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The President of the Republic opened a conference of the Äripäev newspaper

President Arnold Rüütel today in Tallinn opened the Estonian Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Conference or the Gasell-Conference organised by the Äripäev newspaper.

In his opening address the President of the Republic noted that although due to several reasons the development of Estonian economy lagged behind the Northern and Western European economies, we should take it more as an opportunity rather than a problem. "We have a chance to make a leap forward in our development investing into new-generation technology. We can learn through the experience of others and do better ourselves," President Rüütel said.

The President of the Republic recognised that small and medium-sized enterprises have an important role in the enhancement of the wellbeing of people. "Economy should be like a willow rod, which bends when pressure is applied but does not break. The small and medium-sized enterprises are the fibres, which make that rod strong and flexible," the President of the Republic said. "In the countryside and in small towns the viability is determined just by such enterprises. Often, small enterprises are family businesses, where children learn their habits of work and entrepreneurial ability from their parents," the head of state added.

According to President Rüütel, the resources used for administrative purposes - knowledge, money as well as time - have thus far earned relatively small attention as obstacles of entrepreneurship, and that affects most of all small enterprises.

The head of state noted that another main obstacle to start your own business is fear to fail, as even if the entrepreneur had not violated any laws, the word "bankruptcy" always affects one's reputation. President Rüütel also referred to an understanding prevalent in the United States of America that any good idea should be realised and a failure of some business ideas is a normal phenomenon in economic activities.

"For Estonians, a wish to be your own master is one of the incentives to establish your own business. But would the sentiment of being your own master outweigh the concurrent uncertainty and responsibility? You yourselves, honourable entrepreneurs, can give the best answer to this. In your work you need many different abilities and skills. How to find ideas, knowledge, workforce, money and markets in order to survive and develop - maybe today's conference will give you some support," the President of the Republic added and wished the participants of the conference new ideas and new energy to struggle on.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, January 26, 2005

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