On the eve of St Petersburg International Economic Forum XXIV the results of the world’s largest research on entrepreneurial activities “Global Entrepreneurship Monitor — 2020/2021” were presented. In Russia, participation in the project has been coordinated by the research group of the Graduate School of Management St Petersburg University (GSOM SPbU), for 15 years. Since 2018 GEM has had the financial support of the Sber company.
As it was mentioned in the national report, in 2020 the index of early entrepreneurial activities in Russia (which characterizes the share of the employable population, involved in business creation or already owning a business that has existed less than 3 and a half years) is 8,5%. It is less by 9% than in 2019. However, 60% of the participating countries, primarily with high income levels, have faced a decrease in entrepreneurial activities.
In terms of previous entrepreneurial activities in 2020, Russia has overcome Italy (1,9%), Poland (3,1%), Germany (4,8%), Spain (5,2%), Austria (6,2%), Sweden (7,3%), Norway (7,6%) and Great Britain (7,8%). In 2020 the gap between this index for Russia and the average index for Europe was insignificant, while up to 2016, it was.
The share of owners of a business that has existed for more than 3 and a half years made up 4,7% of the employable adult population. It is less than the year before when the highest value of the given indicator during the period of the research was (5,3%).
The number of Russian citizens making the efforts to start a business is 1,8 times the number of those who closed their businesses. Thus, despite the pandemic, the expansion of the entrepreneurial sector continued.
Among the entrepreneurs who closed their business in 2020 29% cited the pandemic as the reason for the closure. In recent years the number of businesses closed due to the unavailability of financing has decreased. In 2020 the reason was cited by 6,2% of Russian respondents (world`s average indicator — 9,8%).
Starting your own business is considered to be an opportunity for earning more money or for the realization of your own ideas. Others make such decisions when lacking other opportunities for earnings. Earlier, entrepreneurs were motivated primarily by the need to secure income (72%, average - 59%). Such motives as running a family business (16%) and the willingness to change the world for the better (24%) in Russia are less popular than in other countries (30% and 43%, respectively). A difference in the motivation of men and women has been observed: in Russia, women cite the need to secure income as their motive 10% more frequently than men.
The number of respondents who claimed that they plan to start their own business within 3 upcoming years equals 11%. It is less than in 2019 but is significantly more than the values of 2010-2018, which can be explained by the growth of the attractiveness of entrepreneurship. In 2020 75% of respondents stated that they consider a career of entrepreneur attractive, while 73% agreed that an entrepreneur has a high social status. The evaluation of an entrepreneur`s status has improved in recent years — it can be related to the fact that the media has started to write about success stories more frequently.
Despite positive trends, Russia takes one of the lowest positions in the global ranking of GEM in terms of assessing people's own knowledge and experience in creating a new business: only 36% mentioned that they have enough knowledge to create and manage their own business.
Further increase in the number of those who plan to start their own business can be related to the improvement of assessing the environment for starting a business in their own region of residence. Only one-third of the respondents considered the environment attractive. Although it is 10% higher than last year’s indicator, the indicator assessing environment is one of the worst among the participating countries: lower values were registered only in Iran (13,3%), Spain (16,4%), Cyprus (21,1)%, Israel (25%), Great Britain (27,3%), Greece (27,9%) and Austria (31,2%).
The pandemic has influenced the opportunities for making a business assessment. 56% of entrepreneurs (both early and established) in Russia agree that there are fewer opportunities for growth than before. 21% of early and 18% of established entrepreneurs recognized that the pandemic has created new opportunities for business development. In the majority of participating countries, the opportunities are seen more frequently by early entrepreneurs. Among those who make active efforts in order to create a business, 55% claimed that the pandemic has led to delays in operational activities.
In 2020 two thousand representatives of the adult employable population of Russia took part in the survey of “Global Entrepreneurship Monitor''.