Attitudes of Lithuanians towards entrepreneurs – value hard work, neglect the importance of innovation

Lithuanians associate an entrepreneur more with positive features and input to the economic wellbeing of the country, than with negative. Lithuanians see entrepreneurs more as hard working (38%), risk taking (35%) and less as cheating (13%) or selfish (11%). As well the majority of Lithuanians (74%) see entrepreneurs and businesses as creators of economic growth in the country. However, Lithuanians tend to give less credit for innovation and creation as important features of entrepreneurs’ work.
These are survey results, which was initiated and conducted by Lithuanian Free Market Institute in collaboration with foreign partners in four countries – Lithuania, Georgia, Bulgaria and Kyrgyzstan. Experts in sociology, history and psychology were brought in to evaluate the image.
„We can be glad, that the image of an entrepreneur  1Y0-A20 is quite positive in Lithuania. The negative image is not the first thing that comes to mind for Lithuanians, when they hear a word “entrepreneur”. However, there is a lot of room to spread the understanding about entrepreneurs and their role and importance for the society as a whole. As noted by experts who analyzed the results, we Lithuanians still hold a historical connection about entrepreneurs and hard work, whereas one of the most important and necessary elements of the activity of an entrepreneur – ingenuity, creativity and innovation – for Lithuanians is still not that important“ – says LFMI prezident Žilvinas Šilėnas.
The most common associations for Lithuanians, which arise when talking about entrepreneurs are status (39% of Lithuanians chose the answer), hard work (39%), luxury (32%), risk (31%). These are followed by creativity with 23%, ingenuity and innovation 21%. All these positive associations are ahead of the negative – corruption 20%, bankruptcy 15%, crime 9%. Yet, these are ahead of charity 10%.
The positive trend was confirmed by another survey question as well. When, asked to evaluate three main traits of a contemporary entrepreneur, Lithuanians chose only positive traits for the top five: hard working (38% of Lithuanians chose), risk taker (35%), forward looking (33%), providing, giving (28%), and responsible (27%). And only in the second five of the most popular traits, the negative traits of an entrepreneur show up: greedy (23%), exploiter (20%), cheating (13%), corrupt (12%) and selfish (11%). However, in the second five there is one positive trait – creative and ingenious (18%).
According to Ž. Šilėnas, on the one hand, our society holds a firm 1Y0-A21 association between entrepreneur and hard work, risk, which they take; on the other hand there are strong association between business and higher social status and luxury. Results in other participant countries – Bulgaria, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan – reveled similar trends, which confirm a more positive view of entrepreneurs.
A third of Lithuanians trust entrepreneurs
Almost a third of people (31%) in Lithuania, trust entrepreneurs, whereas in Bulgaria only on fifth (19%). However, in Georgia and Kyrgyzstan holds the highest trust rate out of the four countries – almost a half of population trust entrepreneurs. The research has also shown, that in Lithuanian as well as in other countries, the large part of population, while evaluating if they trust or not entrepreneurs stay neutral. Neutral position was held by 26% of people in Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, 33% in Bulgaria.  In Lithuania this part was the largest – 38%.
“Almost 40% of Lithuanians hold a neutral attitude towards entrepreneurs and this situation as shown by the research is constant for many years. Namely these people without an opinion are the big grey area. I think, this is a perfect environment for creation of different kind of myths about entrepreneurs and business – be it positive or negative” – Lithuanian survey results assed by market research firm “Spinter tyrimai” CEO Ignas Zokas.
Lithuanian opinion about entrepreneurs is formed by media
The results of the research are showing a large influence by the media on the attitude towards entrepreneurs – 61% of respondents’ state that from all external factors, media plays the main role. Quite a substantial part in creating an opinion about entrepreneurs is played by friends (36%), family (27%) and government officials and politicians (24%).
„When comparing Lithuania to other research participant countries, it is immediately noticeable, that only in Lithuania, media has such an influence on the opinion of the population: Lithuanians almost twice as more often, than other participator country respondents, were prone to saying, that media has a big influence for them. In Bulgaria and Kyrgyzstan this answer was chosen by 32% and 28%, where as in Georgia only by 18%“, – says Ž. Šilėnas.
Three out of four Lithuanians claim that, the engine of an economy is business
Majority (74%) of Lithuanian population think that economic growth is created by entrepreneurs and business. In Bulgaria, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan only 50% of population see entrepreneur efforts as the main source of economic growth.
The researched has also showed, that government role in creating economic growth, all participants see similarly. In Bulgaria as well as in Lithuania around a quarter of respondents thought that the government is the source of economic growth. There were slightly more people who think that the government is the source of economic growth in Kyrgyzstan (30%) and Georgia (34%).
Lower taxes would encourage business creation
When asked, what measure, residents believe, would mostly help to encourage entrepreneurship in Lithuania, the majority of them (62%) said lower taxes and less regulation by the government would help. Also a large share of population (45%) thinks that a larger government effort would help. It was less common among answers: a better public opinion (14%), better conditions for getting a loan (12%) and better education (12%).
A large share of population in Bulgaria, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan also think that lower taxes and less government regulation would help entrepreneurs. This ranged between 39% in Bulgaria to 50% in Georgia. 56% of Kyrgyz, 55% of Georgians and 24% of Bulgarians though that business needs more help from the state.
The research of the image of an entrepreneur in the post-communist countries, which seeks to evaluate the image and with the help from historians, sociologists, religion experts, anthropologists find the reasons for such image, is a part of an international project. The project was made possible throught the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The project is implemented by LFMI with partners – Institute for Market Economics (Bulgaria), Central Asian Free Market Institute (Kyrgyzstan) and New School of Economics School.