A handover of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and change of ownership is a complex process. Many SMEs face a challenge when the business gets transferred due to various reasons. The observed tendency is that the failed business transfer causes more job loss than the creation of new jobs in start-ups. The failed business transfer implies also a loss of business running skills, market share, goodwill and more. This triggers the need in improving the conditions for business transfers and support of the potential successors. The observed situation is especially tricky for the eastern countries in the Baltic Sea region such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia. Most private companies established their businesses in the early 1990s, which means that the business transfer is in the near future. The focus of business support in those countries was to create new companies, supporting growth and maybe export – but so far not on transfer.
Such factors as lack of suitable successors, appropriate funding schemes, know-how deficits, lack of expertise and support from business organisations that could assist business transferees and successors have been identified. The understanding of these inefficiencies provides a framework for targeted measures that need to be taken to boost small businesses in their survival and prosperity.
The projects INBETS BSR wanted to strengthen the capacity of the existing SME business support organisations for business transfers and contribute to smoother business handover processes.
0.17MillionEni + Russia
Business transfer better understood
INBETS BSR initially developed a self-assessment tool that allows to evaluate suitability of an entrepreneur to take over a business, and introduced six innovative business transfer models. The models are foreseen for business support organisations that would need tailored assistance to the potential business successors. The targeted business support organisations were challenged by the project to embrace the entire transfer process, from the initial identification of the handover need, the dialogue between owner and successor, overall evaluation of a firm, consultations on transfer models and available funding schemes.
Transnational patterns and collaboration
Thanks to INBETS BSR, business support organisations and training facilities are now better equipped to support SMEs in their business transfers. For countries like Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland and Russia, these support structures were new. In other involved countries, such as Germany, Denmark, Finland and Sweden, the project improved the existing structures like some initial support for businesses. In any case, this is the first time for the region that a transnational exchange has taken place in the field of business transfers. The nine participating countries in the region shared best practices and created concrete solutions such as tools and trainings for SMEs and support organisations. Together, they have improved the qualifications of the transfer coaches and developed missing funding instruments. They also ran individual consultations with companies, in which the trained project partners prepared these companies for an upcoming change or accompanied them in an ongoing change.
Upscaling business transfer challenge to a political level
Besides, the project developed political support programs and shared them with decision-makers. The recommendations include specific actions to support “women-successors” and to support the inclusion of migrants as much as possible, but also guidelines when choosing existing employees as successors or specialists who have migrated abroad. These recommendations triggered lively exchange at the political level, for example at the strategic planning forum of the regions and cities of Russia in 2020 or during the project’s final conference in 2021.
Train the Trainer Program
04.12.2019As many as 43 Interreg Baltic Sea Region projects are working together with Russian partners, showcasing that the same cause unites people beyond borders. From innovating businesses to saving energy and improving mobility – Russian partners are active in all thematic fields of the Programme. But what do they actually do?Read full story
Baltic Sea Academy
- RepresentativeMax Hogeforster
Small Business Chamber
- RegionWarszawski zachodni
- RepresentativeAgnieszka Clarey
Vilnius Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts
- RegionVilniaus apskritis
- RepresentativeAiste Listvinaite
Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- RepresentativeLīga Ābola
Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ECCI)
- RepresentativePiret Potisepp
St. Petersburg Foundation for SME Development
- TownSt. Petersburg
- RegionCity of St. Petersburg
- CountryRussian Federation
- RepresentativeMaxim Balanev
Association of SMEs support centers of the Kaliningrad region
- RegionKaliningrad Oblast
- CountryRussian Federation
- RepresentativeElena Kabakova
Foundation Drivhuset Skaraborg
WITHDRAWAL (15/10/2018): International Business Academy
- RepresentativeHans Mikkelsen
Vocational Academy Hamburg
- RepresentativeJoachim von Kiedrowski
Gdańsk University of Technology
- RepresentativeMarzena Grzesiak
Vytautas Magnus University
- RegionKauno apskritis
- RepresentativeVytas Navickas
Satakunta University of Applied Sciences
- RepresentativeSirpa Sandelin
WITHDRAWAL (30/09/2019): University of Skövde
- RegionVästra Götalands län
- RepresentativeSusanne Durst
IBC International Business College