ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUPPORT POLICY OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES – RESULTS OF RESEARCH IN SELECTED REGIONS OF BELARUS, FINLAND, LATVIA AND POLAND*
Keywords:Local authorities policy, entrepreneurship support, local and regional development.
One of the most important goals of local and regional economic policy is to help entrepreneurs develop in more effective way and encourage residents to start their own business. The purpose for it is a direct linkage between development of entrepreneurship and local and regional development. In this field self-governments belong to main stakeholders and perform their tasks by supporting entrepreneurship. The range of possible policies and programmes that can be undertaken is wide. Self-governments and other institutions that operate in business environment in regions develop their own strategy of actions, decide what instruments should be used, cooperate in order to achieve the best results etc. The necessity of performing tasks in the analyzed field is stressed also by European Union. The EU funds support not only fostering entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs (mainly small and medium – sized, SME) but also the institutions that give such a help to entrepreneurs.
The article presents some of the findings of the research conducted in 4 countries that examines the activities of self-government in supporting SME sector. The regions of Belarus, Finland, Latvia and Poland were chosen, in order to examine the strategy of local authorities in the countries representing member states of EU (both so called “old” and “new”) as well as a non-member state. The closing remarks include conclusions and advises that are the result of research conducted*.