15. Czech Republic

This country profile reports current inclusive entrepreneurship policy issues and recent developments in the Czech Republic, including the COVID-19 response. It also presents recent trends in self-employment for women, youth, seniors and immigrants relative to the average for the European Union.

The framework conditions for entrepreneurship are generally favourable. However, the level of administrative burden on new start-ups remains high (bottom 5 countries in the European Union (EU)) and the cost of enforcing contracts is one of the highest among EU Member States. Moreover, as in many countries that moved to a market-based economy in 1989, social attitudes are, overall, less open to entrepreneurship than elsewhere in the EU. The government has a suite of actions to support the self-employment and entrepreneurs; however, inclusive entrepreneurship actions remain relatively under-developed. A small number of projects offer tailored training and coaching to women, youth and senior entrepreneurs, but most are very small schemes with a limited impact.

The self-employment rate remained steady over the past decade at about 16%, which was slightly above the EU average in 2020 (14%). Above-average self-employment rates were observed across most population groups, notably among immigrants (28% vs. 12%) and youth (11% vs. 7%) but also women (11% vs. 10%) and seniors (18% vs. 17%). Nonetheless, each of these groups is under-represented in self-employment. Eliminating these gaps (i.e. applying the self-employment rate of men who are 30-49 years old to the whole population), would result in about 110 000 additional entrepreneurs. These “missing” entrepreneurs are essentially all young females (aged 20-29 years old).

Several phases of COVID-19 support measures have been introduced to support entrepreneurs and the self-employed. These measures included financial support for rental costs, forgiveness of social insurance obligations (for employers), tax allowances, as well as monthly flat rate payments. Initial direct support measures (early 2020) offered the self-employed a daily compensation of CZK 500 (EUR 19) totalling to CZK 44 500 (EUR 1 660). By February 2021, compensation bonuses to the self-employed had increased to CZK 500 – CZK 1 000 (EUR 19 – EUR 28) per day. The third phase of support was significant as it introduced operating loans of up to CZK 45 million (EUR 1.7 million). As of March 2021, there have been 4 204 accepted applications with a total of around CZK 28.4 billion (EUR 1.1 billion) granted. Some sector-specific measures have also been introduced, including the COVID-Culture for the self-employed operating cultural and creative businesses (launched in August 2020), which was replaced by the COVID 2021 programme in April 2021.

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