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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –

Source: Ministry of Economic Development (Russia) – An important disclaimer is located at the bottom of this article.

The number of women entrepreneurs in Russia is growing every year, and the number of women heading companies is already approaching half. Why women go into business, how they balance between home and work, in what areas they open their own business and how the state helps them get back on their feet, Deputy Head of the Ministry of Economic Development Tatyana Ilyushnikova told RIA Novosti in an interview on the eve of March 8.

— Tatyana Aleksandrovna, how is women’s entrepreneurship developing now?

— For several years now we have seen a trend that more and more women are going into entrepreneurship. Of the total number of entrepreneurs and self-employed people, who currently number 15.3 million in the country, 12.9 million are individual entrepreneurs and self-employed people, 44% of whom are women. As for companies, here, according to surveys, the number of women managers and business owners also exceeds 40%.

The popularity of business among women can be explained by several factors.

Firstly, there is a special tax on self-employment, which creates the softest opportunities for entry into entrepreneurship. The opportunity to try yourself and painlessly exit the business if things don’t work out. Today, 4 million women are developing their businesses in this status.

Secondly, there is a whole range of government support measures for beginning and existing entrepreneurs. Regional “My Business” centers today provide consultations, conduct training events, help in developing a business plan and solve many other business problems together with entrepreneurs. And this is important for women. According to our research, for example, women study more often, since when starting a business they lay a deeper foundation of knowledge and calculations.

Thirdly, there are a number of regional programs – forums, clubs, mentoring and even special tax and loan instruments for women. There are also larger-scale projects. For example, “Mom Entrepreneur”.

— Why do women become entrepreneurs?

— According to research, two-thirds of women go into business to improve their and their family’s financial situation and to realize their own ideas. Half of women are attracted by the opportunity to make their own decisions. And the numbers confirm this. We see more and more interest among women in business. Over the past year, 1.4 million women started their own business as an individual entrepreneur or self-employed.

— You mentioned the “Mom Entrepreneur” program. What is this program?

— It is aimed at women who have minor children or are on maternity leave and who want to launch or develop their own business.

Participants receive everything they need to start: they undergo training, write a business plan, and find like-minded people.

The best projects at the regional stage receive a grant of 100 thousand rubles and assistance with product promotion, and the winners of the federal stage receive a grant of up to 1 million rubles and support for partnership offers.

Last year, in addition to the main format, additional tracks appeared – tourist and “Mother in the Countryside”. This year we will continue to implement the program.

— Why is the program designed specifically for mothers?

— We recently conducted a study with Sberbank and the Public Opinion Foundation. Its results showed that for 65% of surveyed Russians aged 18 to 64 years, the main value is family and children.

Many women start their own business while on maternity leave. The advantages that business provides become even more important for a woman: there are no bosses, there is no ceiling on earnings, there is the opportunity to manage your time and control your workload. You have to balance, but it’s easier to do it.

Of course, another factor is important in this matter: the availability of social infrastructure – kindergartens, schools. A woman can safely engage in both paid work and business while her children are under supervision.

— But business can also play the opposite role: it takes up all the time and leaves virtually no time for the family.

— You can say that men also play a role in the family and are important in raising children. Of course, I’m not discounting. But let’s be honest: women have more social roles and responsibilities.

For example, women are 75% more likely to be carers for children and the elderly than men. If women were paid the minimum wage for housework, that would be 13% of GDP! That is, women already balance, they know how to do it, they set their priorities correctly.

— Why do they often start with self-employment?

— Today women make up 42% of the total number of self-employed people. This popularity of the professional activity tax can be explained by the simplicity of the business conditions: low tax rates, virtually no reporting, access to government support measures.

Self-employment allows you to enter entrepreneurial activity as safely as possible. At the start, you don’t even have to quit your main job. And many take advantage of this: more than 750 thousand people today both work, for example, in SMEs, and are self-employed.

— What kind of business are women more likely to engage in?

— The three main areas for doing business for self-employed women are marketing, beauty services and educational activities. Areas experiencing the greatest growth are hospitality, craft and creative industries.

If we talk about women from among individual entrepreneurs, then five areas dominate here: education, healthcare, financial, legal and insurance activities.

And, of course, social business has a female face: 73% of the projects that we received for the All-Russian competition “My Good Business” are developed by women.

— What other points of development can women have in business? Are women as represented in medium and large businesses as in SMEs?

— In medium and large businesses there are also women who manage enterprises or their individual blocks. According to a study by the Association of Managers, in 2023, in 34% of Russian companies, women made up more than half of the management team. And the share of such companies is growing every year.

The increase in the number of women among managers has been a trend over the past 10 years. First of all, this is due to the fact that today a career for a woman is as important a part of life as a family.

I can also say what I see: all business associations have women’s programs and areas. The women’s movement of United Russia is actively developing, the Women’s Union of Russia is working, including launching business tracks. And, of course, as you know, Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Ivanovna Matvienko actively supports and promotes specialized women’s programs and events. The Eurasian Women’s Forum is held every two years, and the All-Russian Women’s Forum opened as part of the Russia exhibition.

— How do women themselves feel in business? Are there gender stereotypes in the business environment today?

— Entrepreneurs in general, and women in particular, note improvements in the business climate. One of the reasons is the implementation of the national project “Small and Medium Enterprises”. Since the beginning of its implementation, more than 6 million entrepreneurs have come into contact with the state support system.

Research confirms this. Thus, 54% of women entrepreneurs note an improvement in society’s attitude towards business, and 39% of women noted an improvement in the conditions for starting a business over the past year and a half. Many women also began to say that they see good prospects for business development due to the opening of new niches in the market.

If we talk about gender stereotypes, the situation is also improving. VTsIOM research also speaks about this: 66% of women and men believe that their chances in business are the same. At the same time, 38% of Russians are confident that there is no influence of gender on the direction of business, 30% believe that female entrepreneurs are characterized by self-confidence, perseverance, endurance and determination, and 21% named energy, initiative and determination.

And 85% of men surveyed are ready to support women in their decision to start a business, which is good news.

If there are gender stereotypes, they relate only to the choice of areas for doing business – 48% of respondents in the same study identified “female” areas of business. But I want to note that today we see a variety of business projects run by women: from auto repair shops to Wildberries, led by Tatyana Bakalchuk.

— What other trends do you notice in women’s entrepreneurship today?

— Women are more actively involved in charity work. Moreover, both as organizers and as donors. It is worth noting that the portrait of the head of a socially oriented NPO today is a woman over 45 years old. Some colleagues think this is a problem. But I think that on the contrary, this is our point of growth. Women develop social projects and volunteer more often.

Note; This information is raw content directly from the source of the information. This is exactly what the source states and does not reflect the position of MIL-OSI or its clients.

Please note; This information is raw content directly from the information source. It is accurate to what the source is stating and does not reflect the position of MIL-OSI or its clients.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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