First international exhibition "Small and Medium Business - the Imperative of the Time" comes to an end in Moscow on Friday

The first international exhibition "Small and Medium Business - the Imperative of the Time" has come to an end in Moscow this Friday. As the forum's organising committee has told RIA Novosti, during the holding of the exhibition its participants discussed the issues of the development of small and medium business in Russia.

According to information of the forum's organisers, as of early 2002 there were 5,601,900 registered small businesses in Russia, including 4,496,800 unincorporated entrepreneurs, 843,000 small enterprises, and 262,100 farms.

As it was stressed at the forum, which began its work on Monday, December 9, the number of people employed by small businesses, including all categories of employees, totalled 7.4 million by the results of 2001.

Taking into account individual entrepreneurs whose number reached 4.5 million by the beginning of this year, according to data of the Russian Tax Ministry, the total number of people employed in the small business sector equals 11.9 million or about 16.7 percent of the economically active population.

At the same time, as was stressed at the exhibition, despite the trend towards the growth in the volume of production, goods and services observed in the past two years at small businesses, their contribution to the gross domestic product does not exceed 11 percent. Apart from that, the high share of the so-called shadow sector continues to be a distinctive feature of small business in Russia. This share, according to expert estimates, ranges from 30 to 50 percent.

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