June 17, 2020 – Will entrepreneurs finally have a decisive influence on the election results?
It is only a few weeks until the new parliamentary elections. UGP’s attitude was clear. We thought that, just like most entrepreneurs, elections were scheduled too early. Political structures were focused on them, not at solving one of the world’s largest health and economic crisis. We are afraid that politicians again looked only at their interests and calculated what’s most cost-effective for them, instead of demonstrating state potential and solving general social importance issues, for which they received a mandate and for which they are paid.
We have already written about who entrepreneurs are (especially small, micro, and medium-sized ones), and we were also interested in what actions motivated them.
Given the massive influence through the media, both among the general population and among entrepreneurs, who significantly homogenized, we investigated their attitude to politics and elections through several surveys. Many of the data (as we will see) indicate that entrepreneurs (especially micro, small and medium-sized, and self-employed and small business owners, most of whom are in UGP) are awaking as a group. They are becoming more aware of their untapped potential, which is starting to focalize for the overall well-being of society.
First, it would be nice to note the perception of under what conditions, or better, in what “climate” do Croatian entrepreneurs work? To the question – What is the extent of (anti-)entrepreneurial climate in Croatia? We got these answers: almost 90% believe that the climate in Croatia is anti-entrepreneurial and that entrepreneurs are being harassed and discouraged. This number is supported by nearly 8% who think that the climate is somewhat anti-entrepreneurial and makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to work. It is worth noting that no one believed that the climate in Croatia is good for entrepreneurs.
Given this situation, a logical question arises: What do entrepreneurs plan to do to change this? Of course, there are many options, one of which is registering with UGP, which many have used. We were interested in direct action in the upcoming elections, so we asked them: Will you give preferential votes to listed entrepreneurs in the forthcoming elections? The answers were pretty clear: 84% said they would vote for entrepreneurs who are on the lists. Only 7% said that it did not matter to them, and highly interestingly, only 2.6% said that they would not go to the polls.
This information is exciting because there were only a few entrepreneurs in the last convocation of the Parliament, and that there is a need to improve the representation of business interests. Also, such information can lead to a preponderance both in the formation of the lists of individual parties and coalitions, if they want to maximize the votes of their voters.
This motivation was additionally confirmed with the question: For whom, in your opinion, is it essential to be in the new convocation of the Parliament? More than 41% of entrepreneurs said they believe that an entrepreneur should be in Parliament, while options such as doctors, academics, or musicians did not get too many votes. Almost 40% of people said that specialists should be in Parliament and another 13% only that it would be enough if they were righteous, no matter who they are.
Of course, desires are one thing, and what someone is willing to do another. The relationship between attitude and behavior is not always as simple as one would think. So far, there are also very few entrepreneurs who actively participated in politics and took higher positions. Given the desire for better representation and willingness to vote for entrepreneurs, we asked them – Are you ready to appear on the electoral lists of any party? More than 46% gave the expected answer – No, not getting close to politics. There is 37% of those who understand and appreciate the effort of those who went on this adventure saying: I am not, but I support those who dare to enter the political arena. And very interestingly, I believe more than ever – up to 13% of respondents said that they are considering this option or that they would be politically activated if they find the right choice.
According to information that UGP has, there has already been a shift in the number of active entrepreneurs that will be found on the lists of parties across the political spectrum. Opportunities are being created, and the potential for change and the goal defined by UGP as Croatia 2.0 is growing. We asked our members for even better results: What else would motivate you to go to the polls? The responses correspond to information from previous surveys. More than 33% say that they go to the polls regularly, and another 30% say that this time they are participating for sure, even if that wasn’t the case before. About 25% report that they are motivated by the party’s support for UGP requirements. As a reminder, UGP Pledge was sent to all major parties, having received the answers and support from almost all of them except HDZ (no response) and SDP (they agree only with some requirements). Another 5% say that they would like to see more entrepreneurs on the electoral lists and that, in this way, different parties can motivate them.
Of course, even though UGP has repeatedly stated that it does not want to enter politics or engage as a party, it follows both the campaign promises and the statements of all active stakeholders. In election time, as they have every time so far, the parties have flippantly started pouncing on various figures and plans, such as the number of new jobs, or an increase in the minimum wage. That only showed that they are not interested, nor do they understand the economic context, but rather are trying to collect the cheapest political points. How many of them can be obtained from entrepreneurs, we checked with these questions: Do you think that the current governing coalition has fulfilled all its (old) campaign promises? The answers are clear, more than 90% believe they didn’t fulfill anything, and only 5% favorably say they completed as much as they could. More than 2% hold that someone who dares to make such statements should be immediately disqualified from further discussion.
Entrepreneurial memory goes back four years and shows evident dissatisfaction with the current leadership of the state. But we also wanted to see how much they trust the new promises of the currently opposed parties, which are not far behind the well-known rhetoric. We asked another question: How much do you think the Restart coalition (SDP and others) will fulfill their campaign promises? The answers are similar, as in the previous question: almost 75% say that those are all empty stories. Another 16% have a good memory and says that they had their opportunity and haven’t used it. And only 4% think they can make a difference.
And with that, the circle is closed. More than 90% of entrepreneurs do not believe in either the governing or the opposition party. On the other hand, so far, they have been quite active in voting. With the pressure from a crisis and struggle for survival, they are even more motivated, including those who have remained passive until now, who will go to the polls this time. The motive, in addition to the short-term catastrophic situation, is the medium-term goal of changing the unbearable anti-entrepreneurial climate in the country, through changes requested by UGP directly and through its postulates. It’s time for more entrepreneurs to enter Parliament so their voice can be heard louder. The drive for more entrepreneurs follows a growing number of those who are willing to run, as well as creating a new level of awareness in the private sector that will increasingly value the entrepreneurs who enter politics and leave aside projects and firms to which they often have dedicated their entire lives. In this election, everyone will have an extra compass in mind with UGP Pledge and responses from all parties to our very logical and clear requirements that are needed to make changes for Croatia 2.0. If we want to escape from the rear end of Europe, the awakening of entrepreneurs, their connection, and collective political actions can and must be more powerful and decisive with each new election. After the parliamentary elections, where it will soon be seen who really supported the UGP requirements and who did so only on paper, come the equally important, if not, even more, local elections. There will be opportunities to reward and punish according to the merits promptly. In each case, one thing is clear: through the activities of the Glas Poduzetnika Association, entrepreneurs and their employees come together and concretize their views… The Force awakens.