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Zlata Elksnina-Zascirinska, Country Managing Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers
AmCham hosted a pesentation of Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report 2018 (AGER) followed by a discussion on March 21 at Pullman Riga Old Town.
The report presentation was followed by an expert discussion on the administration aspect of starting and doing business in Latvia. From the report: "Asked about, in which area Latvians would need support when thinking about starting a business, “Administration” clearly receives the strongest level of approval (35%)."
What burdens entrepreneurs have when starting a business? How easy is it to administrate business in Latvia? Should Latvia improve its place in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business or Starting a Business ranking and how to achieve it? These and other questions were addressed by an expert panel after the report presentation, followed by a live discussion with the audience.
In the evaluation of the business environment, more than two thirds of Latvian residents admit that there is no predictable tax system in the country, a clear legal environment and a favorable economic situation for business, according to the eighth AGER. At the same time, the AESI index has grown to +50 points (+3), showing people's willingness, readiness and social perseverance to start their own business.
Interestingly, contrary to the relatively low external environment assessment, residents of Latvia stand out in a high self-evaluation in the context of the European Union's countries and the world. Most believed that they were able to create a business idea (LV 72%, EU 47%, 52% worldwide) would be willing to risk (LV 69%, EU 41%, 47% worldwide), and would not be able to attract finances for their business idea (LV 51 %, In the EU 31%, in the world 38%). Most are convinced that their family and friends would support their start-ups (LV 86%, EU 62%, 64% in the world) and show readiness to donate their spare time to develop it (LV 85%, EU 53%, 57% worldwide).
Compared to previous years, the AESI (Amway Entrepreneurial Spirit Index) index in Latvia grew, reaching 50 points (from 100 points) and confirming that the entrepreneur's spirit will be strengthened in the population (2016: 47; 2015: 45). In Latvia, this indicator is slightly higher than in the world (47) and significantly exceeds the average level of the European Union (42).
"The overall entrepreneurial spirit maintains at a high level and a positive development trend, but our citizens are not ready to sacrifice safety and present-day prosperity. Therefore, we observe a seemingly contradictory situation: in general, the economy is developing at a rather rapid pace, but respondents, however, regard the environment as unfavorable. In the market, demand for labor force is high and wages are growing - most can not keep up with these temptations, "says Aivars Timofejevs, Research Associate of SSE in Riga. "Self-assessment in Latvia has always been at a high level, however real work - starting up a business - is always lagging behind. In order to justify itself, reasons are being sought and the external environment is sufficiently grateful. Especially considering the tax reform that was planned last year and implemented this year. "
Speakers were as follows:
- Aivars Timofejevs, SSE Riga, Research Associate
- Kristaps Soms, Director of Entrepreneurship Competitiveness Department, Ministry of Economics
- Diana Kaleja, Chairman of the Board, Latvian Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Association
- Juris Zalans, CEO, Benefits Latvija
Moderator of the event was Rasmuss Geks, Providus, QUO tu domā.
The AGER Report is released every alternate year by Amway, based on a global study that looks into the current trends across the world on entrepreneurship and looks to identify ways of unlocking this entrepreneurial potential within Amway. It is conducted by Amway with the focus on understanding the entrepreneurship landscape globally and by country.
This year's AGER is entitled "What Drives the Entrepreneurial Spirit" and examines which internal and external factors are beneficial or hampering for the entrepreneurial spirit in the participating countries. It includes also data about Latvia and the Baltic region.
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Valeria Kogan, Chairman of the Board of Smartomica