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The EBA is all about identifying trends and the nearing changes. Therefore, we conduct a range of surveys that explore the current condition of the business environment in Ukraine and look at it from different angles. We get regular feedback from business within 12 surveys: Investment Attractiveness Index, Customs Index, Tax Index, Court Index, Infrastructure Index, Digital Transformation Index, International Compliance Index, Sustainability Index, Small Business Index, Doing business in regions, Happiness Barometer, Business Forecast. Based on the research results, we can have a bigger well-founded picture of success and failures in the business environment in Ukraine, which we share happily with government authorities, companies, media, and the public. So, let’s learn about the results and study the dynamics.
The research that reflects business sentiment regarding the current state of the country's investment climate and forecasts for the next 6 months.
How we calculate the Index
The investment attractiveness index is calculated as an arithmetic mean of five aspects of the investment climate. Respondents answered questions by selecting one of the suggested answers that could be analyzed using a five-point system.
To download survey results, please click on the metric you are interested in.
Research where business shares projections about $, employee salaries, staff size, investment projects per year, TOP-3 tasks from business to government, and more.
More than half of the surveyed companies, namely 58%, predict positive dynamics of their business development in 2024. These are the findings of the EBA Business Forecasts for 2024survey. Last year, the number was 47%. This year’s results demonstrate a positive trend of cautious improvement in the mood and forecasts of CEOs managers of EBA member companies.
At the same time, 29% of directors expect to keep business indicators at the level of the previous year in 2024, and 13% predict negative dynamics (last year the number was 25%).
Companies are improving their financial indicators forecasts. Most managers expect revenue growth in 2024: 72% expect an increase in hryvnia, and 55% – in physical terms. Last year, the figures were 58% and 43%, respectively. In particular, 35% of the surveyed entrepreneurs expect an increase in revenues in hryvnia of up to 10%, and 25% – by 11-20%. A drop in revenues in hryvnia is predicted by 16%, and 17% in real terms.
In their budgets for 2024, company executives set the value of the currency at an average of 41 UAH/$. For comparison, in 2023, businesses budgeted 43 UAH/$, and in 2021-22 – 29 UAH/$.
Next year, 2 out of 5 CEOs plan to hire new people. Last year, this figure was half as much. At the same time, about half of the companies, namely 48%, will leave the team unchanged, and 12% plan to reduce staff.
The overwhelming majority of surveyed companies, namely 87%, will increase the salaries of their employees. Of these, 46% plan to increase salaries by up to 10%, and 41% plan to increase salaries by 10% to 20%. Only 1% of companies will reduce salaries, and 12% plan to leave them unchanged. Last year, 73% of company executives resorted to raising salaries.
Compared to last year, the number of companies planning to implement new investment projects has increased from 19% to 26%. The average cost of planned projects has also increased and amounts to about $8 million (an average of $3 million in 2023).
The number of companies planning to invest in social initiatives has also slightly increased – from 60% to 65%. On average, businesses are ready to allocate about 6% of their revenues to social projects. In 2023 and 2022, these figures were 8% and 3%, respectively.)
The business traditionally lists the fight against corruption, the need for judicial reform, the establishment of the rule of law, and ensuring macroeconomic stability as the top three priorities for the Government.
91 CEOs of member companies of the European Business Association participated in the study “Business Forecast 2024”. The survey was conducted from August 26 to September 4, 2023. The Business Forecasts survey has been conducted by the EBA for 8 years in a row.
Nearly half of the member companies of the European Business Association are positive about their business development in 2023. These are the conclusions of the study "Business Forecast 2023" which was conducted by the EBA and Raiffeisen Bank with analytical support from Gradus Research. This year’s results demonstrate an expected deterioration in the sentiments and forecasts of top managers. For comparison, last year 83% of CEOs made positive forecasts.
28% of directors expect to maintain business indicators at the current level in 2023, and 25% expect a deterioration in the state of business (last year there were only 2%).
Most companies expect a positive financial result next year. Thus, 58% of respondents expect income growth in hryvnia, and 43% – in real terms. At the same time, 31% expect an increase in hryvnia income up to 10%. Also, 31% of directors predict a fall in hryvnia revenues and 36% – in real terms.
When planning budgets for 2023, company managers set the value of the currency at an average of UAH 43/$. We will remind you that for the past two years, forecasts for the hryvnia exchange rate remained constant at the level of UAH 29/$.
Only 1 in 5 CEOs plans to hire new employees next year. The majority, namely 53%, say they will keep the team unchanged, and the other 28% will resort to downsizing. At the same time, last year more than half of the companies planned to hire more staff.
Only 1% of companies plan to cut wages in 2023, another 26% will keep them at the current level. At the same time, 73% planned to raise wages for employees, of which 40% will raise wages at the level of 10% to 20%. For comparison, all respondents of last year’s survey planned to increase the salaries of their employees.
Compared to last year, the number of CEOs planning to implement new investment projects decreased by a third – only 19% of companies reported this. The average cost of the planned projects is about 3 million dollars. On the other hand, the number of companies planning to invest in social initiatives has increased, so these are 60% currently. On average, businesses are ready to allocate about 8% of their income to social projects. That is significantly more than the previous figure of up to 3% of the company’s income.
The CEOs also identified the TOP-3 tasks for the next year to be considered by the Government. The first two tasks have remained unchanged for several years in a row. The first is the need to carry out judicial reform and establish the rule of law, the second place is the fight against corruption. Macroeconomic stability is named by the business leaders as the third priority for the next year as it is security is the basis of the future recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine.
104 CEOs of member companies of the European Business Association participated in the study “Business Forecast 2023”. They had to answer 10 questions of the survey during August-September 2022. The Business Forecast study has been conducted by the Association for the 7th year in a row. The study partner in 2022 is Raiffeisen Bank, the analytical partner is Gradus Research.
The results of the Business Forecast 2022, conducted by the European Business Association together with Nestlé Ukraine, show a steady increase in optimistic sentiments and forecasts of the top managers. For comparison, last year just 60% of the respondents predicted positive business results.
In 2022, the vast majority, namely 83% of the respondents, forecast growth of their business, 15% of the directors assume it will be possible to sustain their business performance at the level of 2021, and only 2% expect some deterioration in their business situation (14% last year).
The companies have significantly improved the financial forecasts for next year. Most entrepreneurs, namely 67%, forecast income growth by 10-20% – in hryvnia. This figure returned to the level of 2020 after a significant decline in the past. Thus, 36% of directors expect revenue growth of up to 10% in volume terms, and almost half (49%) expect a 10-20% growth.
The dollar exchange rate for next year is forecasted to be the same as last year. When planning budgets for 2022, company executives consider the currency rate at an average of 29 UAH/$.
All respondents to this year’s survey note their plans to increase the salaries of their employees in 2022. Most managers, namely 55%, plan to increase salaries by 5-10%. Other 30% will increase salaries by 10-20%. It should be mentioned that last year 15% of the companies were not able to increase staff salaries.
The companies are enthusiastic about the plans to create new jobs. Thus, last year 60% of companies did not plan any changes in their staff, while this year their number is only 36%. The majority, namely 58% of the top managers, plan to expand their staff. And only 6% of the companies will be forced to reduce staff.
One-third of the entrepreneurs, namely 32%, plan to implement new investment projects next year with a budget from 20 thousand to 400 million US dollars. Moreover, we are pleased to note that almost half of the respondents (49%) plan to invest in social initiatives aimed at supporting Ukrainian society next year. In some cases, the amount of investment will reach 3% of the company’s income.
The CEOs also identified the TOP-3 tasks from business to the government for next year. It’s been the second year in a row that the first need mentioned is the need for judicial reform and the rule of law, the second is the fight against corruption, and the third is the need to ensure political stability and effective management in the country. Also, this year, the directors highlighted the importance of further reforming the tax and customs sectors.
Altogether, 95 CEOs of the EBA member companies took part in the “Business forecast 2022” study. The survey consisted of 10 questions and was conducted in September 2021. The Business Forecast has been conducted by the Association for the 6th year in a row. This year, the study was held with Nestlé Ukraine – our research partner.
Just 60% of CEOs expect positive growth dynamics for their business in 2021 according to the results of the survey “Business Forecasts 2021” conducted annually by the European Business Association among the CEOs of EBA member companies and were presented on the meeting Global Outlook: Future Driven. It is worth noting that 77% of CEOs expected their business to grow according to the previous wave of the survey for 2020.
Meanwhile, 26% of CEOs expect to maintain business performance at the level of 2020, and another 14% say that their business situation will deteriorate. In addition, only a third of entrepreneurs, namely 31% plan to implement large-scale investment projects next year. business development
About a third of entrepreneurs expect an increase in income up to 10% in UAH due to business development projects. Whereas last year the majority (62%) forecast growth at 10-20%. When planning budgets for 2021, company executives set the value of the currency at an average of 29 UAH / $.
At the same time, more than half of the CEOs, namely 54%, plan to increase the salaries of employees by 5-10%. Another 21% will increase wages up to 5%, and 9% – up to 10-20%. Only 15% of companies will not increase staff salaries and no company plans to reduce it.
At the same time, most companies will rely on a restrained HR policy next year. Thus, a 60% plan to keep the company’s staff unchanged. Only 28% of companies plan to expand their staff (last year there were 46%). 12% of businesses will have to resort to staff reductions.
Besides, company executives have identified the top 3 tasks from business to government for next year. They have remained unchanged for a long time, but this year the directors put the need for judicial reform and the rule of law in the first place, the combat against corruption in the second place, and then political stability and effective governance in the country.
For the reference:
Altogether, 121 CEOs of the EBA member companies took part in the “Business forecasts 2021” study. The survey consisted of 10 questions and was conducted in September 2020. The Business Forecasts survey has been conducted by the Association for the 5th year in a row.
The EBA survey shows that 77% of member companies’ CEOs expect business development during the next year. More than half of businessmen (62%) expect 10 to 20% revenue growth, in UAH terms. Almost half (45%) of CEOs forecast revenue growth rates also at 10-20%.Such results were shown by the survey “Business Forecasts 2020” and announced during the special event of the European Business Association “Global Outlook” on 23th of September 2019.
When budgeting for next year, the CEOs considered a currency rate of UAH 28 / 1$. For this year, their respective forecast was UAH 30/1$.
A large majority (90%) of managers expect to increase employee salaries in the amount of 5-20%.
At the same time, the number of CEOs wishing to expand staff levels decreased. Nearly half (47%) plan to leave the number of employees unchanged. Only 46% plan to recruit new people due to staff expansion (last year, 58% of CEOs did so).
The study also showed that large-scale investment business projects are not planned, and 67% of CEOs confirmed this.
In addition, the survey defined the top-3 tasks from business for the next year. For a long time, they remain the same – a fight against corruption, judicial reform and establishment of the rule of law, political stability, and good governance.
It is worth noting that the survey conducted in early 2019 demonstrates the same tasks for the country’s leadership, along with the introduction of land reform and a fight against the shadow economy. We hope that businesses’ voice will be heard so that the country can develop.
Additional information: 104 CEOs of EBA member companies took part in the survey “Business Forecast 2020”. The questionnaire consisted of 10 questions.
The EBA survey shows that 75% of member companies’ CEOs expect business development during the next year. Almost half of businessmen (42%) expect 10 to 20% revenue growth, in UAH terms. Prognoses in $ are less optimistic. 43% of CEOs mentioned they expect up to 10% growth. Such results were shown by the survey “Business Forecasts 2019” and announced during the special event of the European Business Association “Global Outlook”.
Besides, business feels the need for tax and customs reforms, effective public administration, progress in the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement’s terms, and strengthening of energy security and energy efficiency.
What are the main conclusions of our survey? When planning a budget for the following year, the business owners considered 30 UAH / 1$ on the average. For this year, the forecast was UAH 28 / 1$. In addition, large-scale investment business projects are not planned, and 61% of the CEOs confirmed this.
However, despite currency fluctuations, 58% of all respondents plan to expand the state. 33% of entrepreneurs will leave the state unchanged. In turn, almost half of them expect to increase employee benefits by 10 to 20%.
As a reminder, EBA Investment Index results demonstrate that the following actions are needed to improve the investment climate for the business, namely: launch of the Anti-corruption court, judicial reform, land market reform, reduction of tax pressure on the salary fund, deregulation of the economy, more communicating positive changes and cases, making the state apparatus effective, which in some cases will mean its reduction. According to some respondents, even up to 5 times.
Reference: 106 CEOs of the EBA member companies took part in the survey «Business Forecast 2019». The questionnaire consisted of 10 questions.
CEOs expect business development during the next year
expect 10 to 20% revenue growth, in UAH terms
Last year expectations of CEOs were more optimistic. Then 86% of CEOs hoped for positive scenario. Now we are returning to the numbers as of 2017. And the reasons for it are obvious. Business suffers from corruption and feels a real need for fight against it, as well as the need for establishment of the rule of law and judicial reform, political stability. There is a little progress, but they are not enough. Thus for the next year top tasks from business remain the same. I hope that this time we will be heard better and the reforms in these areas will be more tangible.
In August, we asked key Ukrainian investors about their expectations regarding the state of the country’s economy in 2018. We conduct this research every year on the eve of the active autumn business season to understand how the EBA member companies plan their business activities.
Thus, EBA Business Forecast 2018 includes assessments of the development prospects for their own business, as well as the company’s vision of the future in 2018 against the background of the global economy. Most respondents who shared their views with us work in the service sector – 37%, as well as manufacturing – 27%, construction – 7%, mining – 3%, and other sectors.
TRENDS OF BUSINESS ACTIVITIES
This year’s results showed that a very high percentage of respondents (86%, compared to 74% last year) expect positive business growth dynamics.
At the same time, 34% of managers forecast an income increase in hryvnia by 6-10%, another 15% talk about an increase in income by 20-30%, almost 6% expected growth of more than 30%. Although last year the sentiment was more optimistic, as there was a small percentage (almost 4%) of respondents seeking the growth of 50% or more. The respondents undoubtedly took into account the level of inflation in their calculations.
According to the top managers of EBA member companies, the projected profitability of companies in dollar terms is as follows: the majority of respondents (about 23%) believe that business profitability in 2018 will increase by 10%; another 21% may increase to 20%.
We also learned about investors’ forecasts for profit growth in physical terms for 2018. Accordingly, the largest percentage of respondents (about 40%) expect the growth to 10%, another 16% say the growth to 20% is maximum. And only 7% believe that such growth will not happen at all. For comparison – only 6% of respondents admitted to the income growth by 30% or more in physical terms.
We traditionally asked directors about the barriers that significantly impede the planning of their business activities and development in Ukraine.
Interestingly, this year the business community considers that the fight against corruption and the need for judicial reform is equally important as the priorities for the Government: 29% and 26% respectively. For several seasons in a row, corruption has always been the absolute leader among the negative factors.
The respondents also emphasized other factors:
17% – tax and customs reform
12.5% - political stability and effective management
4% – energy independence and energy efficiency
2% – reduction of government spending
PAY AND EMPLOYMENT
As most respondents hope for positive business growth dynamics, there is a strong tendency to expand the number of employees in many companies. This sentiment is reflected in the results of our survey: almost 67% of respondents admitted that in 2018 they will hire new employees, 34% will stick to the current number of staff, and only 9% of executives are likely to lay off staff in the next calendar year.
Compared to last year’s results, we see optimistic sentiments this year in terms of wages. Thus, 40% of respondents plan to increase the level of salaries from 10% to 20%, another 37% hope to increase salaries by 5-10%, and 10% – by 5%, and a very small percentage – only 3% of respondents refuse to raise wages.
expect a positive business growth dynamic in 2018
plan to launch new projects next year
We see that the overall picture is optimistic because this year 86% of respondents expect positive dynamics in the growth of their businesses in Ukraine. At the same time, some percentages fell to a lesser extent, which means that investors take a more moderate approach in planning business activities in Ukrainian realities. Certain stability is reflected in the constant exchange rate used by the top managers of our member companies. Last year′s trend to increase staff and raise staff salaries also remained positive. Time will tell whether the expectations of the business community will come true. Our goal, for now, is to remove barriers that hinder the business and deter potential investors.
Just before the new business season start, when most of companies actively plan their strategies of further development and budgeting for the next year, we asked top-managers from EBA member-companies to provide their economic prognoses in the framework of our specific research - EBA Business Forecast 2017.
This topical research covers the development of own business as well as vision of the company’s future in 2017 following the world economic tendencies and globalisation processes.
We would like to share with you the summarised opinions from 117 key investors, most of which work in services - 35%, as well as in such sectors as: manufacturing– 25%, construction – 7%, mining – 3% etc.
BUSINESS ACTIVITY TRENDS
The positive signal lies in high percent of respondents (74%), who expect a positive dynamics for their businesses’ growth. 34% of directors forecast incomes 10-20% growth in UAH, 22% marked 20-30% income growth, 12% pointed 10% income growth. There is also a low percent (almost 4%), who fixed 50% income growth in 2017. In general our respondents are likely to consider the level of inflation when predicting incomes growth. Income growth in USD looks a bit different. For instance, 32% of respondents are likely to predict 10% income growth.
This time we asked top-managers about the rate of growth in volume terms when budgeting for 2017. The highest percent of respondents (32%) look forward to receiving 20-30% growth. 22% of directors pointed their maximum growth rate as 10%, and other 21% forecast no growth at all. And only 2% of respondents marked 50% rate of growth in volume terms for their businesses.
Corruption in Ukraine is number one barrier in the eyes of business-community. We notice such tendency in several researches simultaneously since we started measuring the status of investment attractiveness of Ukraine. That is why, combating corruption is obviously the most frequent answer (30%) for the question about the main tasks from business for the Government team. Other top answers-tasks are – court system reform and the rule of law – 25%, tax and customs reform - 19%. 15% of respondents pointed that the Cabinet of Ministers should pay attention to the level of political stability and fix the effective management system. 5% more percent of top-managers marked the importance of progress in DCFTA issues and strengthening of EU-Ukraine relations. 4% mentioned the need for energy safety and energy efficiency and 3% think that the Government should cut its spendings.
HUMAN CAPITAL AND SALARIES
Taking into account the fact that a vast majority of respondents forecast the positive dynamics of business growth next year, we can see the trend for expanding the staff in many companies. Our statistics proves that almost 44% of respondents confessed that in 2017 they will probably employ new staff members. 48% are likely to keep the staff composition unchanged. And only 9% are likely to reduce the staff in2017.
More optimistic figures (compared to last year results) we also received in terms of salaries. Thus 41% of respondents plan to increase the salaries for 10-20%. 37% leaders expect to increase salaries for 5-10%, а 10% of respondents forecast 5% salary increase. Only 4% will avoid the increase at all.
predict positive dynamics of business growth in 2017
eager to launch of new projects next year
The results of this year research prove that business is currently more confident as it used to be in 2015. And we can see that a vast majority of companies’ leaders demonstrated quiet optimistic views as for dynamics of business growth in 2017. It means, there is a hope for some kind of boost for business-activity. Of course, investor dislike uncertainty of the economic situation in Ukraine, however some of them plan to grow their capitals including human one. Such data, of course, is a positive signal for a potential revival of business activity in the country in 2017.
Despite the war, 3 out of 4 SMEs plan to expand their business in 2023 - these are the results of the Small Business Sentiment Index 2022 conducted by the European Business Association as part of the Unlimit Ukraine project with the information support of the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, the Entrepreneurship and Export Promotion Office, and the national project Diia.Business.
The survey demonstrates further deterioration in SME sentiment. Thus, the Index fell to 2.4 points out of 5 which is the second lowest value in the history of the study. For comparison, the Index amounted to 2.6 points in 2021 and 2.2 points in 2020.
Of the entrepreneurs we surveyed, 58% are currently dissatisfied with the state of affairs in their business, a slight increase from 52% in 2021. At the same time, the share of those who are satisfied with the state of affairs has decreased – the current 24% compared to 32% last year.
Of all the Index components, the lowest score was given to the economic situation in the country. Thus, 42% of respondents consider it unfavourable, and 29% – catastrophic. These are the realities of wartime. However, it is worth noting that during the active phase of the coronavirus pandemic, these estimates were even worse – 44% of respondents rated the state of the economy as catastrophic.
For the second time in the 6 years of the survey, not only the sentiments but also the expectations among entrepreneurs have deteriorated. Currently, the share of those who forecast that the business situation will continue to deteriorate (38%) exceeds the number of those who expect the situation to improve (33%) in the next six months.
The following factors have the greatest negative impact on business valuations: active hostilities and proximity to the frontline, destruction, shelling, power and communication outages, inaccessible loans, falling consumer demand and decreased purchasing power, logistics challenges, inflation, and tax pressure.
Despite the difficulties, the majority of entrepreneurs, namely 76%, plan to expand their business in 2023. Of these, 28% plan to expand their geography, 26% plan to launch new products, 25% plan to enter foreign markets, and 21% plan to change the number of employees.
Most respondents (67%) will raise new funds to expand their business. Most entrepreneurs rely on their own finances (30%) and to a lesser extent on grants (21%) and loans (10%). Compared to 2021, the share of loans used by SMEs has tripled – 32% of companies relied on them then.
Loans are traditionally a sore point for small businesses. In 2022, entrepreneurs encountered difficulties in obtaining loans. Among the SMEs we surveyed, 59% consider bank loans to be inaccessible or difficult to access, compared to 40% in 2021.
We also asked entrepreneurs how the attacks on the energy infrastructure have affected their businesses. Only 8% of them completely stopped their operations due to the shelling, while another 20% temporarily suspended them. Most are adapting, for example, 45% of entrepreneurs change their work schedule and/or change the volume of production or services.
To prepare for such challenges, entrepreneurs have allocated additional funds to purchase generators and other uninterruptible power sources (55%), as well as telecommunications and Internet facilities (41%). At the same time, those who do not have the financial means are forced to adjust to the schedule of outages, including working night shifts.
SMALL BUSINESS ATTITUDES INDEX – conducted by the European Business Association since 2017 within the Unlimit Ukraine project. The purpose of the study is to collaborate with small and microbusinesses and to analyze growth points that will stimulate their development. The survey was conducted from December 1 to 31, 2022. Altogether, 325 small business owners and directors of all fields of activity joined the survey.
Unlimit Ukraine is a small business and microbusiness development platform created on the basis of the European Business Association. The project provides comprehensive support for small and microbusiness through educational events and consultations, participation in special projects, diagnostics of business problems, and discussion of issues relevant to it. The participants of the project can be small and micro-businesses with the ownership of FOP without limitation of activities. Today, Unlimit Ukraine includes 4300 SMEs.
The number of entrepreneurs satisfied with the course of affairs has decreased – the current 24% compared to 32% last year
The number of dissatisfied entrepreneurs has increased. Thus, 42% of respondents consider it unfavourable, and 29% – catastrophic.
Small businesses have found themselves in a rather difficult situation during the year of full-scale war, so we are proud of all those who have managed to adapt and continue working in the new environment. Although pessimism prevails among entrepreneurs, it is still somewhat better than at the height of the pandemic in 2020. Let′s hope that the most difficult times are over, and as the largest business association in Ukraine, we will continue to support SMEs within the Unlimit Ukraine project.
The Ministry of Digital Transformation continues to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the survey results give us a vector in which to direct our efforts, particularly within the Diia.Business entrepreneurship development project.
The new challenges faced by Ukrainian entrepreneurs during the full-scale invasion have also revealed potential areas of development. We see an interesting trend in that 25% of entrepreneurs who plan to expand their businesses want to do so by starting exports. The Entrepreneurship and Export Promotion Office is working to ensure that the Export Direction of Diia.Business is actively represented abroad and that Ukrainian businesses find their partners and customers around the world.
According to this year’s Small Business Attitudes Index, there is a significant deterioration in the sentiment of small businesses in Ukraine. This study was conducted within the Unlimit Ukraine by the European Business Association in partnership with Mind.ua. Thus, the Index fell to 2.38 points out of 5 possible, compared to 3.07 points last year, and returned to the negative plane. These results are the lowest in the history of the study of the Small Business Attitudes Index since 2017.
Compared to previous years, the number of entrepreneurs satisfied with the state of affairs in their business has almost halved – the current 24% against 42% last year. Accordingly, the number of dissatisfied has increased – from last year’s 29% to the current 58%.
Not only the sentiments but also the expectations for the better deteriorated in 2020. For the first time in four years, expectations are assessed only at 10% higher than the current state of affairs. Only 27% of respondents expect the business situation to improve over the next 6 months, compared to 59% last year. On the contrary, 52% of entrepreneurs expect deterioration.
About half of the respondents do not plan to change the company’s HR policy next year, both in terms of the number of employees and salaries. Although there are 18% who plan to increase the number of employees, and 23% – to increase salaries.
Survey participants gave the worst points to the economic situation in the country compared to other components of the Index. Thus, 80% consider the current economic situation unfavorable for doing business. The main reasons for this are the low purchasing power of the population, the impact of quarantine restrictions, the tax burden, and fiscal pressure. It is worth noting that the tax burden which traditionally tops this anti-rating, is now in third place.
However, the tax sphere remains one of the top areas that need change for the better according to small businesses. Thus, 31% say about the need for progressive changes in the field of taxation, while another 9% report the need for deregulation and increased efficiency of all government branches.
Affordable loans and credits are a traditionally relevant topic for small businesses. According to the survey, every fifth entrepreneur plans to attract loans to develop their business in 2021. At the same time, the vast majority, namely 64% of respondents believe that getting a loan in Ukraine is difficult or impossible. Last year, such pessimistic views were held by slightly fewer entrepreneurs – 52%.
We also asked entrepreneurs what the main pandemic-induced consequences are for their businesses. The majority, namely 58%, noted a decrease in the number of orders, another 18% were forced to revise the business model and look for new directions, 10% optimized activities and reduced staff, and 3% were able to increase sales or open new markets. And only 14% did not notice the effect of coronavirus on their activities.
“The state program “5-7-9″ is adapted to the needs of business in working capital and refinancing, and it has made a significant contribution to ensure that Ukrainian business goes through the pandemic with minimal losses. However, most micro and small businesses will continue to need alternative financing sources other than bank loans. That’s why the SME Development Office, in close cooperation with our partners, focuses on the development of not yet common ways of financing such as factoring, modern offline and online business support infrastructure, as well as training and consulting support programs.”
SMALL BUSINESS ATTITUDES INDEX – conducted by the European Business Association since 2017 within the Unlimit Ukraine project. Project partner this year: Mind.ua. The purpose of the study is to collaborate with small and microbusinesses and to analyze growth points that will stimulate their development. The survey was conducted from December 1 to 31, 2020. Altogether, 426 small business owners and directors of all fields of activity joined the survey.
Unlimit Ukraine is a small business and microbusiness development platform created on the basis of the European Business Association. The project provides comprehensive support for small and microbusiness through educational events and consultations, participation in special projects, diagnostics of business problems, and discussion of issues relevant to it. The participants of the project can be small and micro-businesses with the ownership of FOP without limitation of activities. Today, Unlimit Ukraine includes 2400 SMEs.
Mind.ua is an independent business media portal aimed at creating a quality product that is useful to the readers. Mind professes “knowledge journalism” which means telling, explaining, and providing the reader with the opportunity to make conscious choices in various spheres of life – economic, cultural, social, and entrepreneurial ones.
The number of entrepreneurs satisfied with the course of affairs in their business has almost halved against 42% last year
The number of dissatisfied entrepreneurs has increased – from last year’s 29%
2020 has become a real test for business, especially for small ones. Interestingly, both large and small companies have a similar assessment of the current conditions of doing business - 2.38 points out of 5. However, the situation differs for them. Thus, SMEs do not yet have a sufficient margin of safety, compared to large players. Therefore, small business today needs increased support from everywhere - from the state, media, society, big business.
Therefore, as the largest business association in the country, we consider it our duty to help SMEs in the framework of the Unlimit Ukraine project. Last year, together with the Ukrainian Startup Fund, we launched another project in which small businesses can work with large ones, for example, in developing automation programs and other solutions that are needed by large companies. So, I invite you not to miss this opportunity and join the initiative.
For another year, the business finds it most troublesome to gain access to cheap and affordable loans. Despite the state′s efforts in this direction and the launch of the "5-7-9%" program, the percentage of small entrepreneurs who find it difficult to get a loan is only growing. Small business feedback should be considered to improve program conditions and create easier and faster access to credit. Besides, it is very important that government support is not limited to simplifying access to funds, but instead provides comprehensive solutions for the development and scaling of small businesses.
The consequences of the pandemic for small and medium-sized businesses are so far-reaching that they have completely shifted the accents, overshadowing national problems. Now the business does not perceive corruption and war as the ′starting points′ of all problems, but their derivatives - the inadequacy of government action and low purchasing power.
COVID-19 has hit small and medium-sized businesses hard. Therefore, the Ministry of Digital Transformation pays special attention to creating comfortable conditions for doing business - without bureaucracy, queues, and corruption. We have launched the fastest business registration in the world. And within the framework of the national project Diia.Business, we implement many initiatives aimed at business development and encouraging young people to do business. For example, every entrepreneur can use free online consultations, of which there are a total of 55 types available in 12 different fields. We also launched free courses at the National Online School for Entrepreneurs.
Besides, together with partners, we have introduced the discipline “Innovative Entrepreneurship and Startup Project Management” in 76 universities in Ukraine. And we will be sure to use analytics and research recommendations when developing government support programs for small and medium-sized businesses, as well as building an ecosystem to support entrepreneurship. In particular, this year we plan to open from 7 to 14 offline Diia.Business support centers for entrepreneurs throughout Ukraine. We also plan to launch the first state agency for the development of entrepreneurship and exports.
Product sales problems and the need to invent new digital ways of organizing work have become characteristic markers of the past year. The COVID-19 pandemic and restrictive quarantine measures have become both a source of these problems and a catalyst for change and development. Given this, access to finance, especially outside the agricultural sector, has become more difficult, as shown by the Index.
The results of the Small Business Attitudes Index, conducted for the third year in a row by the European Business Association within the Unlimit Ukraine project, showed an increase in optimistic views among Ukrainian entrepreneurs. Thus, the index reached 3 points out of 5 possible, compared to 2.7 points last year, and finally came out of the negative plane.
In general, it can be seen as a positive trend, compared to the results of previous years. The number of satisfied with the current state of business has increased significantly – from last year’s 31.6% to the current 42%. In addition, the number of those who are not satisfied with the current economic situation decreased – 29.2% against 38.4% last year.
The number of entrepreneurs who expect an improvement in the business situation has increased by 10% compared to last year – 58.7% against 47.4%. Almost half of the entrepreneurs plan to increase the number of employees – 40.8% plan to hire new people, and only 9.6% plan to cut. In addition, 44.6% plan to increase the salary for their workers. Over the past year, entrepreneurs’ satisfaction with their level of profits has increased dramatically – almost one and a half times. Last year, only 27% of respondents were satisfied with their income, and now there are 40.7% of them. However, it should be noted that the vast majority (59.3%) would still like to earn more.
At the same time, according to 69.1% of respondents, the economic situation is still unfavorable for doing business. Although the number of dissatisfied decreased by 3% (it was 72.2% in 2018), the number of entrepreneurs skeptical of the country’s economic environment remains quite large. Thus, the biggest obstacles to the business were the tax burden (49.6%) and the high level of corruption (46%). It should be noted that dissatisfaction with these two factors decreased compared to 2018 (56.4% and 51.9% respectively). Besides, entrepreneurs have become less concerned about inflation issues, shortage of qualified personnel and the War in the East. However, concerns about the complexity of tax administration and pressure from judicial and regulatory authorities have increased.
Due to the violation of tax regulation, 35.1% of entrepreneurs were fined in the last 3 years. Most (33.1%) were simply late in paying their taxes, and 10.8% made mistakes in reporting. However, the reason for this situation, according to respondents, is often the lack of clarity in procedures and the lack of knowledge of entrepreneurs in taxation changes. In addition, almost 10% of the respondents complained about the irregularity of the control bodies’ decisions during tax audits.
It is not surprising that, if entrepreneurs had the opportunity to change one factor affecting the country’s economy for the benefit of their businesses, most of them (29.8%) would have changed tax legislation. Priorities in this area would be to simplify tax procedures and reduce tax rates. The idea of deregulation was endorsed by 8.5% of those polled who want to simplify the conditions for doing business and developing digital technologies in the public services sector.
SMALL BUSINESS ATTITUDES INDEX – conducted by the European Business Association since 2018 within the Unlimit Ukraine project. Project partners this year: LIGA:ZAKON, 28Quadrate, Ministry of Digital Transformation. The purpose of the study is to collaborate with small and microbusinesses and to analyze growth points that will stimulate its development. The survey was conducted from October 29 to December 18, 2019. 632 small business owners and directors of all fields of activity joined the survey.
The number of satisfied with the current state of affairs in business has increased significantly - from last year's 31.6% to the present 42%
The number of those who are not satisfied with the current economic situation decreased - 29.2% against 38.4% last year
We are pleased that every year more and more small and medium-sized business owners join the survey. It is good to see that positive sentiment prevails among business representatives. Despite the improvements, small businesses are still complaining about problems related to government regulation. Of course, trust between the state and business cannot be built at one time, it can only be done by building on a long-term positive experience in relations between the two parties. And we are pleased to promote such a dialogue at the Association.
Over a third of entrepreneurs have been paying fines in the last 3 years. Most of them have been paying due to inaccuracies in tax legislation, lack of clarification, the bureaucratization of processes, or technical issues. Behind most of the fines stand not violators, but young entrepreneurs focused on developing their businesses, who do not want to understand the legal requirements and remember the dates of payment of taxes. We support the Small Business Attitudes Index to identify gaps where we can help. I am sure that most of the current problems will disappear with the advent of smart technological solutions offered by the Ukrainian IT market.
These are the findings from the Small Business Attitudes Index, conducted for the second straight year by the European Business Association within the Unlimit Ukraine project. This year, small business representatives slightly worsened their assessment of their own development prospects and economic situation in Ukraine. According to the survey, the overall Small Business Attitudes Index dropped to 2.7 out of 5, compared to 3.2 last year.
Compared to last year, small businesses in Ukraine have found it more difficult to operate. Thus, 38.4% of respondents were dissatisfied with the current business environment, while 31.6% of entrepreneurs are quite satisfied with the situation. For comparison, last year’s positive sentiment prevailed – 45% satisfied against 26% dissatisfied. Also, according to the results of the survey, negative attitudes to the dynamics of business development over the past 6 months prevail – 44.4% against 30.1%.
Despite such sentiments, the surveyed entrepreneurs are willing to actively develop their business in 2019. More than half of respondents (53%) plan to increase funding, and 66% expect revenue growth in the first half of 2019. At the same time, almost half of businessmen (47%) expect the situation in business to improve within the next 6 months. Of these, 65% plan to hire new employees, 77% plan to raise wages, and the same number of entrepreneurs are going to increase investment in their business.
The main problems for the business have slightly changed. Last year most entrepreneurs named inflation as one of their main concerns and this year it ranks only 4th among topical problems for the business (43%). Entrepreneurs are much more concerned about the high tax burden – it was named by 56% of respondents, the high level of corruption (52%), as well as the war in the east (47%).
If entrepreneurs had the opportunity to change one thing in favor of their business, most of them would change the level of taxation. A quarter of respondents believe that this is a major problem for business. The availability of credit follows next by a large margin with 10% of respondents who want changes in this area. The state support for business and purchasing power of the population account for 9% each.
SMALL BUSINESS ATTITUDES INDEX – conducted by the European Business Association since 2018 within the Unlimit Ukraine project. Project partners this year: LIGA:ZAKON, BRDO, 28Quadrate. The purpose of the study is to collaborate with small and microbusinesses and to analyze growth points that will stimulate its development. The survey was conducted from December 5 to December 31, 2018. 133 small business owners and directors of all fields of activity joined the survey.
entrepreneurs the situation quite suits
respondents are dissatisfied with the current state of business
The Unlimit Ukraine project, which unites young Ukrainian businesses, has been successfully operating for three years within the framework of the European Business Association. We are witnessing the formation of a powerful layer of Ukrainian manufacturers that offer quality goods and services and can compete in international markets. It is obvious that building a business "from scratch" is a complex process especially in times of transformation for the country. Uncertainty makes entrepreneurs be cautious with their expectations. In addition, changing legislation, pre-election turbulence, and corruption pressures are still the main issues that hold back the optimism of both big and small businesses. Although it is nice to know that small business is planning further development and expects to improve the situation in the near future.
Small business in Ukraine develops actively and is optimistic for 2018, despite the unfavorable business climate as reported by the Small Business Attitudes Index, conducted for the first time by the European Business Association together with LIGA: ZAKON within the Unlimit Ukraine project. The integral Small Business Sentiment Index is 3.2 out of 5, which is a neutral score.
At the same time, such components of the Index as the evaluation of the current state of business, the dynamics of its development over the past 6 months, the forecast of the situation for the next 6 months and the evaluation of the business climate reflected radically opposite sentiments among the entrepreneurs.
The survey demonstrated strong optimistic sentiment in the expectations of business for 2018. 76.2% of those surveyed expect that their business situation will improve in the next six months. 87% expect income growth in 2018. Entrepreneurs are showing great optimism in their business development plans this year. In particular: 54.2% plan to increase the number of employees, 57.3% – to raise the level of salaries of employees, 64.3% – intend to increase the amount of financing for their business in 2018. The study shows that small businesses are export-oriented. 27% of companies surveyed have already entered foreign markets, and 30.3% plan to enter this year. Companies are committed to developing their businesses and reinvesting their earnings into their businesses.
Limited access to credit hampers the development of small businesses. According to the survey, 82% of companies are in need of credit funds. At the same time, 65% of respondents have difficulties with obtaining credit, of which 15.5% consider that it is absolutely impossible to receive loans.
Overall, the economic situation in Ukraine is not beneficial to small business development, according to 68.2% of those surveyed. Only 3% of respondents are completely satisfied with the business climate in Ukraine. Inflation (56.3%), tax burden (42.24%), high levels of corruption (41.9%), and lack of qualified specialists (39.3%) are the main factors for negative assessment of the business climate. At the same time, only 4% believe that inflation is the main reason that hinders business development.
About 21.6% of those polled want to change the tax system. 14.7% of respondents are most concerned about the availability of credit, while 9% consider corruption to be the most unacceptable. 6.1% of the respondents would first like to change the situation with state support for the business and purchasing power of the population in favor of their enterprise.
SMALL BUSINESS ATTITUDES INDEX – first conducted by the European Business Association and LIGA: ZAKON in 2018 within the Unlimit Ukraine project. The purpose of the study is to collaborate with small and microbusinesses and to analyze growth points that will stimulate its development. The survey was conducted from October 29 to December 18, 2019. 278 small business owners and directors of all fields of activity joined the survey. About 40% of the companies surveyed were founded during the turbulent 2015 – 2017.
are satisfied with the current state in business
are dissatisfied with the current situation in business
Supporting small businesses has become a logical extension of the European Business Association's mission of improving the investment environment in Ukraine. A few years ago, we launched a very important Unlimit Ukraine project. The idea behind the project is that big business can share their experience with small businesses. So, we started consulting small business, we selected a team of mentors from experienced CEOs of large companies, who generously shared their expertise with young and ambitious Ukrainian entrepreneurs. We are convinced that such insights are needed for small and micro businesses to stay afloat and lay a solid foundation for development. The next stage in the project development is the Small Business Attitudes Index in Ukraine. This study revealed the problems that small businesses face daily - credit inaccessibility (65%), inflation (56.3%), tax burden (42.24%), high corruption (41.9%), lack of qualified specialists (39.3%) are the main factors of negative assessment of business climate. Knowing the vulnerable points of the business, we can influence the situation so that small entrepreneurs can feel more confident, and starting and growing a business in Ukraine become easier and safer.
Cheaper loans for entrepreneurs are not expected in the near future - there are no Government initiatives on this. Moreover, the NBU has raised the refinancing rate, which will increase the cost of funds. But there are reasons for optimism. The President introduced a draft law on currency instead of the outdated 1993 Decree on Currency Regulation, which provides certain liberalization of currency transactions, which may remove some administrative constraints to attract real foreign investment. There are also some changes in the development of the tax system – the introduction of full and timely VAT refunds; the expected replacement of income tax by the capital deduction tax; and, if the draft law on the National Financial Security Bureau is passed, the tax police will be eliminated. There are a number of macroeconomic factors for revitalizing the economy – increasing demand for Ukrainian products abroad, stabilizing the exchange rate and, as a consequence, increasing the purchasing power of Ukrainian residents.