WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS AS ECONOMIC GROWTH DRIVERS
Valentina Matvienko, Chairperson of the Federation Council, had a meeting with women entrepreneurs as part of the preparation for the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum. Thanks to women entrepreneurs, the rate of non-resource exports in Russia was better than that of commodity export. This is a breakthrough. Peter Fradkov, CEO of the Russian Export Centre, was the one who revealed this information. He also reported that the Russian Export Centre would become a partner of the Eurasian Women’s Forum 2018 in Saint Petersburg.
“Historically, we supported large exporters. Now it is also important to support them, but we can’t make a qualitative leap forward without helping small and medium-sized businesses. All companies should cooperate in the external markets”, he said.
According to Peter Fradkov, the growth of non-resource exports have grown by more than 25% (approximately $250 million) over nine months in 2017.
During this year, the export of goods has significantly improved in such fields, as food industry (by more than 19%), light industry (by more than 15%), and consumer goods (by more than 30%). As Peter Fradkov says, such improvement is not a happy accident. The thing is that the role of small and medium-sized business in those areas is very important. In fact, women entrepreneurs are those who contribute greatly to small and medium-sized business.
“Women exporters now are becoming growth drivers of non-resource exports”, he highlighted.
The administration of the Russian Export Centre has a plan to comprehensively assist women entrepreneurs and promote export culture. To do this, the Centre has a special project called Export School. Entrepreneurs study there using specialized training materials and learning financial and non-financial support measures provided by the Russian Export Centre. Several thousand entrepreneurs have already been trained there.
In 2017, the programme of subsidizing the costs of entrepreneurs-exporters was fully activated. This is an unprecedented system Russia has never had before. The thing is that an entrepreneur invests money abroad in the certification of his or her products, in logistics costs. This significantly raises the production’s cost price, and for many exporters these costs are extremely burdensome.
This year, 22 regions of Russia launched the export standard in a pilot mode. It contributes to improvement of the export environment. Peter Fradkov proposed to discuss this issue in more detail on the platform of the Federation Council and to include there an item on supporting women's entrepreneurship.
According to Valentina Marvienko, today Russia has the task to effectively realize the export potential of small and medium-sized enterprises. The first steps were already made. The Government of the Russian Federation approved the passport of the priority project called ‘Systematic Measures of Developing International Cooperation and Export’. This project will help decrease costs of exporters through eliminating excessive administrative barriers in such fields, as the customs sphere, export and currency control.
These issues will be discussed at the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum actively being prepared by several business partners. One of the partners mentioned is the Russian Export Centre. Peter Fradkov has already proposed a number of initiatives regarding the business programme of the Forum.
“This characterizes the head of the Russian Export Centre as a wise man. He understood on time that export entrepreneurship would not succeed without women’s participation”, commented Valentina Matvienko.
Agata Korovina, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov