Welcome

Dear Friends, Small and very small enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of growth, innovation, employment President of ACSMIand social integration in the European Union (EU). There are 23 million SMEs in the EU, which represent 99% of businesses. On the basis of these statistics, the European Commission has been promoting and supporting successful entrepreneurship in various ways. For example, the EC developed the SMALL Business Act (2008) which highlights the requirements for developing a positive business environment. The interest for continuously improving entrepreneurship is shown by the financial support to SMEs provided to SMEs by the European Investment Bank amounted to 13€ billion of finance. Along these lines, TOK-TOC is a project bringing together entrepreneurs, policy makers, bankers, community leaders and researchers in an attempt to ease the problems SMEs are facing following business transfer. Consequently, the Athens Chamber of Small Medium Industries in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde, the Chamber of Barcelona, the Development Company Friesland, the Municipality of Kardzali, and the Latvian Technology Park are focusing on the development of new methodologies and tools that will facilitate business transferability in the future. The thousands of aging entrepreneurs throughout the EU are seeking answers to questions asking how the wealth of knowledge and skills accumulated over the years by older entrepreneurs could be transferred to younger generations taking over the business. The information and the solutions that will be gathered in the form of best practices will be presented in a Handbook directed to policy makers interested in improving business transferability conditions. We are all in favour of Life-Long Learning practices which facilitate the creation of mobile and knowledge-based entrepreneurial communities. Certainly, knowledge transfer from the aging workforce to younger generations of business successors is a very important parameter in entrepreneurial continuity. Nowadays younger generations of entrepreneurs and labourers have to work much harder in order to ensure that their small enterprises will continue to run successfully after the take over by them. The change of roles in SME transfer requires planning ahead of time and preparing for the change both older entrepreneurs and their successors. How is this going to be achieved? Special training of older entrepreneurs and their successors is necessary. In addition, new policies which support SME transfer have to be developed. The project TOK-TOC is targeting both requirements. Sincerely, Pavlos Ravanis, President, ACSMI