SMEs in Cyprus generate approximately three quarters of the value added of the non-financial business economy, compared with an average EU share of 58%. SMEs also provide 83 % of jobs in the non-financial business economy compared with an EU average. Accommodation and food services and the wholesale and retail trade play a more significant role for SMEs than in the rest of Europe. Their combined share of SME value added is 44 %, compared with the EU average of only 27 %.
Based on the assessed indicators, Cyprus presents a profile that is generally in line with the EU average. The recession and still fragile banking sector have depressed investment, bringing it to one of the lowest levels in the 2013. The lack of growth-enhancing investment is also attributable to shortcomings in the business environment, especially to poor contract enforcement, long court proceedings, administrative and regulatory burden, low incentives for innovation, and limited access to finance, in particular for SMEs. EU funds and financial instruments have been available to SMEs in Cyprus but the take up has so far been limited, while growth-enhancing strategies, including also a privatisation plan for public utilities, are in place but have not yet been implemented.
The general outlook for SMEs contrasts with recent performance. SME value added in the non-financial business economy is projected to increase in 2016 by 12 % respectively, while employment is expected to grow by 16 % by 2016 relative to 2014. However, the outlook is mixed across sectors. SMEs in the professional activities and wholesale and retail trade sectors are expected to increase their value added from 2014 to 2016 by 31 % and 16 % respectively, while SME value added is projected to stagnate in the construction sector.
Further steps need to be taken to improve access to finance and specific measures are required to strengthen the innovation capacity of SMEs.
PLANET has already in place a modern and integrated service portfolio to assist SMEs in overcoming these challenges and fulfil their new needs. This portfolio is based on five strategic pillars:
•Financial reengineering and exploitation of new financial instruments for investment and working capital funding
•Operational and organizational adjustment to adapt into new market conditions
•Modernization of business infrastructure to catch up with latest technology standards and international market needs
•Development of new high value products/services using local advantages and reinforcement of exporting capabilities
•Introduction of R&D activities either in-house or through participation in R&D projects of independent R&D institutes
Using a unique diagnostic and service delivery methodology and leveraging a wide network of high level field experts, PGI becomes a valuable partner for SMEs towards the fulfilment of their new goals and ambitions.