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Business Duty Officer

At the peak of women's entrepreneurship.

At the peak of women's entrepreneurship.

Russian women actively engaged in their own business

At the beginning of this year, the index of entrepreneurial activity of Russian women reached eight year high - such results of their study were presented this week by the National Agency for Financial Research (NAFI) and the Committee for the Development of Women's Entrepreneurship "Opora Rossii". According to experts, it proves, that women often adapt more effectively to economic crises. At the same time, the social inertia that persists in Russian society hinders the further development of many women entrepreneurs..

At first 2023 of the year women's entrepreneurial activity index (WBI), which was developed by analysts from NAFI and the Committee for the Development of Women's Entrepreneurship "Opora Rossii", made up 73,7 item, demonstrating the maximum values ​​for the last eight years (measured since 2015, Then - 56 points). Compared to the result 2022 the index also rose by almost 4 item. It is based on data from surveys of women entrepreneurs on their economic performance., areas of activity and the attitude of others.

“Now we can say with confidence that, that a steady increase in the involvement of women in the economy has been formed. Almost a third of respondents positively assess the prospects of their business. Entrepreneurs consider development opportunities primarily in the domestic market as a point of growth. It was difficult for small businesses to compete with international corporations and brands, and now a window of opportunity has opened for occupying their niches - 39% note this factor,- notes Nadia Cherkasova, Chairman of the Committee for the Development of Women's Entrepreneurship "Opora Rossii".

The experts are sure, that women are becoming more and more in demand by society in the role of entrepreneurs because of their qualities: ability to inspire trust, developed intuition, deep value orientation, ability to negotiate, be flexible, make and act on longer-term decisions in favor of the common good. Irina Gildebrandt, Director of Strategic Projects at the NAFI Analytical Center, points out, that the events of recent years have demonstrated the special distinguishing features of doing business for women - a high speed of adaptation in changing market conditions. For iexample, during a pandemic 93% women did not plan to close their business, and 39% had no doubts in increasing the key business indicators of their organizations.

Women's adaptability to market changes is also confirmed by the report of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) on Women's Entrepreneurship for 2021-2022. From the document follows, what in 50 in the countries studied, women were more resilient to the shocks of the corona crisis: business exit rates for women globally have risen from 2,9% to 3,6% over the two year period of the pandemic, for men, an increase was recorded from 3,5% to 4,4%.

However, women entrepreneurs are still underrepresented in higher value-added sectors, traditionally dominated by men, follows from the GEM report. “At the same time, scientific studies show, that women, just like men, are successful in opening similar businesses in comparable industries”,the authors write. In this regard, it is proposed to adjust the state support programs, concentrating them on promising sectors, where women are not active enough.

In Russia, despite the concentration in the social sphere, service delivery and creative industries, women actively participate in high-tech sectors. At a recent meeting with women entrepreneurs "Voice of Women's Business", Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko noted, that women “are not afraid to be active in such difficult areas, as import substitution, introduction of new technologies in medicine and pharmaceuticals, strengthening of international relations". According to her, the share of women in the power industry is estimated at 36%, in nuclear power - in 32%. Every fifth start-up in agricultural technologies is founded by women, more than a third of startups are in biotechnology and breeding technologies.

Member of the General Council of Business Russia, project ambassador “Business Duty Officer” Ekaterina Avdeeva notes the benefits of women in the context of COVID-19, partial mobilization, when the mood in the business community changed significantly. "Not being conscripted, women can thus occupy the vacated niches in connection with migration and draft waves, as well as the withdrawal of foreign companies from the Russian market. Given the predisposition of women to work in multitasking mode, the development of women's entrepreneurship is promising precisely in terms of stability, which means, making a profit, revenues to the budget and contribution to the economy, regardless of the geopolitical situation. The women's agenda can become a new trigger for social projects and legislative initiatives",- Ekaterina Avdeeva believes.

A study by NAFI and the profile committee of Opora Rossii confirms, that, despite the turbulence in the economy, Women retain a high degree of positive perception of entrepreneurship. For iexample, 94% Russian women have a positive attitude towards women, conducting business activities. The index also shows positive motivation to do business: now 75% Russian women can imagine themselves in such a role. Poll, the main incentives for development in the field of entrepreneurship are the desire to improve the financial situation (65%), the opportunity to realize your ideas (58%) and independence in decision making (52%).

The conditions for starting a business activity during the last six months are assessed in a neutral-positive manner by the entrepreneurs themselves, as well as women, not employed in business. Talking about plans for the near future, just over a third (36%) women entrepreneurs do not expect changes in the conditions for starting their own business in the next six months. Agree with the assessment 43% women, employed.

According to the managing partner of O2Consulting Anna Nikitchenko, there are no serious barriers in the economic plane, but social inertia remains in society, including from the women themselves, since in the last century the process of emancipation took place collectively from above after the advent of Soviet power, and not from below - from the side of women. Evgenia Shokhina, President of the RSPP Business School, believes, that the problem primarily lies in the underestimation by the mass consciousness and the power elites of the opportunities for self-realization of women in business. “Rethinking the prevailing stereotypes is a necessary condition for building mechanisms to support small and medium-sized businesses, where women play the most prominent role today",she adds.

However, there are purely economic reasons. So, Ekaterina Avdeeva points out the problems in providing women with access to credit resources, sales markets, as well as special educational programs. Eight years of measurements of the index of female entrepreneurial activity confirm, that the key barrier to starting a business is financial, that is, the lack of start-up capital or the impossibility, ignorance, how to get it (64%). Also, women are hesitant to start a business due to lack of knowledge and competencies., as well as self-doubt (by 54%). "It is possible to conclude, that education and solid business knowledge and skills are the basis for a woman's confidence and courage, aspiring entrepreneur. More worth noting, that 20% women started their own business, inspired by the success of others. This highlights the importance of publicizing the success stories of women entrepreneurs.”,Irina Hildebrandt explains.

Women who have embarked on the path of entrepreneurship are more confident in assessing their own competencies and continue their education in this area. So, 64% women entrepreneurs positively assessed changes in professional skills over the past six months, for employees, this figure is lower - 47%. However, for six months 61% women entrepreneurs received additional education in the field of organization and business development. Almost as many women, employed (65%), received additional education, took courses, trainings in the field of personal professional development.

Leading expert of the direction "Economics and social development" TsSR Elena Kheifets believes, that women's involvement in entrepreneurship is an expected consequence, driven by growing information awareness, level of education, financial and legislative support. Alexey Mostovshchikov, member of the General Council of Delovaya Rossiya, believes, that in recent years, women entrepreneurs have been increasingly asserting themselves, creating socially significant and necessary enterprises in the country. “Over time, the gender difference in the compositions will completely cease to attract attention”,- states the expert. Another factor, according to Anna Nikitchenko,- state events. “Over the past ten years, the state’s efforts to develop women’s entrepreneurship have increased by an order of magnitude., there are many programs, competitions, formats of information support",she thinks.

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