Doing Business in Greece Within the Wider Context of SMEs Internationalization: A Benchmarking Approach Between Greece and Selected OECD/EU Member Countries

Doing Business in Greece Within the Wider Context of SMEs Internationalization: A Benchmarking Approach Between Greece and Selected OECD/EU Member Countries

Panagiotis Katis (University of the Aegean, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2458-8.ch018


The ability of SMEs to remain entrepreneurially active is important since it not only improves their competitiveness and hence their entrepreneurial prospects, but it also creates a positive impact on macro-economic data. The present study focuses on a spectrum of such parameters which consist the framework within which domestic SMEs operate and international SMEs can ‘Internationalise by Doing Business' in Greece and develop their entrepreneurial activity vis-à-vis other economies. Greece's business profile is analysed on the basis of the regulations, policies and mechanisms that it has established and operate in order to create a favourable environment for international enterprises and their activities in comparison with respective average of OECD members, as well as with six other European economies (French, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain). The main parameters of the ‘Doing Business' model that are applied include: starting business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, investors' protection, resolving insolvency, getting credit, paying taxes.
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According to Susman (2007) the term internationalisation defines the process of increasing involvement of enterprises in international markets. Apparently, there is no agreed definition of internationalisation with some economists (Digman & Fechol, 2013) arguing that internationalisation involves business activities that extend beyond the boundaries of a unified, internal market As internal market is also perceived the European Union EU and consequently any business activities between EU countries is not classified under the internationalisation spectrum (only activities with nations overseas). However, analysing the term grammatically this consists of two parts: the prefix ‘inter’ (which means between two parties) and the suffix ‘nation’. In other words internationalisation involves any business interaction between at least two nations. In that respect any such interaction between European countries can also be considered as internationalisation. The most usual forms of internationalisation are exports, imports and foreign direct investment FDI. Since the present article focuses on the extent to which the framework of doing business in Greece facilitates domestic as well as internationalisation of foreign enterprises, the main type used as a term of reference in the following arguments is the FDI mode of international business activities (i.e. wholly-owned subsidiary, joint ventures etc) and general strategic alliances (Harris, 2003).

Internationalisation should not be viewed as an ‘intrusion’ by the host company but as a win-win situation that could benefit both parties involved. Specifically, international incoming players could benefit from getting out of saturated markets and expanding their business horizons and opportunities for increasing revenues and profits while domestic enterprises and especially SMEs can benefit from ‘newcomers’ know-how and their expertise and potential best entrepreneurial and general business practises applied (UNCTAD, 2000).

In the present era of globalisation of markets as well as of the rapid developments and changes we are experiencing, internationalisation comprises a great challenge for all firms in order for them to arrive at an optimal model of viability and growth that should be applied given the inherent obstacles (Digman, & Fechol, 2013).

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