Ernst & Young

Entrepreneurship In the Focus Oof EY

This February saw company EY (Ernst & Young) enter the final phase of its activities in Serbia when it comes to promoting the importance of entrepreneurship. The company has been implementing the global EY Entrepreneur of the Year programme successfully in our country for over a decade, with this programme having existed at the global level for over 30 years. Over 300 local entrepreneurs have cooperated with the company during this time, with the best of them representing this branch of the economy at the world finals that are held annually in Monte Carlo

We have spent the previous years dedicating ourselves to understanding the conditions that exist for SMEs to do business in Serbia, as well as to researching the leading lights among entrepreneurial stories. The economic picture changes over time, keeping pace with changes to technology, the popularity of industries, ways of doing business and market needs. These changes are sometimes so slight that they are barely detectable, yet almost the entire picture changes after a certain number of years. It is therefore important to have data that, when analysed, can indicate distinct differences from year to year.

This is one of the tasks of the EY Entrepreneurship Barometer survey, which the team at auditing and consulting company EY Serbia has been conducting for the last eight years consecutively. Almost 300 entrepreneurs have to date undergone preparations for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year programme, while a much larger number of representatives of this section of the economy have participated in surveys and are thus in a position to clearly represent entrepreneurs in Serbia today. The insights that we have the privilege of gaining through this project point each year to the variable nature of global and market influences that impact their companies’ operations. As such, in the latest study describing the stances of 100 owners of fast-growing and stable SMEs in Serbia, we can notice that inflation had the greatest impact on their companies’ operations in 2023, with more than half of responding entrepreneurs agreeing that inflation shook their operations during the previous year. Their fears do not end there, however, with over 90% of respondents saying that their financial stability will take a significant hit if inflation remains at the same or a similar level this year.

In the latest study describing the stances of more than 100 owners of fast-growing and stable SMEs in Serbia, we can notice that inflation had the greatest impact on their companies’ operations in 2023, with more than half of responding entrepreneurs agreeing that inflation shook their operations during the previous year

Year after year, information about the operations of entrepreneurs that is stored and analysed within the scope of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year programme, and presented in the form of the EY Entrepreneurship Barometer study, reveals and presents to the public the entrepreneurial scene and changes that are spotted over time. Nonetheless, although we are talking about changes, there is one piece of data that remains ironically consistent: specifically, the fact that more than 70% of respondents invest in the development of their operations using their own funds exclusively. Over the course of eight years of research, this information has been repeated and illustrates an environment in which SME owners are reluctant to invest using borrowed funds.

At the height of the national competition of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year programme, we take the opportunity to focus not only on the most successful entrepreneurial stories, but also on the views of entrepreneurs that additionally testify to employment, the active application of artificial intelligence, financing, inheritance, as well as the general eco-climate for the operations of SMEs in the Republic of Serbia.

The latest edition of the EY Entrepreneurship barometer was published in the last week of February, when we also announced the EY Entrepreneur of the Year in Serbia.

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