Striving to Thrive Part 2: Czech MSEs in 2023

In partnership with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth program - Strive Czechia - this 2nd edition report delves deeper into technology, gender, MSE perception, and more.




family owned


aged 18-34

Whilst big business often grabs the headlines, one thing is true the world over: no economy succeeds without a thriving small business sector. Micro and small businesses (MSEs) are arguably the backbone of any economy. They contribute to job creation, economic growth, and innovation. They also create the local shopping centers and meeting points that not only support a more prosperous economy, but also contribute to healthier local communities.

In November 2022, Strive Czechia, a $5.5 million new initiative supported by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth launched, bolstering the digital and financial resilience of 250,000 small businesses – particularly female business owners and those from minority ethnic backgrounds. We collaborated on the Barometer in 2022 – this report is the second edition which builds and delves deeper into previous research.

This report looks at some of the key issues affecting Czechia’s small businesses. Many ambitious entrepreneurs, young and old, are championing smaller-scale enterprises, valuing the autonomy and creativity that running such a business often brings. However the journey for Czech small business entrepreneurs is not without its hurdles.

MSEs face significant structural challenges, from problems with digitalisation to access to financing. Addressing these issues requires the action of actors and organisations not just from within the MSE community, but also from governments, civil institutions and other supporting bodies. These external actors are critical in unlocking the full potential of Czech small businesses, to bolster the country’s domestic prosperity, economic inclusivity and social integration.

Key insights from Czech MSEs

  1. A majority of Czech MSE owners would not recommend running a small business.

We asked entrepreneurs if they would recommend running an MSE. Using a tool called the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which provides a gauge of satisfaction, Czech MSE owners give a low score of -23.6.

2. Word of mouth is the main driver of technological adoption.

More than half of business owners rely on friends or family as their main source of ‘reliable’ information about digital technology.

3. Women-led MSEs are held back by the demands of their unpaid labour.

Difficulty in maintaining an appropriate work-life balance was identified by women as among their top three challenges in running a business (alongside lower earnings than men and lower confidence in their ability to succeed).

4. MSE owners are well regarded.

When we asked non-business owners to imagine themselves as an MSE owner, they suggested that they would gain a sizeable (21%) increase in their social status.

5. The technology “trust gap” may be the single biggest challenge to increasing digitalisation.

Fewer than half (47%) of MSE owners trust tech to assist them in making important business decisions and only a third trust it to keep sensitive information secure.

Download the full report
Czech MSEs: Part 2

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