2015 SBA Fact Sheet Montenegro

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1 2015 SBA Fact Sheet Montenegro Key points Implementing the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA): The SBA profile of Montenegro presents a rather positive picture. Several principles score above the EU average, such as entrepreneurship and 'second chance'. Performance on 'responsive administration' is below the EU average. Limitations in availability of data need to be taken into account while interpreting the overall results. Policy measures introduced recently were mainly a continuation of those initiated in previous years. The focus was on enhancing skills & innovation, promoting entrepreneurship and providing access to finance. SME policy priorities: Improving access to finance should remain a priority for SME policy-makers in Montenegro. The type and the volume of available financial support for SMEs need to be increased. Such funding is to be provided on more favourable conditions than has been the case over the past few years, including regarding requested collaterals. A framework for introduction and development of business angels and venture capital funding should be established. The absorption capacity of SMEs needs to be reinforced for funding to achieve a greater impact. Particularly export oriented SMEs, arising from various business sectors, need to be supported. Strengthening export capabilities will be indispensable for further growth, and this requires the allocation of additional public resources. About the SBA fact sheets The Small Business Act for Europe (SBA) is the EU s flagship policy initiative to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It comprises a set of policy measures organised around 10 principles ranging from entrepreneurship and responsive administration to internationalisation. To improve the governance of the SBA, the 2011 review of it called for better monitoring. The SBA fact sheets, published annually, aim to improve the understanding of recent trends and national policies affecting SMEs. Since 2011, each EU Member State has appointed a high-ranking government official as its national SME envoy. SME envoys spearhead the implementation of the SBA agenda in their countries. Internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs

2 Table of Contents 1. SMEs basic figures SBA profile SBA principles 'Think Small First' Entrepreneurship 'Second chance' 'Responsive administration' State aid & public procurement Access to finance Single market Skills & innovation Environment Internationalisation Interesting new initiative SMEs basic figures The structural SME data for Montenegro at a sectorial level broken down by size-classes, as required by DIW Econ for the corresponding analysis, was not made available by Montenegro. 2. SBA profile 1 The SBA profile of Montenegro presents a rather positive picture. Several principles, such as entrepreneurship and 'second chance', score above the EU average. Performance on 'responsive administration' is below that achieved in the EU. Limitations in availability of data need to be taken into account while interpreting the overall results. Although Montenegro has not prepared a specific strategy for implementing the SBA, it has adopted its own SME development strategy This strategy is linked to the SBA principles and the corresponding action plans are prepared and updated annually. Since 2008, notable progress has been made in terms of providing a supportive business environment. For example, regulatory impact assessments were introduced and applied systematically, the Investment and Development Fund of Montenegro was set up, the law on insolvency was modernised and the procedures to start a new business have been simplified. During 2014 and the first quarter of 2015, the policy measures introduced were mainly a continuation of those initiated in previous years. The focus was on enhancing skills & innovation, promoting entrepreneurship and providing access to finance. The vocational development strategy for the period was adopted, aiming to improve alignment of vocational education with labour market needs. The 'Innovation-Entrepreneurial Centre Tehnopolis' and the Centre of Excellence in Bioinformatics were opened. Improving access to finance should remain a priority for SME policy-makers in Montenegro. In particular, export oriented SMEs, arising from various business sectors, need to be supported. Strengthening export capabilities will be indispensable for further growth, and this requires the allocation of additional public resources SBA Fact Sheet Montenegro 2

3 SBA performance of Montenegro: state of play and development from 2008 to SBA principles 'Think Small First' The 'think small first' principle is meant to be a guiding principle for all policy- and law-making activities. It requires policymakers to take SME interests into account at the early stages of the policy-making process. The principle also calls for newly designed legislation, administrative rules and procedures to be made simple and easy to apply. In Montenegro, regulatory impact assessment (RIA) is systematically applied. As from 2012 it became mandatory for all new laws and by-laws to include either an RIA (in the format prescribed by the Ministry of Finance) or an opinion of the Ministry of Finance should an RIA not be necessary. Most of the ministries have one or more employees trained to carry out their own preliminary RIA. The final report arising from the RIA process, as prepared by the Ministry of Finance, is submitted to the government alongside the proposed legislation. The overall process would benefit from strengthening the capacities of the bodies in charge of preparing the RIAs as well as from the government taking aboard more of the suggestions arising from the RIAs. The 'SME test' is not formally applied. SME stakeholders are regularly consulted on new legislative proposals and their views are taken into account to some extent. The Council for Regulatory Reform and Improvement of Business Environment addresses the reduction of the administrative burden and makes action plans for the simplification of legislation. The 'Strategy for Enhancement of Competitiveness at the Micro Level' (SME development strategy) for the period is being implemented. In 2014, certain administrative fees were reduced SBA Fact Sheet Montenegro 3

4 3.1 Entrepreneurship Early stage entrepreneurial activity (%); 2010; Montenegro: 14.9; EU avg: 7.8 Early stage entrepreneurial activity for female population (%); 2010; Montenegro: 10.5; EU avg: 5.45 Established business ownership rate (%); 2010; Montenegro: 7.8; EU avg: 6.7 Opportunity-driven entrepreneurial activity (%); 2010; Montenegro: 38; EU avg: 47.9 Entrepreneurial intentions (percentage of adults who intend to start a business within 3 years); 2010; Montenegro: 31.9; EU avg: 12.1 Entrepreneurship as a desirable career choice (%); 2010; Montenegro: 81; EU avg: 56.9 High status given to successful entrepreneurship (%); 2010; Montenegro: 68; EU avg: 66.6 Media attention given to entrepreneurship (%); 2010; Montenegro: 70; EU avg: 53.3 Montenegro's performance in relation to entrepreneurship was above the EU average, according to the latest results available (2010). All but one individual indicator pointed to performance well above the EU average. This was particularly true for entrepreneurial intentions (32 %), measured as the percentage of adults who intended to start a business within the next three years. Entrepreneurship as a desirable career choice was also significantly higher in Montenegro than in the EU. Moreover, early stage entrepreneurial activity, which included those who were about to start a business or had started it no more than 42 months ago, was around double the EU level for both men and women. The only score below the EU average under this principle was for opportunity-driven entrepreneurship, which indicates that a higher share of Montenegrin entrepreneurs started their businesses due to not finding other employment options for work, compared to their EU counterparts. In previous years, policy measures focused particularly on lifelong entrepreneurial learning. The first corresponding strategy covered the period In 2014, it was followed by the new strategy for the period , supporting the development of entrepreneurial spirit in the Montenegrin society. The vocational development strategy for the period was also adopted, accompanied by an action plan, aiming to improve alignment of vocational education with labour market needs. There are various projects and initiatives which address female entrepreneurship. Room for improvement lies particularly in strengthening the cooperation between higher education institutions and businesses. Further support is also needed for start-ups and young entrepreneurs, as these groups face particularly challenging conditions SBA Fact Sheet Montenegro 4

5 3.2 'Second chance' Time to resolve insolvency (in years); 2015; Montenegro: 1.4; EU avg: 2.01 Cost of resolving insolvency (cost of recovering debt as percentage of the debtor's estate); 2015; Montenegro: 8; EU avg: Fear of failure rate (%); 2010; Montenegro: 30; EU avg: 40.7 Second chance' refers to ensuring that honest entrepreneurs who have gone bankrupt get a second chance quickly. Regarding this principle, Montenegro performs above the EU average. The data is not available for one corresponding indicator which refers to the degree of support for a second chance, i.e. percentage of people agreeing that entrepreneurs who have established their own business and have failed should be given the opportunity to start again. However, the data available shows that the time to resolve insolvency has decreased from 2 years in 2012 to 1.4 years in 2015, while the EU average remained at about 2 years. The relative cost of resolving insolvency is slightly lower than in the EU. The data from 2010 shows that only a minor percentage of the population would be prevented from setting up a business due to the fear of failure. The main policy measure introduced since 2008 was the new law on insolvency, adopted in This resulted in Montenegro having a solid insolvency framework, which supports reorganisation of companies in financial difficulties, and provides for liquidation of non-viable businesses. Out of court settlements, which are less expensive than filing for bankruptcy, are also available. The so-called enforcement officers were introduced in 2014, with the aim of shortening court proceedings and speeding up bankruptcy procedures, for example by intervening in payment related disputes and in the collection of receivables. No other significant policy measures were adopted or announced in 2014 and the first quarter of There is no government campaign in place to promote the 'second chance' SBA Fact Sheet Montenegro 5

6 3.3 'Responsive administration' Paid-in minimum capital (percentage of income per capita); 2015; Montenegro: 0; EU avg: Time required to transfer property (in calendar days); 2015; Montenegro: 69; EU avg: Cost required to transfer property (percentage of property value); 2015; Montenegro: 3.1; EU avg: 4.45 Number of tax payments per year; 2015; Montenegro: 29; EU avg: Time it takes to pay taxes (hours per year); 2015; Montenegro: 320; EU avg: Cost of enforcing contracts (percentage of claim); 2015; Montenegro: 25.7; EU avg: Licenses and permit systems (1=lowest level of complexity, 26=highest level of complexity); 2011; Montenegro: 21; EU avg: Burden of government regulations (1=burdensome, 7=not burdensome); 2014; Montenegro: 3.6; EU avg: 3.22 'Responsive administration' refers to public administration being responsive to the needs of SMEs. On this principle, under which the data is not available for five corresponding indicators, Montenegro performs below the EU average. On the positive side, the minimum capital requirements for setting up a business are much lower than in the EU. The overall burden of government regulations (which refers to reporting, permits, etc.) has decreased in the period from 2011 till 2014, and is actually lower than on average in the EU. However, the majority of indicators point to a performance well below the EU average. This is true for the number of tax payments per year (29 in Montenegro against 12 in the EU) and even more importantly regarding the time required to pay taxes. Annually it takes about three more weeks of work to comply with tax obligations in Montenegro than in the EU. The procedure for transferring property is still lengthy, but the related costs are relatively low. Over the past years, cutting red tape has been addressed by the Directorate for Development of SMEs (which is part of the Ministry of Economy, which previously was de facto an independent agency with a higher budget available for supporting SMEs). Starting a business has been made easier. The measures introduced through public administration reform include the so-called regulatory guillotine, which helped to reduce the number of regulations, permits and licenses. Significant improvements in the central registry of legal entities were made, such as on-line registration of companies, unified submission of documents for tax and registration purposes, etc. The number of government services available online is constantly increasing. The modified Law on Spatial Development aims to establish more efficient procedures for issuing construction permits. In 2014 and the first quarter of 2015, no significant new policy measures were adopted or announced. In the opinion of SME stakeholders, a sound strategic approach to modifying existing legislation is needed. Currently, modifications are seen as being undertaken too frequently and without sufficiently taking into account the costs which businesses have to bear to adapt to these changes SBA Fact Sheet Montenegro 6

7 3.4 State aid & public procurement There is no data available for Montenegro for the indicators related to state aid & public procurement. It is thus not possible to draw any corresponding conclusions on Montenegrin performance on this principle. Policy wise, the public procurement portal has been online since The law on public procurement allows tenders to be cut into smaller lots, but it seems that this option is not often used. The law on late payments was adopted in 2014, regulating the deadlines for payments in commercial transactions between public sector and companies (normally 30 days, but in special cases and subject to mutual agreement 60 days) as well as between the companies themselves (which follow the same approach, but with the option to exceptionally agree on a deadline of 90 days). 3.5 Access to finance Rejected loan applications and unacceptable loan offers (percentage of loan applications by SMEs); 2014; Montenegro: 12.35; EU avg: Access to public financial support including guarantees (percentage of respondents that indicated a deterioration); 2014; Montenegro: 9.01; EU avg: Willingness of banks to provide a loan (percentage of respondents that indicated a deterioration); 2014; Montenegro: 8.21; EU avg: Strength of legal rights index (0-12); 2015; Montenegro: 12; EU avg: 5.75 The performance on the principle access to finance, under which the data for Montenegro is not available for four corresponding indicators, is above the EU average. In comparison to the previous year, less respondents indicated a deterioration in access to public financial support including guarantees (9 % in 2014 while 27 % in 2013). This was also the case for willingness of banks to provide loans, regarding which 8 % indicated deterioration in 2014, compared to 17 % in In contrast, there were more rejected loan applications and unacceptable loan offers in 2014 (about 12 %) than in 2013 (about 7 %). This may be partly due to the high collaterals requested by the banks. Overall, SMEs face a challenging situation in terms of access to finance. The key policy measure introduced over the past years included setting up the Investment and Development Fund of Montenegro (IDF). It offers financial assistance to SMEs through several credit lines (e.g. for direct financing of investment projects, short-term funding, support aimed at young entrepreneurs, etc.) and also provides factoring facilities. Some of these actions are carried out in cooperation with banks. However, the interest rates in both the traditional banking system and in the microfinance lending facilities in Montenegro generally remain higher than in the neighbouring countries. Incentives such as interest rate subsidies are not available. Business angels' funding and venture capital funding are practically non-existent. Loans arising from the few microfinance lending facilities are scarce and expensive. Government financing schemes need to be strengthened, and support provided to SMEs to increase their absorption capacity SBA Fact Sheet Montenegro 7

8 3.6 Single market As Montenegro is not an EU Member State, no relevant comparable data can be retrieved regarding the single market. In terms of policy measures related to the EU single market, it is worth mentioning the support provided to Montenegrin SMEs regarding standardisation. This provides new opportunities for increasing exports to the European markets. 3.7 Skills & innovation There is no data available for Montenegro for the indicators related to skills & innovation. It is thus not possible to draw any corresponding conclusions on Montenegrin performance on this principle. In previous years, the government adopted the strategy for science and research and the strategic plan for establishment of the science and technology park. Voucher support schemes for SMEs were implemented, with limited financial resources. In 2014, under the multiannual programme aiming to support cluster development, there were three public calls for privately owned SMEs, members of the clusters, for financial assistance to cover the costs of production equipment. The 'Innovation-Entrepreneurial Centre Tehnopolis' and the Centre of Excellence in Bioinformatics (BIO-ICT) were opened. The BIO-ICT is an interdisciplinary research centre, incorporating ICT solutions developed in Montenegro. Further innovation support services for SMEs could be introduced, including enhanced support measures for the high-growth companies. A coherent innovation strategy has not yet been adopted. 3.8 Environment Percentage of SMEs that have taken resource-efficiency measures; 2013; Montenegro: 86; EU avg: 95 Percentage of SMEs that have benefited from public support measures for their resource-efficiency actions; 2013; Montenegro: 47; EU avg: 35 Percentage of SMEs that offer green products or services; 2013; Montenegro: 40; EU avg: 26 Percentage of SMEs with a turnover share of more than 50% generated by green products or services; 2013; Montenegro: 28; EU avg: 22 Percentage of SMEs that have benefited from public support measures for their production of green products; 2013; Montenegro: 0; EU avg: 26 The performance of Montenegro regarding environment is slightly above the EU average. Still, individual indicators point to diverging situations, and results need to be interpreted with caution. Nonetheless, it is notable that none of the SMEs benefitted from public support measures for their production of green products. In terms of policy measures introduced over the past years, there have been some initiatives supporting the implementation of energy saving production techniques or use of renewable energy sources, mainly through the EU funded projects and programmes. In 2014 and the first quarter of 2015, no significant new policy measures were adopted or announced SBA Fact Sheet Montenegro 8

9 3.9 Internationalisation Cost required to import (in USD); 2015; Montenegro: 985; EU avg: Time required to import (in days); 2015; Montenegro: 14; EU avg: Number of documents required to import; 2015; Montenegro: 5; EU avg: 4.64 Cost required to export (in USD); 2015; Montenegro: 985; EU avg: Time required to export (in days); 2015; Montenegro: 14; EU avg: Number of documents required to export; 2015; Montenegro: 6; EU avg: 4.14 Regarding the principle internationalisation, the Montenegrin performance is close to the EU average. One specific indicator, i.e. the number of documents required to export (6 in Montenegro against 4 in average in the EU) stands out. Compared to EU companies, it takes roughly 3 more days for Montenegrin companies to either export or import. However, the cost to either export or import is slightly lower than in the EU. Since 2013, no change has been observed on any of these indicators. Over the past years, a basic framework has been set up to help SMEs to expand internationally. The Enterprise Europe Network, partnering with the Directorate for Development of SMEs, the Mechanical Engineering Faculty, the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Start-up Centre from Bar is an example of this supporting environment. The Directorate for Development of SMEs also created the Competitiveness and Export Promotion Department, as well as the Trade Information Centre. In 2014 and the first quarter of 2015, no significant new policy measures were adopted or announced. The financial support available for export activities remains quite limited. Strengthening export capabilities will be indispensable for further growth, and this requires additional public resources allocated to it, with various business sectors taken into account SBA Fact Sheet Montenegro 9

10 4. Interesting new initiative Below is an example of a new initiative from Montenegro to show what governments can do to support SMEs. 'Innovation-Entrepreneurial Centre Tehnopolis' The 'Innovation-Entrepreneurial Centre Tehnopolis' was envisaged in the strategic plan for establishing the science and technology park, adopted by the government in Tehnopolis was opened in 2014, aiming to build a bridge between research community and industry. It aims to enhance innovations, promote SME competitiveness, support start-ups and stimulate the culture of innovation. This initiative is led by the Ministry of Science in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Investment and Development Fund, the Directorate for Public Works and the municipality of Nikšić. The government, being the founder of Tehnopolis, provided the building and the corresponding land. Tehnopolis will eventually cover an area of m2 and contain offices for up to 20 SMEs, a conference room, a congress centre and facilities for bio-chemistry, industrial design and ICT data centre. References: SBA Fact Sheet Montenegro 10

11 Important remarks The European Commission Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) produces the SBA fact sheets as part of the SME Performance Review (SPR), its main vehicle for economic analysis of SME issues. They combine the latest available statistical and policy information for the 28 EU Member States and 7 non-eu countries that also contribute to the COSME programme. Produced annually, they help to organise the available information to facilitate SME policy assessments and monitor SBA implementation. They take stock and record progress. They are not an assessment of Member State policies. Rather, they should be regarded as an additional source of information to improve evidence-based policy-making. For example, they cite only policy measures national SME policy experts consider relevant. They do not and cannot reflect all measures the government has taken over the reference period. There is more policy information on a database accessible from the SPR website. SME Performance Review: Small Business Act: European Small Business Portal: Endnotes 1 The 2015 SBA fact sheets benefited substantially from input from the European Commission s Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra, Italy. The JRC made major improvements to the methodological approach, statistical work on the dataset and the visual presentation of the data. 2 The quadrant chart combines two sets of information. Firstly, it shows current performance based on data for the latest available years. This information is plotted along the X-axis measured in standard deviations of the simple, non-weighted arithmetical average for the EU-28. Secondly, it shows progress over time, i.e. the average annual growth rates from 2008 to These are measured against the individual indicators which make up the SBA area averages. Hence, the location of a particular SBA area average in any of the four quadrants provides information not only about where the country is located in this SBA area relative to the EU average at a given point in time, but also about the extent of progress made between 2008 and All SBA principles, with the exception of the think small first principle for which there is not enough statistical data available, are calculated as composite indicators following the OECD/JRC Handbook guide. For more information on the methodology see Saisana and Dominquez-Torreiro 2015 on the webpage of the SME Performance Review: 3 The policy measures presented in this SBA fact sheet are only a selection of the measures the government took in 2014 and the first quarter of The national SME policy expert that CARSA Spain (DG GROW s lead contractor for the 2015 SBA fact sheets) contracted made the selection. The experts were asked to select only the measures they considered the most important, i.e. the ones expected to have the highest impact in the SBA area in question. The complete range of measures the experts compiled in producing this year s fact sheets will be published alongside the fact sheets in the form of a policy database on the DG GROW website SBA Fact Sheet Montenegro 11

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