Entrepreneurial Potential Of Russian Society
Опубликовано на портале: 31-12-2010
The development of small entrepreneurship is a crucial index of the degree of success
of market reforms, of the level of efficiency of competitive economy. However, in
Russia, above all, by virtue of unproductive, sometimes erroneous, state policy toward
the small business sector, the latter has actually been in a state of stagnation.
From the year 2000 to date, the number of small enterprises has been steadily decreasing.
A certain increase in the number of SE agents occurs thanks to the growing number
of private entrepreneurs, their rate of growth being estimated at 7% ( Russian Review
of Small and Medium Enterprises 2001. Moscow: TASIS, Resource Center of Small Entrepreneurship,
2002, p.39.). Employment in the SE sector is also on the downgrade: in 1999-2001,
it fell from 18 608,2 mln people to 16 963,4 mln (informal employment included) (Op.
In the meantime, it is our firm conviction based on the results of several research
projects undertaken by the RIISNP since 1992 that there exists a fairly solid “proto-entrepreneurial
substructure”. True, the size of this substructure fluctuates considerably
under the influence of numerous factors and conditions, and varies much region-wise.
It is quite obvious that considering the size of Russia’s population, its educational
level and other factors, the activation of protoentrepreneurial strata of the population
could lead to irreversible consequences indeed, as far as creation of a steadily
growing competitive economy and social state is concerned.
Without claiming to encompass, within the framework of a relatively short-term project,
the entire set of the aforesaid matters (especially, those relating to macroeconomic
components of the entrepreneurial environment), the project team undertook, in March
of 2002, a pilot survey of the entrepreneurial potential in several regions of Russia.
Initially, we defined the entrepreneurial potential as a sum total of all natural
persons willing to engage in entrepreneurial activity . In analyzing the entrepreneurial
potential, a standardized (questionnaire-based) opinion poll of adult able-bodied
population as the main tool for primary data collection. During the survey, formalized
interviews were organized based on the all-Russia sample (1756 respondents in 19
constituents of the Russian Federation representing 12 economic-and-geographic regions
The survey conducted on the basis of a sample, representative from the standpoint
of sociodemographic grouping of Russia’s population, enables one to draw the
1. Population treats small entrepreneurship with great sympathy. In large measure,
the attitude to small entrepreneurship is shaped up under the influence of entrepreneurs
in the milieu of most respondents.
2. The entrepreneurial potential of adult active population is rather high: 13.5
% of the respondents admit, one way or the other, they are capable of an entrepreneurial
start-up (potential entrepreneurs); around 6 % have, over the past year, made specific
steps towards launching an undertaking of their own (proto- and latent entrepreneurs).
3. If we compare these data with a statistics-based assessment of activity of the
population in setting up sole-proprietor enterprises and SEs, we should admit that
only every eighth latent entrepreneur goes as far as launching his own undertaking
in one of these forms. The rest give up all attempts to set up a firm of their own,
at least, within the framework of legal economy.
4. Of all the potential entrepreneurs, roughly 40% go by quite matter-of-fact considerations,
around 1/5 are “necessity-based entrepreneurs” (forced to seek solution
to their material problems through entrepreneurship, but having no particular bent
for entrepreneurship), the rest may be described as “romanticists”.
5. A fair proportion (nearly one third) of the potential entrepreneurial strata are
people with an entrepreneurial experience in the past, who are still convinced that
entrepreneurship is “their business”, that they can and are able to engage
in this activity, but quit further attempts to start an undertaking of their own
due to lack of required resources. They have learned from past experience that successful
“launching” of their own undertaking requires much more resources than
are available to them at present, above all, financial and social resources. Thus,
the necessary assistance in offering financial resources and professional advice,
on the one hand, and reducing the pressure of “state racket”, on the
other hand, might expand considerably the social basis of entrepreneurship in Russia.
6. At present, social networks perform the role of major organizations intended to
support the development of small entrepreneurship, first of all. It is from his milieu
that a novice entrepreneur receives the appropriate impetus to engage in an entrepreneurial
activity, the necessary resources and knowledge and connections he is so much in
need of. Therefore, one of the crucial components of the social resource made available
to a novice entrepreneur are other entrepreneurs among his next of kin and friends.
In this context, the circumstance playing the key role here is the fact that protoentrepreneurs
and representatives of small entrepreneurship in Russia today are people of the same
or adjoining social strata. As for the actual differences between them they largely
boil down to the size of available resources, which determines both practical readiness
for engaging in entrepreneurship and its success at start-up.
7. The characteristic features of value orientations among potential entrepreneurs
are nonconformity and orientation to an innovational type of behavior as well as
importance of freedom understood as personal independence.
8. In setting up new enterprises, the main difficulty lies in solution of the problem
of finance. The primary sources of finance here are, as a matter of tradition, personal
and family savings (‚love capital’): the poll indicates that a large
proportion of entrepreneurs borrows and lends money, the friendly channels of finance
obviously permit doing this on an interest-free basis.
9. The high level of the demand among start-up SEs for a broad range of business
facilities demonstrates a deep and organic contradiction with their low financial
solvency. As a consequence, service organizations as participants of the Russian
infrastructure in support of small entrepreneurship, while structuring the package
of facilities are only in small measure oriented towards this segment of the market.
Under the conditions of self-accounting, SOs are far less motivated to deal with
novice entrepreneurs than with more mature, large entrepreneurship.
10. The most common form of shadow entrepreneurship is “casual entrepreneurship”:
haphazard brokerage deals rather than the activity of small firms, operating “in