Regulatory issues and assistance to businesses on the conflict line will top the agenda of a seminar focusing on small- and medium-sized businesses at the Knesset today.
"The main challenges of small- and medium-sized businesses revolve around regulatory issues including those relating to credit, value-added tax levies, and access to government tenders," said Shmuel Rozenman, chairman of the Israel Small and Medium Enterprises Authority. "The goal of the day is to stress the problems and advance the suitable solutions for the sector."
The Knesset will host seven different committee discussions today in an effort to lift the difficulties experienced by small- and medium-sized businesses, particularly those on the conflict line.
Among the issues up for discussion, the Knesset Finance Committee will debate bank and revolving credit available to the businesses and credit benefits available to businesses on the conflict line. The Economics Committee is scheduled to discuss their involvement in government tenders, while the committee for labor, welfare and health will discuss social conditions for the self-employed and the Education Committee will explore introducing entrepreneurship as a compulsory subject at high schools. The remaining three discussions will explore the entrepreneurial potential of immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, advancing women in various business sectors and easing the municipal tax burden.
The committee sessions will be followed by a panel discussion on the situation of small and medium enterprises in the Center and in conflict areas. Among those participating in the discussion will be stand-in Tax Authority director and former Finance Ministry director-general Yossi Bachar, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor director-general Gavriel Maimon, the small business Authority's Rozenman and Manufacturers Association of Israel President Shraga Brosh.
In light of the day's activities, Brosh called on the government to strengthen its operations in absorbing the research and development being carried out by small factories and to help improve the proposals by these factories for grants from the Chief Scientist. The Manufacturers Association reported that these factories' R&D expense make up on average 3.1% of the total.
Small- to medium-sized factories made up 13% of industrial exports selling $3.8 billion worth abroad in 2006 while they make up 26% of total proceeds in industry, it said.