Small Business Makes it Big
Belarus wants to give local authorities more leverage to support businessmen
Business Gets Green Light
In many countries entrepreneurship is the driving force behind economic growth and prosperity. Belarus’ economy is dominated by state sector. However, business is coming to play a greater role in the country’s social and economic development. It is no surprise, as small companies are more mobile and adaptable to the changing market environment, with a great potential to substitute imports and export products and services. Private business can help address employment issues in small towns and rural communities. Therefore, business promotion is among the major tasks for the regions, including Minsk Oblast.
According to recent data, Minsk Oblast is home to over 58,000 business entities, including about 23,800 legal entities and 34,400 self-employed businessmen. The bulk of them are located in Minsk District (21%), Borisov District (12.3%) and Molodechno District (11.2%). The number of private companies keeps growing in the region. In 2011 alone, 1,500 new companies were registered. Tax revenues from the business sector are increasing, too. In January-september this year, SMES paid over Br1.2 trillion to the budget of Minsk Oblast, one third of all the revenues. In 2010, small and medium-sized business accounted for 22.4% of the regional GDP vs. 6.5% in 2000. Ideally, private business should account for about half of GDP the way it does in developed European countries.
“This is real. We just need to create an environment conducive to business,” Chairman of the Economy Committee of the Minsk Oblast Executive Committee Alexander Turchin said. However, he noted that not all the districts use their potential in full. Volozhin and Krupki districts are cases in point: local entrepreneurs account for only 8-18% of the budget revenues there.
So far, the bulk of businessmen are concentrated in the sectors that do not require highly qualified workforce and huge investments. Over 40% of businessmen are engaged in retail and wholesale trade, while only 8% of SMES are involved in the manufacturing industry, 7% in construction, 2% in agriculture, 1% in hospitality and public catering.
In order to create new jobs and set up new production facilities, Belarus is optimizing the legal
The Slutsk Artware Factory is one of the biggest companies in Belarus. It makes a wide range
of weaved, embroided, sewed
goods such as coverlets, blankets,
bed linen and clothes. Pictured is the weaving shop
of the factory