Shamil Ageyev, Tatarstan Chamber of Commerce and Industry: “The pressure on entrepreneurship doesn’t reduce”
Experts on the big gap in business support — “between what’s declared at the top and real actions”
Almost a third of small and medium-sized enterprises have closed in Tatarstan in the last three years. Last year, the number reduced by another 34,500, but almost the same number of new businesses opened. It was discussed at business breakfast Morning of Business Opportunities on 19 November what impeded republican start-ups from developing and staying afloat, what help SMEs could receive in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Guarantee Fund and Ministry of Economy. More is in Realnoe Vremya’s report.
“34,500 enterprises closed in the republic”
The business breakfast, which was in Tantana restaurant on 19 November, gathered Tatarstan entrepreneurs and representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Tatarstan (CCI) and the Guarantee Fund of the republic. Supporting measures for businesses became the key topic of the meeting. Chairman of the Tatarstan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Shamil Ageyev opened the meeting and talked about the current situation in entrepreneurship, moreover, not only in Tatarstan but also across Russia.
“When I was invited to give a speech, I wanted to take Entrepreneur’s Golden Book, which we prepared 25 years ago, and then I thought that you would open it and all the problems that existed 25 years ago, unfortunately, still remained, moreover, in a more serious state,” Shamil Ageyev began.
“We’ve just recently analysed the number of enterprises that have closed in Tatarstan in the last three years, and they have totalled almost a third. 34,500 closed last year, but a thousand more businesses opened. I was surprised at first, but then remembered that our Singaporean colleagues once told us that 20% open and close every year, it was a normal process.”
Further in his speech, the chairman of the CCI urged the younger generation to raise businesses’ problems more actively.
“We’ve seen a huge gap between what’s declared at the top and the real actions in the last few years. At least something is done in our republic. For instance, Rustam Minnikhanov hears out districts and so on every Saturday. But the issue stays still in general. Let’s say that the layout in Tatarstan is the following: 10,6% of enterprises deal with production, 35% — with commerce, 54% — with services and so on. Everything is good, jobs are created. Nevertheless, the pressure on entrepreneurship doesn’t reduce,” Shamil Ageyev complained. “When we gathered all directors of inspecting organisations with the president’s approval some three years ago, more than 53, we explained to them all, had a dialogue. But it turns out that the bureaucratic system is so that the same thing goes on both in Kazan and other places.”
A digital platform that is being created to work with entrepreneurs’ addresses about illegal actions of law enforcement agencies that influence the conditions of running a business for a particular company can help in this situation.
“It is unknown how this system will run,” the speaker recognised. “I don’t want to upset you. The most important thing that you don’t lose the pace. The loss of the pace leads to the loss of the course, the loss of the course brings to a defeat. And we aren’t used to being defeated anyway.”
“In Turkey, no entrepreneur can be a commerce chamber member in general”
Director of the Department of Strategic Development and Corporate Policy of the Tatarstan CCI Marat Akhmatov soon substituted Shamil Ageyev on the stage who talked about his observation of work of his colleagues from Turkey, which, by the way, is notably different from the Russian system of the commerce and industry chamber.
“I have recently been to Turkey to find out how their system of CCI worked. And I can note that only the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (their Industry Chamber is a separate entity) has 400,000 members. In other words, no entrepreneur can be a commerce chamber member in general. To start a business, they are obliged to turn to the Chamber of Commerce. Of course, the trust and independence they can transmit are colossal,” Marat Akhmatov said.
Urging businesses to actively join the Russian system of CCI, the speaker reminded that it included 180 representative offices and they all “issued certificates and provide a wide range of services for entrepreneurs”. Marat Akhmatov also made public key development areas of the republican Chamber of Commerce and Industry until 2024: for instance, it is planned to expand the base of CCI members both qualitatively and quantitatively, and digitalise the system of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and residents, help the self-employed develop, increase competitiveness of SMEs and develop youth and social entrepreneurship.
“Our conditions are charged”
Director of the Guarantee Fund of the Republic of Tatarstan Timur Temirgaliyev spoke about business supporting measures in detail. First of all, he mentioned surety for the entrepreneur.
“If we are talking about conditions of surety, the biggest sum is 30 million rubles, our security is no more than 50 million rubles. Our conditions are charged: a commission from 0,5% to 1,5% a year. A review takes 3-5 days,” Timur Temirgaliyev said. “If our sum of surety isn’t enough, the National Guarantee System has been operating in Russia since 2017. All its participants can provide up to 70% of SMEs’ securities, in monotowns it is up to 75%.”
The speaker reminded that there had been a united lending centre in the Tatarstan Guarantee Fund since 2018. It helps entrepreneurs who want to take out a loan in a bank, choose the optimal credit intuitions, a good product and collect all necessary documents.
“Microfinance from the Entrepreneurship Support Fund is a popular measure from a perspective of simplicity and universality. Apart from this, now we grant guarantee with Ak Bars Bank on Flow platform: the bank itself grants loans up to 3 million rubles, the rate is 1,17% a month for six months, moreover, without documents, a visit to the bank’s office or the Guarantee Fund. An investor and a consumer simply meet on this platform,” the director of the Tatarstan Guarantee Fund concluded.