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Government Chancellor Alminas Mačiulis: SMEs – the core of the economy

Date

2014 12 04

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An international conference: Small and Medium Business Development Through Better Access to Finance has been held today at the Office of the Government. Chancellor Alminas Mačiulis has noted that Lithuania has not as yet invented a better medicine for the stimulation of the economy and strengthening its competitiveness as the small and medium business development.

“Small and Medium Business (SMB) has set up more than 90 per cent of all enterprises, employing about 77 per cent of the total figure of the employees, and generating more than two-thirds of gross domestic product. This is the core of our economy”, said the Chancellor, adding that it is important to continue encouraging people, especially in the regions, to readily implement their ideas, develop business, take on new projects. “Regional economic recovery is an important lever in strengthening the foundations of Lithuania’s economy and stimulating its growth”, said Alminas Mačiulis.

The Chancellor has noted that the crisis hit hard SMEs, resulting in 20 per cent wind-ups over just one year and the decline in gross value added by more than one third. The year 2014, however, has witnessed SMB recovery. “According to the financial institution Investment and Business Guarantees (INVEGA), the total of 660 individual and portfolio guarantees and guaranteed loans and leasing transactions, totalling LTL 282.5 million have been issued this year, and this makes 18 per cent more than the same period last year,”, said Alminas Mačiulis.

The Chancellor has pointed out that this year LTL 17.8 million worth loan agreements have been signed through the Entrepreneurship Promotion Fund and 370 business received start-up loans, which resulted in 700 new jobs. “In 2014, financial assistance by this measure in regions alone accounted for an increase by 25 per cent, and the number of supported SME’s grew to 48 per cent”, said the Chancellor.

Lithuania, according to Alminas Mačiulis, is a small and open economy, therefore it is only natural that small and medium business enterprises join in local and international value chains and make efforts to introduce innovations in marketing and business operations. With the help of EU structural support funds, we will continue to facilitate start -up businesses and their development in 2014-2020, at the same time focusing on measures to increase their international competitiveness.

“Next year EU structural funds are intended to be invested in projects that create long-term benefits. We will seek to increase business investment in science, technology and development, and highly-skilled and high added value jobs”, said Alminas Mačiulis.