The SME sector is considered to be the most flexible, efficient, progressive, innovative and therefore the most important element of the economy in developed economies. For this reason, the countries of the European Union, as well as other developed countries of the world, pay maximum attention to the state of small and medium-sized enterprises and continuously take measures for their development. In the case of the Slovak Republic, the development of small and medium-sized enterprises is also defined as one of the priorities for the further economic development of the country.
The role of small and medium-sized enterprises in regional development is strongly influenced by and directly proportional to the level and stability of the overall business environment, which in Slovakia still does not correspond to the average values of the market environment of the European Union. Like other areas of social life in Slovakia, the business environment has undergone fundamental changes over the past 20 years. However, Slovakia’s problem is the long-term absence of a systemic approach aimed at continuous improvement of conditions for entrepreneurship. After joining the EU, Slovakia has been dynamically approaching the economic level of the original EU members. Unfortunately, this process has slowed down considerably in recent years, or it can be said that catching up with the most advanced countries of Western Europe has stopped.
Since the end of the financial and economic crisis, small and medium-sized enterprises in Slovakia have benefited mainly from advancing globalisation, changes in economic policies and the rapid development of the world economy. Despite the adoption of a number of partial support measures with the intention of improving the business environment, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in Slovakia themselves perceive a deterioration of business conditions in recent years. Decreasing competitiveness of Slovak SMEs is mainly caused by instability and ambiguity of laws, high tax and levy burden on business (it is about a quarter of the price of labour, which is the highest among the V4 countries), increasing administrative costs, lack of skilled labour and its price, or corruption. The situation is also complicated by a stagnant education system with no reflection on the current needs of the labour market.
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