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Edited by Friederike Welter and David Smallbone
Chapter 10: Entrepreneurship and SME Policies in Fragile Environments: The Example of Russia
Alexander Chepurenko INTRODUCTION Crises mark watersheds in two decades of entrepreneurship development in post-Soviet Russia. These include the systemic crisis of 1990–92, the financial crisis of 1998 and, finally, the economic crisis that has been in progress since autumn 2008. The latter one will presumably be a starting point for new trends in the development of private sector in Russia and for re-conceptualizing government policy concerning entrepreneurship and SME. State authorities in Russia never clearly distinguished between entrepreneurship policy and SME policy, not surprisingly, because even researchers and experts lack understanding of these two approaches. Audretsch (2002) emphasized that SME policies focus on existing enterprises, while entrepreneurship policy also includes potential entrepreneurs, therefore fostering change processes, and paying attention to the overall framework for businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs, whereas SME policy is focused exclusively on the enterprise level. In a rapidly changing environment, like in Russia during the transition process, government policies to support SMEs and entrepreneurship cannot be explained and understood without a general understanding of the main trends and developments within the SME sector. Therefore, the next section outlines SME development and the main characteristics of small businesses in Russia during the last decade, before the chapter turns to discuss the evolution of SME and entrepreneurship policies since the beginning of transition. In a huge country like Russia the role of regional disparities in SME development and policy approaches of regional authorities becomes crucial and is discussed in the next section. The chapter continues to shortly summarize...
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