This firm survived the euro zone crisis. Here's how

The past seven years have seen many businesses across Europe suffer. Economies struggled to cope with the effects of the euro zone crisis and entrepreneurs – many of them running small to medium sized businesses and start-ups – have been forced to make tough decisions.

Southern Europe in particular has been hit hard, with people in debt-saddled Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal suffering greatly. Across towns and cities, shops have been shut, workers have been laid off and homes repossessed.

In 2008 – the year that Spain's property bubble spectacularly burst, sending the country's economy into an unprecedented crisis – Marta A. Andres set up an events management business in Madrid. Seven years later, after years of austerity and a multi-billion dollar bailout for her country, her business is still standing.

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"We definitely had to adjust [to] the crisis, not only to try and be more competitive but to encourage people to celebrate… as well," she told CNBC.com in a phone interview.

Andres added that she felt, "the situation [in Spain] is getting better,"

The figures seem to back her up. According to the latest figures from the European Commission's Winter Economic Forecast, year-on-year gross domestic product growth for Spain will be 2.3 percent in 2015 and 2.5 percent in 2016. While unemployment is still incredibly high, it is projected to fall from 26.1 percent in 2013 to 20.7 percent in 2016.

However Spain is not yet out of the woods: the country's gross public debt as a percentage of GDP is predicted to rise to 101.5 percent this year, an increase of more than three percentage points when compared to 2014.

Andres has steered her business, which employs six people, through Spain's crisis by broadening the services it offers and investing more in advertising.

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"Now, we're more than [just] a company for marquees and tents. To be more competitive we're offering our clients whole events, [offering to] run the catering, run the music, run the decorations, if they want… [so] they avoid hiring three or four different companies."

The success of SMEs such as Marta's is crucial to European growth. According to the European Commission's Annual Report on European SMEs for 2013/2014, 99 out of every 100 businesses in the EU are SMEs, employing two thirds of workers.

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Denis Doyle | Getty Images

Much like Spain, Portugal has suffered over the last few years: a multi-billion euro bailout, crippling austerity, high youth unemployment and job losses.

João Romão is a young entrepreneur based in Lisbon. After quitting his consultancy job, he founded digital start-up GetSocial – a software as service company that provides website owners with 'a social media app store' – in 2013. For Romão, Lisbon – and Portugal – has much going for it.

"I believe that Portugal is one of the best places to set up and run a company," he told CNBC.com in a phone interview.

Romão went on to say that, "In Portugal you can create a company in half an hour with 300 euros. You go to an IRS office, you create a company, fill in two papers and it's done."

Incubators such as Startup Lisboa – which is located in two buildings in downtown Lisbon – offer new companies low-cost working spaces, networking opportunities and encourage knowledge sharing.

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According to Romão, Portugal is fast becoming a hub for young, ambitious tech start-ups. "Three… three and a half years ago, there was no such thing as an entrepreneurial eco system in Portugal. There were a few spots here and there, but not this movement, this way of living."

Romão added that a sea change in attitudes towards employment among young people is also happening. "What's happening today is that the youngsters, those who are graduating now from college, they are less risk averse. They don't believe the 'job for life' theory."

Portugal's bailout program ended last year, and while the International Monetary Fund recently stated that in 2015, "Portugal's economic recovery is expected to strengthen," it also noted that, "policymakers still need to address several difficult legacies of the crisis and long-standing imbalances."

Wages in Portugal are low, and for Romão, this is actually helping to attract big hitters from the U.S and Europe to outsource operations to Lisbon.

"One thing we're starting to see here in Lisbon is many start-ups from Europe, from the States, getting their IT departments [and] development departments here in Portugal," he said.

He went on to add that, "You're probably going to pay $100,000 or $120,000 for an engineer in San Francisco, you can get one for $25,000 here."

"Imagine what you can do with a budget for one engineer – you can have a whole team of them."