Newsletter 4 – Education

Business transfers are difficult and SMEs are often not properly prepared to take this step. Thus, a vital part of the INBETS project is the (further) education and capacity building programme which aims to enable SME owners and potential successors to be equipped for a smooth and successful business transfer. Four of the partner countries (Denmark, Germany, Finland, and Sweden) already have strong capacities for the promotion and advice of SME transfers by business Support Organisations. However, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Russia are currently less equipped to support their SMEs with their transfers.

For this reason, the EU fosters international cooperation on this issue through the INBETS project which will help these five countries improve their support for their local SMEs. For instance, the more experiences countries can help with the development and coordination of plans to provide business transfer services more permanently. A continuous exchange between all partner countries can provide the five less experienced countries with precious knowledge that, in turn, can widen their capacity to support their local SMEs.

The aim of the INBETS project is to examine, further develop and design innovative and transferable models and tools for facilitating small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) business transfers, make them widely available and implement them in companies. A good way to do this is by strengthening the institutional capacities of existing business support organisations (BSOs) for successful business transfers by qualifying permanent staff of BSOs as transfer coaches. 

A particularly crucial part of the ongoing development of resources is the qualification of consultants for business transfer within the business support organisations, as well as the staff of other institutions who assist with the business transfer. For this purpose, a Train the Trainer programme has been developed, tested, evaluated, and finalised. The programme has been introduced to 18 colleges and universities from nine countries, which are involved as project or associated partners. This enables these higher education institutions to develop and implement the Train the Trainer programme so that qualified personnel will be available in all regions of the Baltic Sea Region to support business transfers continuously further.

The target groups of the Train the Trainer programme are teachers and lecturers from universities and colleges, chambers, training institutions, etc., who are involved in the training of entrepreneurs and, additionally, advisers to Chambers and other business development agencies involved in advising, coaching and promoting business transfers and start-ups. The main learning objective is to give these people the skills they need to become permanent qualified business transfer coaches.

The programmes will enable them to get an overview of the main topics of entrepreneurship education and to be able to assess which competences are necessary for the communication of this content. A requirement for the programme are already existing pedagogical skills and experience that will be refreshed and supplemented by the training on pedagogical issues of entrepreneurship education. By the end of the two-day training programme, the participants will be able to independently carry out training and coaching on the basis of the introduced curricula and teaching materials.

These newly trained participants can then pass on their knowledge to other colleagues and staff in their respective institutions who, in turn, can then assist SME owners and prospective buyers and entrepreneurs with their business transfers. The INBETS project will thus not only ensure improved support for SMEs in the Baltic Sea region, but will further contribute to Europe’s economic growth and will boost international cooperation in multiple areas.

The newsletter can be accessed as a pdf file here (it is also possible to click on the picture below to download the file)