Final video conference – INBETS project

After nearly four years of working together on making business transfers easier and more successful for SMEs, the INBETS project came to a close with its final conference. On March 19th, 2021, the INBETS Final Conference was held online on Zoom. The conference, which had been planned to be held in Hamburg in person, was instead held online, managing to bring over seventy people from across Europe came together to listen to a great variety of different presentations and to have discussions about the different topics afterwards.

After a few welcoming words by the organiser of the conference, Dr Max Hogeforster from the Baltic Sea Academy, the conference was kicked off by two informative and inspirational welcome talks by Lucyna Kaminsk, a policy officer working at the European Commission and Tomas Urban from the Ministry of Economy in Lithuania. Particularly enthusiastic support received Anders Nystedt from thew Grönlunds Plåt AB (Sweden) who presented a first-person account of what it means to go through a business transfer. Mr Nystedt’s talk was followed by presentations on the importance of international cooperation for the topic of business transfers (Maxim Balanev, Russia), a brief introduction to the business transfer- and financing models which had been developed over the course of the project (Svea Horn, Germany).

Another great achievement of the INBETS project is the comprehensive website which has all the results and a lot of useful information for both SMEs and those seeking to help SMEs with business transfers. The website was presented by Harpa Dögg Fridudottir (Denmark) and was followed by a talk on the need for training for future entrepreneurs and successors (Gintarė Pauliuščenkaitė, Lithuania). Afterwards, Max Hogeforster (Germany) gave a talk on the developed political strategies that can be employed across Europe to build better support networks and ecosystems for SMEs wishing to go through a business transfer.

The second half of the conference served to get a deeper understanding of the different actions who were targeted as part of the INBETS project: female successors (Anita Richert-Kaźmierska, Poland), employees as successors (Kari Lilja, Finland), immigrants as successors (Uwe Schaumann, Germany) and returning workforce as successors (Piret Potisepp, Estonia). Following this great variety of topics and different inputs, the conference participants were split up into three groups for break out sessions, during which the different aspects of business transfers were enthusiastically discussed.

Overall, the conference received great feedback by all participants and was seen as a suitable ending to a very successful project and a good substitute for the planned in-person conference. The avid conference participants reflected the great interest in European, cross-border cooperation on important issues such as business transfers and showcased the strong relationship between the partners who managed to pull off such a successful project despite the aggravated circumstances caused by the corona pandemic in the last year of the project.