Russian Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Forum
On June 17, 2015, in the run-up to SPIEF 2015, round table discussions were held on topics relevant for Russian small and medium entrepreneurship were discussed at four venues.
The key topics at the SME Forum were: small business potential, demand for the products and services of small enterprises, state procurement, administrative and legal regulation, refinement of the tax legislation and the removal of administrative barriers; innovative and industrial small business and business infrastructure; financial resources for SME enterprises and investments in small business.
Each of these topics is an integral part of the entrepreneur’s daily routine. It was noted in the course of discussions that the government does not fully use the potential of national small and medium business, while administrative ‘overregulation’, tax and other burdens are still quite high. During the discussions, it was recommended that results rather than processes should be the primary focus.
The forum participants suggested the need to devise an SME development strategy and to create an SME Development Corporation which will coordinate operations in all problem areas: legal regulation, taxation, administrative barriers, financial and loan incentives, innovations, education, etc.
It was proposed to establish regional business support centres to coordinate state support measures. The participants’ presentations were devoted to the importance of enhancing the role of SME in the development of the Russian economy and restructuring of the latter. It was suggested that the status of NGOs representing entrepreneurs should be heightened and their role in shaping the domestic business environment should increase.
One of the main challenges formulated at the forum was to create a competitive environment and a market for innovative products. It was noted that there are no economic incentives or tax breaks for big business, which might encourage its collaboration with small and medium business. Yet the national economy cannot develop without the real sector being boosted.
Following the results of the round tables, the moderators presented recommendations at the forum’s plenary session devoted to the decisions of the State Council of the Russian Federation and to new opportunities for SME enterprises.