Entrepreneurship in Greece: Employment by Size ClassTable 10 presents data concerning the number of employees that work in each size class, for the seven European countries. The last column presents the total private sector workforce. The largest number of employees was recorded in Germany (22.1 million), followed by the UK (18.1 million), France (15.1 million), Spain (14.2 million), Portugal (3.3 million), Sweden (2.8 million) and finally Greece (2.6 million).(Note 1) In order to examine employment of each size class in more detail, it is useful to look at percentages, as presented in Table 11 and Figure 8. Micro enterprises in Greece are responsible for the 58.2% of total private sector employment. This percentage is much higher than all other countries and highlights the importance of micro enterprises in the economy. Large enterprises in Greece occupy 13.6% of private sector workforce, which is the lowest percentage of the seven countries. The largest percentage of large enterprises employment is met in the UK (45.9%), followed by Germany (39.6%), France (39.5%), Sweden (36.3%), Spain (22.4%) and Portugal (18.9%).
Having examined Greek entrepreneurship data and structural business statistics, it is useful to see the country’s business prospects. Development of the humanity

Greece, due to a combination of microeconomic and macroeconomic long term weaknesses, in 2009 was faced with a large deficit problem (15.3% of GDP). This fiscal deficit increased drastically the borrowing interest rates, and as a solution the country turned to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for assistance. The IMF agreed to lend funds to the Greek government, by signing two cooperation memorandums. These memorandums included various lending terms, as cutting government spending, increasing taxes and lowering wage rates. Even though some of the lending terms were useful for the economy, others have proven completely inefficient and suffocating for the market. The country is in its fourth year of recession and as a result many businesses, especially SMEs, are closing.
Table 12 presents the numbers of Greek enterprises according to Eurostat. The total number of enterprises in 2005 was over 820753, out of which 820285 were SMEs. In 2011 the total number of enterprises was 721277, out of which 720702 were SMEs. The number of large enterprises has increased from 468 in 2005, to 577 on 2011. By subtracting from each year the value of the previous year, we can calculate the increase or decrease in the number of firms. During 2006 and 2007 there was an increase in the number of firms in the economy. From 2009 up to 2011, there has been a large decrease in the total number of enterprises, mainly due to massive closure of micro firms. According to Eurostat estimates, the total number of SMEs that closed between 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 is 108572. However, the number of large firms has increased from 2007 onwards.
Business closures have also affected employment. The data presented on Table 14 originate from Eurostat and regard employment by size class in Greece for the period 2005-2011. The total number of employees working in the private sector in 2005 was over 2.4 million, out of which 2 million worked in SMEs. In 2011 the total number of employees was 2.4 million, out of which again 2 million worked in SMEs. In large enterprises, even though as seen in Tables 13, their number has increased during the period 2005-2011, the number of employees occupied has decreased.
Again, by subtracting from each year the value of the previous year, we can calculate the increase or decrease in employment by size class.  From 2009 onwards we can notice that there have been continuous job losses in all business size classes. Total job losses between 2009 and 2011 amount to 208053 (33656+102026+72371). The job losses in SMEs between 2009 and 2011 were 173673 (29068+84890+59714), while in large enterprises they were 34380 (4587+17137+12656).
Moreover, according to the 2011 Yearly Report on Greek Trade, by the National Confederation of Greek Trade, the closures expected for 2012 range between 50000 and 60000 and the job losses around 100000. Regarding the job losses, the Employment Institute of the General Confederation of Greek Workers is more pessimistic. It expected around 500000 job losses in 2012.

Table 10: Employment by Size Class 2007 (values)

1-9 10-19 20-49 50-249 250+ Total
Germany 424452 2342985 2457605 4354889 8800230 22199161
UK 3898329 1562194 1590442 2756434 8329493 18136892
France 3673665 1301770 1772748 2389409 5966660 15104252
Sweden 702526 261584 342046 524751 1042929 2873836
Spain 5456091 1540760 1955014 2115745 3 193 120 14260730
Portugal 1389008 350016 413361 545157 627185 3324727
Greece 1513452 213860 241815 276970 353931 2600028

Table 11: Employment by Size Class 2007 (%)

1-9 10-19 20-49 50-249 250+
Germany 19.1 10.6 11.1 19.6 39.6
UK 21.5 8.6 8.8 15.2 45.9
France 24.3 8.6 11.7 15.8 39.5
Sweden 24.4 9.1 11.9 18.3 36.3
Spain 38.3 10.8 13.7 14.8 22.4
Portugal 41.8 10.5 12.4 16.4 18.9
Greece 58.2 8.2 9.3 10.7 13.6

Table 12: Number of Enterprises by Size Class in Greece

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
0-9 796520 799854 801723 782763 756244 719952 695733
10-49 21246 25250 24604 24406 23780 22832 22075
50-249 2519 3496 2947 2982 2965 2893 2894
SMEs 820285 828600 829274 810151 782989 745677 720702
250+ 468 429 478 515 556 563 577
Total 820753 829029 829752 810666 783545 746240 721277

Table 13: Business Closures in Greece

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
0-9 3334 1869 -18960 -26519 -36292 -24219
10-49 4004 -646 -198 -626 -948 -757
50-249 977 -549 35 -17 -72 1
SMEs 8315 674 -19123 -27162 -37312 -24975
250+ -39 49 37 41 7 14
Total 8276 723 -19086 -27121 -37305 -24963

Table 14: Employment by Size Class in Greece

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
0-9 1401535 1500792 1515228 1519819 1500075 1447218 1410339
10-49 392811 446709 459983 462716 457256 438792 423499
50-249 242704 304802 281041 281860 277996 264427 256885
SMEs 2037050 2252303 2256252 2264395 2235327 2150437 2090723
250+ 455304 337117 380594 383779 379192 362055 349399
Total 2492354 2589 420 2636846 2648174 2614518 2512492 2440121

Table 15: Job Losses in Greece 2006-2011

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
0-9 99257 14436 4591 -19744 -52857 -36879
10-49 53898 13274 2733 -5460 -18464 -15293
50-249 62098 -23761 819 -3864 -13569 -7542
SMEs 215253 3949 8143 -29068 -84890 -59714
250+ -118187 43477 3185 -4587 -17137 -12656
Total 97066 47426 11328 -33656 -102026 -72371

Figure-8

Figure 8: Employment by Size Class 2007 (percentages)

Figure-9

Figure 9: Administrative Burdens on Start-Ups (2008) (from 0 to 6 the more restricting)