; c) we finance payroll for the first three months of the tourism season, with repayment to be made within three months of disbursement (at an interest rate of 5.50%); and d) we provide a one-off lump-sum for the repayment of outstanding debts to tax authorities and to the Social Insurance Institute (IKA), with repayment to be made in 48 back-loaded instalments (at an interest rate of 5.50%), provided that payments to such authorities are, in the future, paid in full from own equity.
B. Technology at the Service of Economic Outward-Orientation – The Creation of a National Exports Web-Portal: Exportgate.gr
At the same time, Eurobank offers new layers of support to exporters by providing unique technological tools, previously unavailable in Greece, which will allow exporters to enter new international markets.
The creation of the new web-portal Exportgate.gr (in collaboration with the Greek International Business Association, the Panhellenic Exporters Association, the Exporters' Association of Crete, the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises, and the active support of numerous bilateral chambers) plays a central role in this process.
Exportgate.gr, the first truly comprehensive web portal for entering new international markets, will provide users with access to many innovative features, including:
· The service Ask the Experts!An established team of experts, comprising Eurobank officials and partners, will provide information and technical support to the bank's clients free of charge, facilitating export activity for small- and medium-sized businesses, and solving technical matters that may arise.
· Promotion to international customers and partners through e-exhibitions
· Links to the largest local and international electronic libraries on exporting
· Access to a comprehensive range of e-services including e-auctions and e-trade
From the day it goes live (planned for early December), Exportgate.gr will boast a database of approximately 500 Greek exporters and 300 foreign importers, all clients of Eurobank's international network in South-Eastern Europe. The portal will also grant access, through various international channels, to almost 30,000 import operations around the world.
C. Promoting Greek Exports – Go International in Moscow for breaking into Russia's large market
A) Exportgate.gr is part of the comprehensive Go International programme to support the outward-orientation of Greek businesses. In cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Greek International Business Association, the Panhellenic Exporters Association, the Exporters' Association of Crete, and the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises, three major conferences have been organised under Go International—in Nicosia, Belgrade and Bucharest. Altogether, these conferences hosted over 4,000 bilateral business meetings between Greek exporters and foreign importers and distributors. Go International has been very well received by Greek exporters, and the next (particularly important) event is planned for spring 2013 in Moscow.
B) In the fall of 2013, Eurobank will organise a two-day conference in Athens that will connect top European wholesale distributors and international food and beverage retailers, with small- and medium-sized Greek exporters. The participating distributors play a key role in granting product access to their corresponding markets. This conference is therefore of particular importance for Greek businesses because, due to their size, it is very difficult for most Greek exporters to establish such contacts directly.
D. Showcasing Innovation and the Country's Technological Capabilities
The Greece Innovates! Competition, organised by Eurobank in cooperation with the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises, has been enthusiastically received by business, scientific and academic communities alike from its launch.The 2nd Greece Innovates! Competition is currently underway, with dozens of fascinating proposals currently being evaluated by our scientific committee. The results will be announced and awards will be given for the best proposals in June 2013. Eurobank is fully prepared and excited to fund and support further the commercial development of these wonderfully innovative ideas.