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The Role of the Regions in Popularizing Entrepreneurship
14 February 2019
08:30—09:45
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Russia possesses excellent potential to create more entrepreneurs

Our recent efforts to promote a movement as vital, beneficial, and incredibly significant as entrepreneurship marks an unprecedented event. We need to adopt non-standard approaches and fully focus on practical solutions. To start with, it is important that we agree on who is our target audience for this project. In my opinion, it is not only made up of entrepreneurs whom we need to assist, it is also made up of people who are not currently entrepreneurs, but would like to become one in the near future, and whom we can help achieve this. Only 2% of Russians today express an interest in running their own business. The potential to increase this figure is genuinely massive — Vadim Zhivulin, Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

The regions have a key role to play in the implementation of the national project to develop SMEs

The success of the small business national project primarily depends on the situation in the regions. Efforts are required on the part of business, government, and society to make entrepreneurship a respected endeavour. This triangle – business, government, and society – needs to be equally sided, with each side having an effective input — Alexander Kalinin, President, All-Russian Non-Governmental Organization of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Opora Russia.

It is crucial that regional governments across the country hear what entrepreneurs have to say. This is the only way to transform the business climate — Nikolay Kuzyakov, Co-Founder, Vanyushkiny Sladosti.

ISSUES
A complex situation in the microbusiness segment

Overall, there are positive trends in the small and medium-sized business segment, with 18–20% of SMEs implementing a strategy of growth. The number of entrepreneurs looking to expand into new areas has risen. Around 40% report their situation as stable – neither growing, nor shrinking, nor planning to make cutbacks. The microbusiness segment is another matter. Here, most entrepreneurs are implementing a strategy of survival, and their thoughts each month are occupied with how to avoid closing the business. This is quite a worrying picture, given that most small businesses fall under this category. Of the 4 million SMEs, four fifths are microbusinesses — Konstantin Basmanov, Head of Small and Medium Enterprises Unit, Promsvyazbank PJSC.

Low effective demand

More and more often, entrepreneurs are relying on effective demand, and less on sales market growth forecasts. The focus is largely on issues to do with the economy and improving results with existing volumes. This type of expectation is much harder to overcome, as it is deeply embedded and tied in with an entrepreneur’s assessment of their own market — Konstantin Basmanov, Head of Small and Medium Enterprises Unit, Promsvyazbank PJSC.

A lack of qualified personnel in management

Today’s entrepreneurs are concerned about having expertise and developing their personnel’s management skills. There are a huge number of talented programmers in Russia, but you may be unable to monetize your talent, unable to sell, unable to survive in business. <…> We have created a programme in partnership with Sberbank called ‘Business Class’ to help entrepreneurs in their professional development — Marina Zhunich, Director for Government Relations, Google Russia.

Entrepreneurship is not viewed as prestigious

The second issue is the prestigiousness of entrepreneurship, and raising the status of business and businesspeople in the eyes of society. There also needs to be a healthy attitude towards failure in business. As we know, the creators of Angry Birds went through 51 failures before making their world-famous game — Marina Zhunich, Director for Government Relations, Google Russia.

SOLUTIONS
Popularizing entrepreneurship

We are faced with two challenges today, which need to be solved as part of the National Project. First, there is creating a positive image of the entrepreneur. It is our job as a municipal authority for a specific district to get people to stop viewing entrepreneurs as enemies. The second task is identifying people’s abilities and getting more of them into business — Alexey Fursin, Head of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Development Department of Moscow, Moscow City Government.

Entrepreneurship needs to be popularized via success stories. It is not always easy to get them though, as entrepreneurs worry that by talking about their successes, they will attract unwanted attention from administrative bodies and inspectors. And yet, to get results, any potential entrepreneur needs to draw upon the experience of a successful entrepreneur — Alexander Braverman, Member of the Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Management Board, SME Corporation.

Creating educational programmes for entrepreneurs

One of the regional components of the national project will be funding educational initiatives, including strategic educational programmes for our businesspeople. We need to nurture a new class of entrepreneurs — Sergei Morozov, Governor of Ulyanovsk Region.

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS