A socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of nationwide and international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, youth, sporting, and cultural events.

The Roscongress Foundation is a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of nationwide and international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, youth, sporting, and cultural events. It was established in pursuance of a decision by the President of the Russian Federation.

The Foundation was established in 2007 with the aim of facilitating the development of Russia’s economic potential, promoting its national interests, and strengthening the country’s image. One of the roles of the Foundation is to comprehensively evaluate, analyse, and cover issues on the Russian and global economic agendas. It also offers administrative services, provides promotional support for business projects and attracting investment, helps foster social entrepreneurship and charitable initiatives.

Each year, the Foundation’s events draw participants from 208 countries and territories, with more than 15,000 media representatives working on-site at Roscongress’ various venues. The Foundation benefits from analytical and professional expertise provided by 5,000 people working in Russia and abroad.

The Foundation works alongside various UN departments and other international organizations, and is building multi-format cooperation with 173 economic partners, including industrialists’ and entrepreneurs’ unions, financial, trade, and business associations from 78 countries worldwide, and 179 Russian public organizations, federal and legislative agencies, and federal subjects.

The Roscongress Foundation has Telegram channels in Russian t.me/Roscongress, English – t.me/RoscongressDirect, and Spanish t.me/RoscongressEsp. Official website and Information and Analytical System of the Roscongress Foundation: roscongress.org.

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New SME Strategy: Challenges, Opportunities, and Solutions
15 June 2022
16:45—18:45
KEY CONCLUSIONS
There is a need for a new SME development strategy

We are talking about a new strategy. But what is the old – the existing – strategy? I would call it ‘an order to survive’. It basically focuses on taking an average small business life up to 5–6 years instead surviving for just three. The future strategy must be based on the following principle – an order to earn. We need to create an environment, where people involved in small and medium-sized businesses could earn. This is a priority task for the near future. Our second biggest priority is to cut on the reporting scope — Andrei Belousov, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.

We need a dialogue among entrepreneurs, government and the people

When a small business opens a bakery on the ground floor of a residential complex, everyone says: ‘We do not like it, because this is where we live.’ I think discussing it with authorities is not right. You need to speak with the people first. We need a dialogue with our people that will help us develop new norms to be set by the authorities — Andrey Nikitin, Governor of Novgorod Region.

A dialogue between the government and entrepreneurs is very important. We need a new approach. We need to hear each other, because there are basic matters that must be resolved promptly. Without it, we will not be able to progress, — Elena Dybova, Vice President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation.

Support measures need to be reviewed. Industry-specific SME development programmes need to be adopted

Industry-specific priorities are among the key issues. Ministries have the authority to develop SMEs. Yet, does the Ministry of Transport or the Ministry of Energy have a clear understanding? Ministries do not have such programmes. OPORA RUSSIA has suggestions for creating industry-specific small and medium-sized business development programmes. Small businesses can and should play an important role in the economy. We cannot stop – we need to focus on the development programmes — Alexander Kalinin, President, All-Russian Non-Governmental Organization of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses OPORA RUSSIA.

ISSUES
No industry-specific small business development programmes

Now is the time for Russian producers. We need to give them a chance for a substantial growth of production-based businesses. The new strategy needs to have industry-specific programmes. We need to review the national small business support project — Elena Dybova, Vice President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation.

Quality of support services for business

Discounted leasing is among the key requests from regional entrepreneurs. It is important that on top of providing more support we plan further steps, such as fewer documents required and higher quality of services. I believe as of today they are not really acceptable. We also need to ensure higher quality of regulation for business. Most importantly, it should not turn into bureaucratic football. Small business is facing global problems now, and we need to help it — Aleksandr Isayevich, General Director - Chairman of the Management Board, Russian Small and Medium Business Corporation.

The microbusiness situation

The share of microbusiness in the SME is very high. It is the toughest niche. The self-employed are not really entrepreneurs – it is just the initial stage. We need to set the task of getting from a microbusiness to a whole new level and a different growth rate — Elena Dybova, Vice President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation.

SOLUTIONS
Support measures for small and medium-sized business

Despite the unprecedented pressure on Russia’s economy, we have not seen a big recession. In March, businesses’ earnings were up 27%. We managed to avoid significant drops in small and medium-sized businesses’ performance. We have the right to request additional financing for national development programmes with respect for the priorities to be developed jointly by the government, business unions and business development institutes. Next year, we will raise a question of additional financing for SMEs, as their payments grow, — Alexander Kalinin, President, All-Russian Non-Governmental Organization of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses OPORA RUSSIA.

We are reviewing guaranteed support. We no longer consider loan provision on a case-to-case basis. Now we monitor banks’ portfolios and track who gets the support, as well as the amount of it. Going from a guarantee mechanism to an umbrella one helped us increase the amount of support 3.5 times in 2021, with roughly 11 thousand businesses getting support year-to-date. I know that this is not a big number, but these enterprises employ 150 thousand people. It is also important that automation allowed us to see the following effect: every fourth loan was given to a business that would not have been able to get back-to-back financing without this mechanism — Aleksandr Isayevich, General Director - Chairman of the Management Board, Russian Small and Medium Business Corporation.

We need cheap long-term money as an SME support measure. Loans should be issued for a minimum of 5–7 years. Short term can be a killer for businesses. Production is not IT – you cannot put it in a suitcase and relocate. We need to create equal opportunities for doing business all around the country — Evgeniya Chavkina, Director, Dives Group.

Opportunities for SMEs to join large companies’ supply chains

Further inclusion of SMEs in large companies’ supply chains remains very important. It concerns the fuel and energy industry, Russian Railways – pretty much everyone. Large companies tend to suddenly realize that they do not produce something, when it is too late to join a production cycle. We manually align SME and large companies. This service is becoming more and more sought after. In this sense we act as their fairy godmother, — Vasily Osmakov, First Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.

Some of the small businesses make unique products. Some are involved in import substitution. We need to adapt them to our industry, — Evgeniya Chavkina, Director, Dives Group.

New instruments and services for small businesses

My Export is a platform offering over 30 various services. This digital platform will use algorithms to increase the number of companies that will be able to use their tools — Veronika Nikishina, General Director, Russian Export Center.

Entrepreneurship need to get to a whole new level and enjoy new development instruments. The government needs to get involved in these instruments. We need to reduce the administrative pressure. In a lot of cases, growth does not seem possible because of that. A business does not have any funds left for development, while it should invest in its own growth and its employees’ training — Elena Dybova, Vice President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation.

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS