"In all three Baltic states, know-how, ideas and savings are viewed as the three most crucial things for starting a new business. Estonians stand out the most in this research context by putting the greatest importance to know-how and ideas for the start of a business. And indeed these are the basis for starting a business, and the Estonian preference probably shows that the country places a stronger focus on a business education and training. Meanwhile, financing is not as important," says Andrius Ivašauskas, head of the Small Business Clients Department at DNB bank
Entrepreneurship is in our genes
The survey shows that the Baltic states are rather enterprising and as many as 4 in 5 residents, given an opportunity would build business of their own (80 percent of respondents in Lithuania and Latvia and 78 percent in Estonia).
Residents of Estonia believe start-up conditions to be the best in their country – as many as 57 percent think that the conditions are favorable or rather favorable. In Lithuania, the business environment is favored by 33 percent, and the percentage in Latvia is even lower – 26 percent.
"The image of the government also has an impact on the assessment of the business setting. Estonia's leaders have managed to convince the nation that the government is a partner in business creation, meanwhile governmental institutions in Lithuania and Latvia are viewed as obstacles that new businesses have to overcome. However, even this does not undermine our entrepreneurship. The survey shows that Lithuanians are rather moderate in their view of the business conditions, however, have a far better opinion than their neighbors about the entrepreneurship of other Lithuanians. We viewed our ability and willingness to create business, as well as to adapt to clients and market conditions in the best light. Also, Lithuanians favor the most those people who build their own business," Mr Ivašauskas said.
In Lithuania, 43 percent of respondents favor persons creating their own business, while in Latvia the percentage is 38 and in Estonia 37 percent.
Family business most attractive in Lithuania, IT – Estonia
Lithuanians, although slightly, but stand out among the other Baltic nations in their willingness to start a family business. This business model was the choice of 42 percent of respondents, while it was wanted by 37 percent and 36 percent of respondents in Latvia and Estonia, respectively.
"As compared with the neighboring countries, a bigger share of the Lithuanian population live in smaller towns, villages or districts, hence the greater desire to create family businesses rather than multi-million businesses. As a matter of fact, family businesses are more popular in all countries among older residents of smaller towns with lower income. Meanwhile, if we were to interview residents of capital cities only, there would be no difference among the Baltic states," Mr Ivašauskas noted.
The dream business is another difference across the Baltic states highlighted by the survey. In Lithuania, the dream business would be tourism and catering (15 percent) and trade (14 percent), while production is the priority in Latvia (14 percent), whereas respondents in Estonia were interested in IT more than their Baltic counterparts (12 percent), however, this field still ranks second after tourism, catering and trade (13 percent each).
Lithuanians and Estonians most willing to do business
In Mr Ivašauskas words, a parallel of dreams and actual work demonstrates the highest degree of determination in Lithuania and Estonia. Some 9 percent of respondents in Lithuania already have a business or specific plans to start one, while the percentage in Estonia was 8 percent and in Latvia 7 percent. Latvia's residents were the most passive about the possibility of starting a business, with as many as 65 percent of those polled not planning or not wanting to own a business.
Lithuania and Estonia also featured the most people planning to start a business but still unsure whether this would become reality (21 percent and 23 percent, respectively). Meanwhile, residents of Latvia are somewhat more moderate – 19 percent have plans but are not certain whether they would actually start one.
Latvians are also most likely to start a business in case of winning a million euros – 44 percent would invest in business. Lithuanians rank second in terms of business investments (39 percent), whereas Estonians are the least interested in business in case of jackpot victory (31 percent).
"We asked this question as a control question to find out who would start a business, if there is no financial necessity. Although Estonians are rather active on the practical level, answers to the question show that they view business more as a source of income, while Latvians see this as a way of life, if they didn't need to risk the quality of their life. Meanwhile, we, Lithuanians, are somewhere in between," Mr Ivašauskas said.
Nevertheless, the questioned revealed yet another interesting detail – in case of hitting the jackpot, the majority of Lithuanians (71 percent), Latvians (55 percent) and Estonians (63 percent) would invest in real estate.
Bright Portrait of Lithuania's Entrepreneurship
In Mr Ivašauskas' words, the survey draws a rather optimistic picture of not just the Baltic states but also Lithuania: as many as 80 per cent of Lithuanians would want to have a business and a large share are considering this possibility, furthermore, entrepreneurs in Lithuania have a quite good reputation. Additionally, the majority of respondents think that age, education and gender are insignificant, if the intentions to start a business are serious.
"In this light, we can say that Lithuania features an adequate environment for starting a business. This is indicated by the survey and other pre-conditions for business: nearly 40 percent of the country's citizens have a university degree, one in three residents speak at least two languages, we rank third in the EU in terms of Internet speed and have the cheapest mobile communications. We are an enterprising country, which is in a superb geographical location for business," Mr Ivašauskas concluded.
The survey for DNB bank was conducted by polling company Spinter Tyrimai (Spinter Surveys) on April 10-20 this year. Some 509 residents of Lithuania were interviewed by way of Computer Assisted Web Interview.
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