The number of entrepreneurs in Russia increased 25 percent, or 5.75 percent of the adult working population, in 2013, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitoring. By this parameter Russia equaled Spain (5.21 percent), Finland (5.29 percent)/, Greece (5.51 percent), and Norway (6.25 percent).

However, Russia underperforms the other BRICS countries in terms of entrepreneurial activity: 17.3 percent of working-age population have a business of their own in Brazil, 14.02 percent – in China, 10.59 percent – in South Africa, and 9.88 percent – in India.

The survey has also shown that most small enterprises in Russia cannot survive the initial stage. Only 3.4 percent of them are present in the market for more than three years, which is still one the lowest figures among the countries participating in the project. Among the countries with similar numbers of entrepreneurs are Norway, where small enterprises operating for more than three years make up 6.15 percent of adult working population, Finland, with 6.65 percent, Spain with 8.39 percent and Greece with 12.6 percent.

Financial reasons are the main factor that forces entrepreneurs to wind up their business. About 40 percent of respondents said they had to close down as the business went unprofitable. 2013 saw a sharp decline in the number of respondents that cited the absence of financing as a reason to close. All in all, the number of businesses that closed in 2013 doubled year-on-year.

Even so, there were 1 percent more Russian respondents who planned to start an enterprise in the following three years than a year earlier – 4.7 percent, though this group remained the smallest among the project’s participating countries. A similar percentage was recorded in Norway (6.2 percent) and Japan (7.1 percent), while BRICS countries showed an average of 22 percent, Eastern European countries – 21 percent. Entrepreneurs who already have a business and are going to set up an additional one make up about a half of those willing to launch a new business in the near term.

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, or GEM, is the world’s major survey of entrepreneurial activity conducted in 70 countries that make up 90 percent of the world GDP. Last year the poll was conducted among more than 197,000. In Russia the project is implemented by a research group of the Graduate School of Management of St. Petersburg State University supported by the EY company and the Entrepreneurship Centre.