Law 4712/2020, in article 47, introduces the establishment of a National Start-Up Registry intended to track the exact number of start-ups and provide incentives aiming to their growth. In addition, a Ministerial Decision was issued for the implementation of the Law, specifying the rules regarding the operation of the Registry.
To serve that purpose, the online platform www.elevategreece.gov.gr was created, so that the interested companies can apply requesting their registration.
In order to be included in the platform, certain eligibility criteria need to be cumulatively met regarding their legal form, the time of their operation and their fiscal and employment conditions.
After submitting their electronic applications for registration, eligible companies will be evaluated by the Evaluation and Supervision Committee of the National Start-ups Registry. The evaluation process aims to identify that the start-ups meet the following two main selection criteria cumulatively:
i. Innovation criteria
These include compliance with technological innovation and competition requirements. In particular, technological innovation requirements stipulate that an innovative product/ service or an innovative business model is introduced. Competition rules require the existence of few competitors already operating in the market. It is outlined that the term “competitors” applies to companies providing solutions with similar advantages and not simply firms catering to the same market in general.
ii. Scalability criteria
The Committee examines whether the business model or the technology applied, allow for rapid scalability meaning that the main company’s product or service is standardized or might be easily, standardized.
At the end of their evaluation by the Committee, companies qualified to register, will be officially accredited as start-ups by the Ministry of Development & Investments.
Law provides another way of accreditation for certain legal entities fulfilling the eligibility criteria, allowing them to follow a fast-track procedure. This means that no additional evaluation is necessary by the Committee, on the basis that the selection criteria are already met.
These entities are outlined as such:
– Companies which have already been funded by venture capital funds, financing institutions and institutional investors.
– Spin-Off of Greek Universities and Research Centers.
– Companies funded within the context of HORIZON 2020 Programs.
– Companies holding an active patent from the European Patent Office and the US Patent Office (cumulatively).
In the aforementioned cases, the registration is determined by the decision of the Secretary General of Research and Technology.
Greece’s start-up ecosystem
One of the most common challenges start-ups face, is the limited and insufficient funding source. Up to the present time, Greece’s start-up ecosystem is characterized by the lack of flexible financing and institutional support. Furthermore, the unfriendly market structure and the limited government incentives additionally stifle technological innovation. Due to their limited resources and especially, during the new circumstances of the covid-era, start-ups are likely to face an increasing number of issues related to their cash inflow, their liquidity and operating expenses.
Benefits of participating in the National Start-Up Registry
As a result, companies – once they are accepted and officially registered in the platform- are expected to benefit in the following ways:
– The participation of a company makes it a potential beneficiary of state-aid provided that it is officially registered before the call for the state-aid is issued. The evaluation process for granting government support is conducted on a case- by-case basis, according to the terms and conditions of the relevant invitation. It is obvious that the allocation of the state-aid is crucial, especially during the initiating stage of the start-ups and can contribute to minimize their financial burden. Moreover, supplementary aids provided for the participants, such as monetary awards and incubation programs will boost their competitiveness.
– Each participant can much more easily gain access and secure funding from Venture Capital firms and angel investors. Particularly, according to Article 49 of Law, certain tax incentives for angel investors are provided, subsequently promoting investments in innovation.
– Opportunities of networking with innovation community players and developing synergies within the innovation ecosystem may arise. Consequently, by gaining international visibility, start-ups could enhance their chances of attracting investors and expanding their network.
Edited by Dafni Sotirchou