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How EFSI benefits SMEs in Europe - National Bank of Greece case study: Smile Pharmacy (Greece), pharmaceutical services

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“Consumer attitudes are changing fast,” explains Antonio D’Aria, e-commerce Manager at Smile Pharmacy, in perfect Greek. “They are now smarter, more demanding and looking for the value-for-money deals. This means that we are left with little choice… If we want to maintain our high standards, we need to respond to these changes. This is why we set up the e-shop.”

Anna Fotinis Sakkou Pharmacy (Smile Pharmacy) is a family business in Glyfada that started back in 1980. Today’s second generation of pharmacists have been striving to keep up with challenging times and changing market dynamics. In November 2013, responding to shifting consumer trends, they set up an e-shop to sell cosmetics, para-pharmaceutical products and food supplements. This expansion meant significant growth in sales which in turn necessitated further adjustments to the business. The back-office teams were strengthened, including supply chain management, accounting and pricing, and the call centre and marketing departments were also reinforced. In short, Smile Pharmacy had to shift gears to keep up with the growth.

In this effort, they turned to their trusted partner, the National Bank of Greece, who offered the necessary financial push in the form of a loan backed by EIF under the EU’s Investment Plan for Europe. The Investment Plan for Europe aims to help small businesses in accessing finance, thus generating new investments, creating jobs and economic growth.

With this financial injection, Smile Pharmacy were able to improve their cash flow, rent larger storage space, and invest in automating various business processes. As Antonio explains, “we were able to set solid foundations for the growth of the business. Most importantly, during a difficult period in Greece, we managed to maintain our staff numbers.” In fact, the company’s growth even created four new job positions.

Today, the company numbers 21 staff members and 3 pharmacists. The e-shop, which reaches clients all over Greece and is now starting to look beyond its borders too, accounts for about 60% of sales - a clear indication that the decision to move in this direction was the right one.

Company: Smile Pharmacy (Greece)

Type of business: pharmaceutical services

EIF financing: COSME LGF, EFSI

Financial intermediary: National Bank of Greece

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Greece, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/el

 

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