State support of small and medium-sized businesses is extremely important in extremely high interest rates, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said on Wednesday.

“Important support institution – the Federal Corporation for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises was created. It provides financial and non-financial support to small business. Financial support is very important in extremely high interest rates in the economy,” Ulyukayev said. The minister added that the number of small enterprises until 2018 will be increased by 10% to 6 mln.

“Our goal is to increase the number of small enterprises by 10% to reach 6 mln in the next two years – until 2018,” the minister said. According to him, within two years employment in small and medium-sized businesses will be increased by 2.2 mln people.

Ulyukayev said that in order to promote small business development, state companies’ purchases in the small and medium-sized enterprises were expanded – since the beginning of the year the volume of such purchases exceeded 1 trillion rubles ($15.52 bln) and will exceed 1.5 trillion rubles ($3.28 bln) by the end of the year.

According to the minister, Russia is still significantly behind global employment standards in small and medium business sphere.

“Our small and medium enterprises are still smaller by scale in comparison to global standards. Our share of workers employed in small businesses and by sole entrepreneurs is approximately 25% of total employment, while global standard rates are 35% and higher,” the minister said.