InTo Generation focus against Challenges of SME's competitiveness
Family business sector is more than 60 % of all European companies are family owned, representing between 40 % — 50 % of all jobs. Cross-border family business organizations could, for example, encourage exchanges between countries with a long experience in the field (i.e. with a more developed institutional and political framework), and those in which the phenomenon is more recent. Family businesses face the same financial constraints as any other type of business and also face certain specific challenges. According to the "Overview of Family –Business and Relevant Issues, research, networks, Policy Measures for the Promotion of SMEs’ competitiveness" in 2009, European family businesses face 3 types of challenges:
• “’Challenges that arise from the environment in which companies operate: Unawareness of policy makers of the specificities of family businesses, and their economic and social contribution; Financial issues (e.g. gift and inheritance tax, access to finance without losing control of the firm, favorable tax treatment of reinvested profits).
• Challenges that develop as a consequence of the family firm’s internal matters: Unawareness by family firms of the importance of planning business transfers early; Balance between the family, ownership and business aspects within the enterprise; Difficulties in attracting and retaining a skilled workforce.
• Challenges related to educational aspects, which have an impact on both the business environment and on family firms’ internal matters: Lack of entrepreneurship education and family-business-specific management training and research into family-business-specific topics, plus effective.”
InToGeneration will focus especially on the 2nd challenge, that of the business succession in micro-SMEs. It will do so by providing training to assist the successors in taking over an existing business from their parents. Micro-SMEs being the largest employers, the transfer of business between generations is a very important phase of their life cycle. Additionally, in terms of the objectives that will be addressed:
• support participating micro-SMEs in training and further training activities in the acquisition and the use of knowledge, skills and qualifications to facilitate personal development, employability and participation in the European labor market
• support on improvement of quality and innovation in training systems, institutions and practices
• improve the co-operation between institutions and development of innovative ICT-based tools.