A support tool for company transfers
Every year, many successful family businesses in Central European countries are liquidated because no suitable solution for succession can be found. Over the last three years, the Upper Austrian University of Applied Sciences, Campus Steyr, Global Sales and Marketing, and Business Upper Austria, together with project partners from Croatia, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, have developed support services designed to improve the process of company succession. The project results are now available: A toolbox for self-assessment, a matchmaking platform for succession support and many interesting videos on the topic at www.entertransfer.com.
Business transfers are an important topic for politics and business in Europe, as an increasing number of transfers take place every year - with economic and social consequences. As it becomes increasingly difficult to find suitable successors for smaller, family-run businesses, many successful SMEs have to close down every year. In Central and Eastern Europe in particular, this is also due to the fact that there is very limited experience with business transfers and that there are no strong state support mechanisms. In Austria, on the other hand, there are already some support offers in the field of business succession (e.g. WKO). In this way, the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria / Research Area Global Business Management, as the Upper Austrian partner in the EU project, was able to share experiences and in return gain international insights.
The aim of the project 'ENTER-transfer' was to promote economic and social innovations in order to facilitate company succession at national and transnational level and reduce the risk of "business exits". The EU project also aimed to draw the attention of the private and public sectors to the importance of the issue and to deepen the skills and knowledge of young (future) entrepreneurs. Therefore, numerous workshops were held with private and public institutions and schools. Particularly successful were the training sessions for business transfers, which were designed using the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method. Together with the participants, very interesting solutions for the respective business transfers were worked out, so that the goal of a successful handover of the company was playfully brought a big step closer (see pictures).
Detailed information on the "Transfer Toolbox"
The Transfer Toolbox is a web-based application designed to support business succession in family businesses. It informs the business owner about the most important aspects of the business succession process and enables him or her to evaluate individual aspects related to the succession. The system offers four succession models: within the family, within the company, sale to an investor and company liquidation. The business succession process is evaluated in 4 stages: Information, analysis, conception and implementation. In each of these phases, the business owner answers questions related to the respective process step by step. At the same time, the business owner has the possibility to invite other key players to participate in the application - e.g. family members, or even employees, lawyers, consultants, who should answer the same questions. The result of the program is a comparison of the individual answers and the identification of potential areas of conflict that are not discussed consensually in the context of the preparation and process of company succession in a family business and therefore need to be considered.