“Greek Region and the reinforcement of enterprises in it, consists a priority for the Operational Program “Digital Convergence”. Within the context of our program, the possibility of funding is seriously examined, at the stage of evaluation of proposals of the companies of the Region and especially those located in the Regions of Pure Convergence according to the OP “Digital Convergence”, namely in Eastern Macedonia – Thrace, Thessaly, Epirus Western Greece, Peloponnese, Ionian islands, Crete and North Aegean”, underlined in an interview to “In-On” magazine, the Special Secretary for Digital Planning, Mr. Markopoulos (Ministry of Regional Development).
Question: Regarding the new investment project of Digital Convergence that will start in June what kinds of companies does it refer to and what is the amount of money for the investments to commence?
Answer: The new framework for state aid from the Operational Program “Digital Convergence” that was recently announced and is about to be put in action during summer, is developed in two complementary lines which are not restricted within traditional models, reinforcing, therefore, the creation of new posts of employment.
The first in which almost 120 million Euros is about to be given, refers to the “strengthening of supply” and aims at the development of innovative services, products and IT companies, and the second refers to the “strengthening of demand”, in a budget of 180 million Euros, in order to incorporate latest technology to the market.
Critical parameter in this context constitutes the change in methodology that we follow, as the actions will be realized now in circles and phases whereas there will be a reward for the implementation of innovation in entrepreneurship from the stage of setting up till maturation. Funding will be allocated to discrete stages of maturity. More particularly, participating in every next phase presupposes the successful completion of the previous.
The axis that regards the strengthening of supply has to do mostly with enterprises in the field of Information and Communication Technologies, regardless size or “age”. We pursue to support entrepreneurship even in its first steps, the realization of innovative ideas and their commercial exploitation as well.
The axis that regards the strengthening of demand is to mainly aim at medium, small and very small enterprises in specific fields, according to the priorities set by the digital agenda of the European Union. In this context, we aim to reinforce the exploitation of Information and Communication Technologies in order to enhance the production of the supply chain, of energy efficient enterprises in the field of the processing of agricultural products, tourism services etc.
The investments, which are about to be reinforced by the new framework for state aid, are expected to range from 200.000 to even five (5) million Euros.
Question: How will the companies of the region be supported?
Answer: Greek region and the reinforcement of enterprises in it constitute a priority not only for the Ministry of Regional Development in total but also for the Operational Program “Digital Convergence” more specifically. These actions have a regional dimension taking into account the local peculiarities of every region. In fact, in the framework of our program, the possibility of funding is seriously examined, at the stage of evaluation of proposals, of the companies of the Region and especially those located in the Regions of Pure Convergence according to O.P «Digital Convergence», namely in Eastern Macedonia– Thrace, Thessaly, Epirus Western Greece, Peloponnese, Ionian islands, Crete and North Aegean.
Question: What does a company need to get the approval of its investment with the new investment program?
Answer: The terms and conditions to participate in the new framework for state aid of the Operational Program “Digital Convergence” have not been finalized yet. As already mentioned, however, companies are not to be excluded due to their size or “age”. It has to be noticed that in any case, all the companies that want to exploit these actions – and our care is that there are as many companies as possible – should have an extrovert mood, a good approach of their developmental goals and employment of human resources, right programming, realistic, yet ambitious business plans and detailed planning. This is because we want these actions to have qualitative and over time results and not occasional ones.
Question: What the law on new entrepreneurship?
Answer: If we refer to the New Investment Law of the Ministry of Regional Development and Competitiveness, as the Minister himself has already mentioned, special attention is given to social mobility through the support of new enterprises and the reinforcement of youth entrepreneurship and the scientific potential of the country. In fact, special schemes have been worked upon to reinforce the innovative ventures of new entrepreneurs that regard young peoples’ businesses from 20 to 40 years of age and provides support for almost all costs (operational as well) for 5 years from the start, while the total aid could reach the amount of 1.000.000 Euros.
The Special Secretary for Digital Planning, Mr. Markopoulos holds a doctorate from the National Technical University, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and also graduated from the Department of Telecommunications and Informatics of the University of Athens.
His experience is rich in research and development programs not only within the framework of the academic world but also through his long route in the private sector, participating in the design of Integrated Information Systems Architecture and Development of new Internet Systems. Moreover, he has extensively engaged with a Community Support Framework, the management of major projects of the CSF III and ECAC especially in the field of Information and Communications and Digital Strategy. More than 25 research works have been published in internationally recognized conferences, books and magazines in the fields of Next Generation Wireless Networks and Internet Services.
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