Relevance of the research: In economics, a variety of approaches are used to study local entrepreneurial ecosystems from statistical methods to network analysis, which allow to quantify the scale of a phenomenon or the magnitude of the potential effect. In the case when it is necessary to determine the key causes and factors of the process under study, the methodological tools of the scientist can be expanded through the methods of sociological survey of entrepreneurship. The results of the presented work will allow not only to expand the methodological apparatus of researchers of local SME ecosystems, but also to develop proposals for improving the effectiveness of state support measures for entrepreneurship in the regions of Russia. The aim of the study is to reveal the possibilities of using different methods to study entrepreneurship at the local level, as well as to analyze and generalize Russian and foreign experience in studying entrepreneurship. Research methods and methodology: comparative analysis, system analysis, qualitative analysis, historical and economic analysis. Scientific novelty is the author's classification of possible sociological approaches to the study of SMEs within local entrepreneurial ecosystems, as well as systematization of Russian and international empirical studies of entrepreneurship at the local level and identification of factors that stimulate business development. Results: Sociological methods, namely in-depth interviews, allow us to explore key causal relationships and offer new research hypotheses that can be further evaluated using statistical analysis methods. Achieving sustainable socio-economic development of the region will be facilitated by the implementation of targeted programs to support SMEs, taking into account regional institutional conditions and the specifics of the development of local entrepreneurial ecosystems. The key factors for the development of SMEs are the high volatility of markets, which motivates the development of new ideas for business, the availability of physical and commercial infrastructure. High risks for SMEs are associated with insufficient functional coordination of power structures, the lack of dialogue between business and government, the quality of government support measures implemented and business financing mechanisms. For start-up young entrepreneurs (under 30), the main barriers are the lack of start-up capital and the necessary business competencies, the lack of a business idea, and high taxes.