Small Enterprises in the Field of Sports and Ecology Need State Support

3 june 2019

Establishment of sports business schools, creation of an association of entrepreneurs engaged in ecology, adjustment of laws and regulations, competent statistical accounting—the participants of the strategic session held at the Analytical Center discussed the support measures necessary for entrepreneurs in the field of sports and ecology.

“Our common goal is to implement presidential decree No. 204 which tasks include increasing the number and share of small and medium enterprises including enterprises engaged in the field of sports and ecology. Today, our main task is to discuss what measures, from the business standpoint, should be taken by the government for the development of this industry," said Mikhail Pryadilnikov, Deputy Head of the Analytical Center, at the opening ceremony.

"Why do we discuss these two topics during one event? Because a person is the main consumer of products and services provided by the entrepreneurs whose business activities include the sports and ecology fields. The level of their business development determines the health of people in our country," explained Olesya Teterina, Deputy Director of the Department for Investment Policy and Entrepreneurship Development at the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

Ms. Teterina considers insufficient support of entrepreneurs and mistrust in the state on the part of the business to be the main problem. "About 40% know about support measures, but only 4-5% use them. Such statistics remained unchanged, even despite the concessional lending, preferential leasing and support measures provided at the local level," she complained.

A huge number of sports facilities could be used much more efficiently. The government is ready to support entrepreneurs through the Enterprise Support Centers, Social Innovation Centers, Export Support Centers, Cluster Development Centers. "About 92% of the 300 thousand facilities throughout the country are state-owned and state-financed, which means that these facilities are virtually not managed because state managers are not tasked with ensuring their operating load," Ms. Teterina said. She believes that it is necessary to provide information—through guidelines for municipal and regional public servants—on what can be done with business and how, without violating the law. "Under such conditions, a facility will be functioning, an entrepreneur will be able to earn, and the state will save on the maintenance of such facilities," said Ms. Teterina.

"The sports industry today is equal to or even slightly ahead of the medicine and healthcare in terms of economic potential," said Igor Nemov, secretary of the Expert Council of the Ministry of Sports of the Russian Federation. The expert believes that if the goal is the development of mass sports, then sports entrepreneurship is essential.

"The government knows what is happening at the facilities, educational institutions, sports organizations that, to one extent or another, are managed by the governmental agencies, but does not know what is happening in the real sector, at the citizen-sport intersection," said Mr. Nemov. “We understand it and support the development of small enterprises in sports." According to Mr. Nemov, a sports entrepreneur is a sporty person who wants to either set up a business or convert professional sports knowledge into a sports business. This activity field is quite wide: management of previously created facilities, development and manufacture of sports equipment, fitness activities, and digital services.

Sports should be profitable for everyone—people and their employers, and business, thus increasing the number of people involved in sports, says David Chichua, Chairman of the Committee on Innovative Sports Technologies and Healthy Lifestyle of the All-Russia Public Organization Business Russia.

Larisa Vetoshkina, a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Moscow and the Moscow Region and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, spoke on ecology. "For us, small and medium enterprises, the most important thing is to eliminate administrative barriers and make sure that a responsible and law-abiding enterprise is profitable," she said.

The expert listed the problems faced by entrepreneurs in the field of ecology: impossibility to match the transition to BAT with quality standards, difficulties in handling medical waste due to the inconsistency of the requirements of different departments, and preparation of environmental documentation.

Anastasia Tolmacheva, a representative of the Committee for the Development of Small and Medium Enterprises and the Consumer Market of the Leningrad region voiced the opinion of the regions. "We did not wonder why these two topics were discussed during one meeting. Because both sports and ecology imply a healthy lifestyle. The Leningrad region has already taken initial steps in this area: we organized a regional competition Business Recognition, introduced an award for a healthy lifestyle, eco-farming, ecology in terms of waste disposal and recycling. However, if a healthy lifestyle is developing at a fairly intensive pace, the field of ecology can rely only on financial support," she said.

Having broken up into 4 groups, the participants of the kick-off meeting worked on the images of entrepreneurs in the fields of sports and ecology, identified the problems and discussed their solution. The priority state-support measures for enterprises should include the establishment of sports business schools, creation of an association of entrepreneurs engaged in ecology, more active informational work, and financial support for start-ups.