Skip to main content

Press release Doing business under difficult conditions

These framework conditions help entrepreneurs from a scientific perspective

"We are focusing on the reduction of administrative burdens for businesses. Cutting red tape is especially important for SMEs. They have limited time and resources compared to larger companies when it comes to the fulfillment of information- or reporting requirements. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action is rethinking its methods for reducing bureaucracy and has developed a new procedure called 'reality checks'. In workshops with experts in the field, for example affected entrepreneurs, we examine a specific real-life case. Our aim is to use this knowledge to create practical and enforceable legislation", reported Dr. Armgard Wippler, Deputy Director General of the Department for SME Policy, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action at today's opening of the International Roundtable on SMEs in Berlin. Internationally renowned entrepreneurship researchers discussed their current research findings with representatives from SME policy and business at the event.

In her introduction, Prof Dr Dr h.c. Friederike Welter (IfM Bonn/University of Siegen) addressed the European Commission's SME relief package published in September: "In principle, it is to be welcomed that the Commission wants to strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises in their ecological transformation and competitiveness and generally create a business-friendly environment. However, some of the planned measures are too fragmented. Such support measures should also always be limited in time."

Helpful approaches for the further reduction of bureaucracy

According to Sebastian Schneider (IfM Bonn), there is also potential for reducing bureaucratic burdens in public tenders. For example, bidders are often required to provide extensive requirements and proofs as part of the public procurement procedures. A lack of information, difficulties in contacting the tendering authority, and a lack of user-friendliness of the digital platforms make it difficult for small and medium-sized companies to participate. Although there are several possible solutions for this, due to scarce human resources in the tendering authority, some of them would not be implemented. For this reason, it seems vital to better equip the tendering authorities to reduce the obstacles SMEs face in the public procurement procedures.

Prof Dr Dr h.c. Volker Wittberg (Fachhochschule des Mittelstands, Bielefeld) used a new calculation method to illustrate how the true bureaucratic burden can be visualized in small and medium-sized companies: This states the burden of legislation in terms of annual costs and workability in relation to bottlenecks in implementation.

Reducing prevailing inequality

According to a study by Prof. Dr Christina Günther (WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management, Vallendar), migrant women continue to be disadvantaged in the labor market: On average, they earn 10 percentage points less than non-migrant women. Self-employment is, therefore, an alternative to permanent employment for them: "Migrant women who become self-employed are not only more satisfied with their life situation but are also better off financially than employed women with a migration background," reported Prof Dr Christina Günther.

Income support for entrepreneurs in the UK during COVID-19 was uneven, with many being excluded from income protection. Prof Julia Rouse (Manchester Metropolitan University/UK) explained the technical and political processes that caused gaps in support and raised concerns that the political processes are also impeding preparation for more comprehensive crisis responses in future. In addition to the different presentations, Lora Pissareva (Policy Analyst at the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities (CFE), Paris/France) highlighted that small and medium-sized enterprises can particularly benefit from integrating different networks to accelerate their transformation and leapfrog.