Book Chapter
The Development of Small Entrepreneurship in Russia

The paper summarises the findings of field research projects on emerging Russian entrepreneurship carried out by the author over a six-year period. The main stages of small and medium enterprise (SME) formation in Russia since the late 1980s are considered. Then, the dynamics of the SME sector are analysed, using available official statistics. Major market entry problems are reviewed, followed by an analysis of the institutional system for the development and support of SMEs. Specific issues of SME involvement in the informal/shadow economy are reviewed. Finally, the most recent trends in small entrepreneurship development are considered. The study offers answers to the following challenging questions: How has the profile of small entrepreneurship changed within the last decade? Why did expansion of the SME sector stop in the mid-1990s after dramatic increases during the early years of the decade? Are the administrative and economic barriers to market entry becoming stronger or weaker for small entrepreneurs? What are the outcomes of the policies and measures intended to build up a system of institutional support for SMEs? To what extent are small enterprises involved in the informal economy? How did the August 1998 financial crisis affect the SME sector? Both quantitative and qualitative data are used for tackling these issues on a national and regional level, and particular emphasis is given to the Tomsk region.