Mastercard Report: The state of Czech Micro and Small Enterprises, 2022
In November of 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 with Strive Czechia to run a study on MSEs in the Czech Republic: to understand their needs, hopes, fears and expectations. This study aimed to provide insights to government, corporate and civil society organisations aimed at helping small businesses thrive.
“At the moment, the company will not be expanding. First the company needs to make back its income from the COVID period, then it must take care of financial reserves, and only then can it think about expansion.”– Male owner of a small business
Small businesses are critical to the Czech economy: they account for 40% of the total revenue generated by Czech businesses and 49% of the labor force. Overall, we found that Czech MSEs report higher than average capacity to deal with economic shock, but also report a significant financing gap. Business size impacts performance, with micro and solopreneurs being relatively disadvantaged. Gender also plays an important role in determining the success of Czech enterprises: women-led businesses reported weaker business performance than their male-led counterparts.
From our barometer report, we found that nearly 3 in 5 businesses are convinced that digitalization is crucial for their future success. The pandemic brought into sharp focus the increasing importance of MSEs making the most of the digital economy and innovation. However, cost and experience are barriers to digitalisation.