n this study the authors analyzed the problems associated with organizing private business and startup project appraisal for public and private funding. The relevance of the study is determined by the need to search for new forms of interaction between the state and private business under the conditions of the digitalization of the economy, market transformation and other changes, including adaptation to work in a pandemic. The aim of the study is to eliminate a shortage of effective algorithms for making decisions to start a business, taking into account the current stage of entrepreneurship development, as well as a lack of precise practical recommendations in using the methods of express assessment for small and medium-sized business projects. The authors performed a brief overview of the existing methods of making investment decisions, including the UNIDO methodology, revealed the necessity of adaptation of existing methods to the small business peculiarities and proposed methods of such adaptation. The authors analyzed the results of the competitive selection of the best business projects carried out by a group of experts in the Kaliningrad region. The authors considered the other example of approbation of the proposed methods: in the field of development and testing of express analysis methods adapted for programs to promote self-employment of the population in St. Petersburg. The research results contain novelty and practical value and include: the precise decision-making algorithm to create a business, taking into account the specifics of the current stage of entrepreneurship development; the author’s method of express assessment of small and medium-sized businesses creation projects, some aspects of which were worked out in two different directions. Further research should be about the development of methodological solutions in the express assessment of projects for organizing a business and their testing on real projects. The studies will be aimed at undeveloped areas of the economy and various ways of starting a business: from creating an enterprise from scratch to buying a ready-made business and acquiring a franchise.