Young entrepreneurs in Montenegro cite long and costly procedures as the most significant barrier to their business. At the panel of the EU Info Centre entitled “Administrative Barriers to Young Entrepreneurs in Montenegro – Can the EU Models and Experience Help?” it was assessed that complicated procedures often inhibit or prevent young entrepreneurs from achieving their goals. Often their ideas are difficult to register in the current legislative framework, and they are often under pressure from the novelties being introduced. Administrative barriers will always exist, but the question is how to reduce them to a reasonable extent when it comes to Montenegro and young entrepreneurship, said Dragana Radevic of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development.
“Our focus should be on popularising young people and their initiatives. It is necessary to create a support network for young entrepreneurs so that they connect with each other and with representatives of the administration. To get answers on their dilemmas through direct contact and to not give up,” said Dragana Radevic.
No country in the world has solved the problem of red tape. Its role is to enforce the existing legislation and it must be effective. Slovenia has created a fairly compact administration that coordinates everything within the country and, at one point communicates with the entrepreneur, said Boris Koprivnikar, the Advisor in the field of complex digital systems, and formerly the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Administration of the Republic of Slovenia.
“When starting a business in Slovenia I need to know what papers I should have and what taxes I should pay. Everything new and unplanned destroys entrepreneurship. If a law changes, it must always be changed through dialogue at the socio-economic council. In Slovenia, a law cannot be accepted unless all the objections to it have received an official response,” Koprivnikar explained.
As someone who is a small entrepreneur, Koprivnikar has not gone to one counter in the past year. He completes all his obligations through e-government services. Both Montenegro and Slovenia need to decide in which direction they are moving, and to define the core of their economic development so that entrepreneurs have a stable framework in which to move towards, Koprivnikar believes.
“After that, coordination and cooperation are the most important things. Slovenia has managed to centralise all of its data on a single platform, which has enabled it to create different offers that make it easier for entrepreneurs to do business,” Koprivnikar emphasised.
While there is a will to break down barriers faced by entrepreneurs, many in various studies refer to corruption as a way of functioning and solving problems. Research; however, shows that it is more about perceived corruption than actual corruption.
“It’s not about money, it’s about friendships. Most often, acquaintances jump over administrative barriers. I’m not saying that someone does it on purpose, it’s a matter of awareness. The question is also who is important to us. Is it a tax clerk or a tax-paying entrepreneur? Behavioural patterns are changing, and it requires a lot more work as well as changing priorities,” said Radevic.
There is still a need for security in Montenegro, and it prevails over the entrepreneurial spirit. It is safer to work in the State administration than to risk earning more than a salary. This is why entrepreneurship needs to be discussed and entrepreneurs must be respected. Montenegro has no history of an entrepreneurial State; however, entrepreneurship alone is able to bring new values.
Transparency is the best weapon against corruption, Koprivnikar believes. The task of the public sector is only to collect taxes and distribute them as efficiently as possible, while spending as little as possible on their own account.
“Europe will only give us formal procedures, and if we expect the European Union to give us direction or a strategy, that will not happen,” Koprivnikar made clear.
Montenegro’s online public administration platforms are not functioning, the panel participants pointed out. It often happens that after everything is done online, the entrepreneur must physically visit the counters. Everyone who creates procedures and laws should create them so that they are friendly to young entrepreneurs, said Uros Bulatovic, from the Union of Young Entrepreneurs of Montenegro.