The handing over of SMEs is a very complex, often multi-year process. The leaving owner and the successor need comprehensive support and process-accompanying consultations on a solid trust basis. This is best suited to SME business support organisations, in which the transferable company is often a member. The company received probably already support in other areas and a trustful relation exists.
Outstanding overall objective of the project is, therefore to facilitate successful business transfers, increase innovation and secure jobs through permanently strengthening the institutional capacity of existing business support organisations.
Target groups are:
Existing SME business support organisations (BSOs)
a) Primarily intermediaries like chambers, SME associations etc.
b) Complementary business-oriented institutions of higher vocational education and training (academies, colleges), who, in addition to their qualification
tasks assume the role of promoters of business transfers. These academies, which train entrepreneurs and already have cooperation with SMEs,
supplement BSOs in some regions, closing gaps in regional support. Actually, Partner 10, the Vocational Academy Hamburg, was established in 2005 by
three business chambers to focus on qualification of future entrepreneurs and successors.
The BSOs as well as the training facilities must escort the entire transfer process, ranging from early addressing/awareness rising, contact between owner and successor, assessment of company, consultations on transfer models, securing financing, etc.
In Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Finland some initial support for transfers is already available. In Estonia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Russia such support is largely not available as the BSOs focused on other tasks. However, as there is a rising number of retiring owners, there is a great need to buildup capacities.
In the future, the BSOs and respective training facilities must fullfil the following tasks:
a) support of SME business transfers.
b) train own staff to become transfer coaches
c) constant involvement in the further development and implementation of transfer models and tools
d) qualification of future entrepreneurs and successors
Missing tools, funding models and support programs for specific target groups are jointly developed and implemented within the transnational cooperation.
Subsequently, implementation is carried out at all partners, so that concrete promotion and consultations of SME business transfers is already taking place in all nine regions during the project period.
A further important aim is to ensure a high level of sustainability in order to secure the continuation of the work after project end. Therefore appropriate framework conditions, prerequisites and financing are created in all regions, which are bindingly concluded in written agreements with all partners involved.