Partnerships in reserve
The January press conference sees President highly praising partnership between business and state, noting that ‘all businessmen who wish to work honestly in Belarus and earn enough money to live well are able to do so’
By Dmitry Overianov
Business cannot develop independently of the state and, of course, many promising projects need assistance and material help. State support for small scale entrepreneurship is common around the world, including in Belarus. In doing so, the state hopes to receive more tax revenue and to raise GDP. At present, small businesses account for around 23 percent of GDP but the Government wishes to raise this to 30 percent within two years (as per the state programme to support small and medium-sized entrepreneurship from 2013-2015).
Similar programmes have been applied in the past but this expands the list of executives, covering not only state authorities but public associations — such as the Guild of Marketing Specialists and the Minsk Capital Association of Entrepreneurs and Employers. They will take charge of collating information and organising conferences, as the Chairman of the Republican Confederation of Entrepreneurship, Igor Chernyavsky, explains. “As responsible executives of the state programme we’ll try to ensure that entrepreneurs see and feel the dynamics of economic development. We’ll organise fully-fledged dialogue.”
Training is to be organised in the regions for those involved in entrepreneurial activities, as a modest 60 percent of such businesses exist outside of Minsk. Naturally, campaigns are to be held to encourage more people to take up the baton, with local authorities acting as executives of the programme. Support will be given for start-up projects, particularly those with an element of innovation.
The recently established Belarusian Association of Venture Investors unites businessmen keen to invest in alternative projects. Of course, the state should be encouraging private initiative, since the nation benefits as a whole. Another avenue for attention is female entrepreneurship, with a business incubator to open in each region offering support to women.
Over the next three years, over Br400bn is to be spent on the new programme, funded nationally and from local budgets. The Belarusian Fund for Financial Support of Entrepreneurship, which accepts applications from small and medium-sized businesses, holds Br24.5bn in assets. So, entrepreneurs — take note! Propose your projects now, for yourself and for the benefit of your country.