ISSUE #03, June 2013 www.tok-toc.eu
The Athens Chamber of Small Medium Industries, in collaboration with Dr. C. Tjortjis has carried out extensive ground work in order to design and install TOK-TOC’s e-Platform. By doing so the consortium of TOK-TOC proudly presents a great tool developed to support business transfers at interregional level in EU. tok-toc.biz is a business transfer facilitator for buyers and sellers operating in six partner regions, six EU member states. tok-toc.biz assumes a two-step, secure data entry process for prospective buyers and sellers of small family businesses. Personal as well as business related data are inputted during each step, using drop down menus as much as possible. Apart from buyers and sellers, the regulator and the mediator are two ver important actors of the tok-toc.biz.

Visit tok-toc.biz and find the ideal buyers or seller you have been looking for. Find out more about TOK-TOC's interregional e-platform for business transfers at:
www.tok-toc.biz

On Feb. 22, 2013, P.S.P. invited the Lead Partner of TOK-TOC to its bi-annual meeting held in Sinaia, Romania. The conference focused on: “The role of local authorities in the development and modernization of public services and the business environment through transfer of knowledge and human capital". The event was attended by 139 mayors as well as policy makers, researchers, academics, journalists and entrepreneurs. The presentation of Mr. Florian Dudu, President and Managing Director of P.S.P., sparkled an interesting debate on how the wealth knowledge and skills acquired over the years can be treasured from generation to the next. It was argued that knowledge transfer is important for further business development and ensures business continuity. The municipalities participating at the event learned more information about TOK-TOC’s business transfer model and tools being developed and are looking forward to experimenting with them.

The best practices handbook TOK-TOC for policy makers and decision makers, entitled “Supporting Successful Business Transfer in Europe: Highlighting the challenges and identifying solutions”, is now available at www.tok-toc.eu/Handbook. It will also be available in Greek, Dutch, Spanish, Romanian and German on August 1st 2013.

Co-ordinated by the University of Strathclyde, the Handbook provides a comprehensive review of the conditions that support and prevent successful business transfers. It also outlines the challenges presented as a result of demographic change and the associated impact on ageing business owners. Moreover, the Handbook presents elements of best practice in the partner countries and has used this to form recommendations to improve business succession rates across Europe, including the development of an e-platform for Buyers and Sellers of businesses; a new definition for business incubators and the support that they could provide entrepreneurs; and a training programme to encourage greater support from local authorities.

On June 21, 2013, the University of Strathclyde also organised an Information Day in Glasgow, in partnership with Glasgow City Council, where Brian McKechnie and Graham Smith presented the Handbook to policy makers and representatives of the Chamber of Commerce. It was also attended by our partners from the Netherlands and Germany
(read more at tok-toc.eu).

On June 24, 2013 Graham Smith presented the project at the European Commission as part of an event organized by WhatIf International, to highlight the challenge of an ageing population in Europe –
details of the event can be found at:
www.whatifinternational.org

On Thur., March 14th, 2013, TOK-TOC’s partners had their 2nd Steering Committee Meeting at Science Center Johannes De Doper. The partners discussed the completion of deliverables for component 3 and the commencement of component 4. The Local Association of Municipalities and Public Service Enterprises of Romania attended TOK-TOC’s int/al event and learned more about the importance of supporting business transfer at the communal level as well.

The international seminar held in the afternoon of March 14, 2013, on the issue of “SMEs at Risk” highlighted some the factors hindering business transfer. The 1st presentation painted a picture of the entrepreneurial aspects of the Friesland region and was delivered by Mrs. Margriet Bouma, director Chamber of Commerce Friesland. The 2nd presentation focused on the topic of “Lessons learned from business transfer project at the Chamber of Commerce” and was given by Ms. Ingrid Vellinga, project manager regional development Chamber of Commerce Friesland. The 3rd and key note presentation by Prof. Dr. Lex van Teeffelen, Professor of Business Transfers and innovation at the HU Business School Utrecht, examined the issue of transfer by analyzing the ” Critical Success Factors for SME business transfers”. Prof. Teeffelen maintained that his empirical findings indicate that popular beliefs on Business Transfer like: “micro firms are hardly transferable”, or “only well performing firms are transferable”, or “transfer time is long” are simply untrue.

On Thur., March 14th, 2013, TOK-TOC’s partners had their 2nd Steering Committee Meeting at Science Center Johannes De Doper in Leeuwarden.
On Fri., March 15, 2013, the partners visited the Leeuwarden Incubator and listened to a presentation by Kees Smit on his coaching system and assistance for succession called “Ondernemerssteun”. Jan Jacob Hilberdink, director of the “Inqubator“, presented the rationale and methodology of supporting business start-ups financially at the Leeuwarden Incubator. The partenrs discussed the idea of treating business start-ups and transfers of competive small family enterprises equally, thus, encouraging new business buyers to make their first steps and obtain administrative, technical and financial support in an incubator.
Learn more about the business transfer and the ideas presented by the aforementioned experts by visiting: www.tok-toc.eu

On May 27 2013, the National Business Transfer Day of Holland took place, organized annually by the Dutch National Chambers of Commerce in cooperation with regional partners, like Business Development Friesland for the event in northern Holland. The target groups were local entrepreneurs, intermediaries and potential business buyers. The participants could attend company- transfer information workshops, plenary presentations and have face-to-face opportunities for potential buyers and sellers “matchmaking”. Over 200 guests attended the session on May 27 in Friesland. The concept of the Business Transfer Day is described in TOK-TOC’s Best Practices Handbook by BDF. Its aim is to organise business-transfer support events in cooperation with other EU regions. Lessons learned from this event included the development of a workshop program, which was suitable to both buyers and sellers and attracted the participation of both target groups in good numbers. In additions, the organisers agreed about the great potential of the Business Transfer Day to be transferred in other EU regions. The foreseen barriers for this idea are very small.
For more information write to Frank Hiddink: f.hiddink@bdfriesland.nl

The partners of TOK-TOC met at the BIZ Barcelona for an international workshop for transferring experiences on business transfer led by Josep Isern, manager of Patentes y Marcas (industrial and intellectual property agency). The partners shared best practices paving the way for designing new sustainable methodologies and tools. During the deliberations of TOK-TOC’s partners special attention was given on reinforcing local communities to adopt a supportive entrepreneurial spirit. There are 23 millions of small and medium enterprises in the European Union, which represents up to 99% of the economic tissue. It was emphasized that the family business model has always been at the heart of the Catalonia economic tissue. Nowadays, 98% of the Catalan enterprises are SMEs and the majority is family businesses. This model of enterprise in Catalonia covers up to 72% of total employees and generates 74% of the total sales in small businesses. However, only 30 enterprises out of 100 (on average) reach a successful transfer business process and among them, only half reach the third generation. There is often a widespread attitude of resistance to change among the founders of the companies that hinders its progress and growth, its processes of internationalization or even its continuity.

Through the TOK-TOC project small family enterprises will share of experience and know-how capacities accumulated for years by the older entrepreneurs in order to pass it on to young ones. This is the way younger generations may feel more confident to take over older companies instead of planning their own startups.

The Brasov Metropolitan Agency for Sustainable Development, Romania (BMA in short) is a new partner in TOK-TOC’s consortium. After extensive communication with TOK-TOC’s Lead Partner, the Athens Chamber of Small Medium Industries, as well as the National Contact Point in Romania, BMA’s Board of Directors chaired by Mr. David Dragos, took the official decision to participate in the project on May 14, 2013. BMA represents an intercommunity development association of Romanian local authorities, including 3 cities, 3 towns and 10 rural communities. Its role is to provide support and expertise to local communities in the wider area of Brasov. BMA coordinates the planning and implementation of various projects that have an impact in the entire region. This process matches a long history of development in the area and has the potential of contributing a lot to local stakeholders and TOK-TOC’s consortium. More importantly, BMA works closely with the local authorities in the area of Brasov but also with Chamber of Commerce at Brasov.
Learn more about TOK-TOC’s new partner 8, visit BMA’s website:
www.metropolabrasov.ro

On April 26, 2013, IHK Zetis GmbH– Centre for Technology and Innovation Consulting Southwest, Kaiserslautern, Germany, joined the partners of TOK-TOC. The IHK Zetis GmbHis the 100 % project subsidiary company of IHK Pfalz (Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Palatinate) with offices in Kaiserslautern and Ludwigshafen, Germany. Working in closely connected structures, IHK Zetis GmbH is the central contact for small and medium-sized businesses for all matters relating to IT, innovation, energy or staffing for over 20 years. The range of issues extends from innovation and patent support through e-business solutions to staffing and educational matters, complemented by event organisation and individual consultations as well as network and cooperation support and especially all new energy themes. The new partner 9 in TOK-TOC is a centre for technology and innovation with tight relations to the industry and companies and several projects on demographic change. IHK Zetis GmbH has long-term involvement on topics like demographic change, life-long-learning, aging workforce, lifecycle-oriented personnel policy, ensuring of innovation and productivity in SMEs. TOK-TOC’s theme on new methodologies and tools designed to facilitate and support business transferability is of utmost importance to the small and medium-sized enterprises in the region of Palatinate, relying on consulting from ZETIS.

TOK-TOC’s consortium has a lot to gain from the experience of the German partner not only with the Chamber of Palatinate but also with local authorities in the region of Palatinate (for more info visit the website: www.zetis.de or contact Dipl.-Ing. Markus Bauer, Tel. +49(0)631 303-1236, bauer@zetis.de).

The work of ZETIS and its contribution to TOK-TOC was presented at the international fair biz.barcelona organised by the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce on June 6, 201.

On May 21, 2013, the Information Day organised by the University of Strathclyde and held at Glasgow City Chambers allowed local policy makers to learn more about the vital importance of supporting SME transfer for both sellers and buyers, while considering some of the most successful practices the partners of TOK-TOC collected from Greece, UK, Netherlands, Spain, Romania, Germany.
For more information visit: www.tok-toc.eu

LEAD PARTNER:


• Athens Chamber of Small & Medium Industries



PARTNERS:


• University of Strathclyde


• Business Development Friesland


• Barcelona Chamber of Commerce


• Brasov Metropolitan Agency
Brasov Metropolitan Agency for
Sustainable Development



• IHK Zetis GmbH – Centre for Technology
and Innovation Consulting Southwest

We look forward to receiving your comments and suggestions on the special pages of our multilingual portal dedicated to the above events: www.tok-toc.eu

Copyright © 2013 TOK-TOC (1242 R4) PROJECT #3 e-Newsletter |  www.tok-toc.eu

Contact Details:
Athens Chamber of Small & Medium Industries
18, Akademias Street 10671, ATHENS , GREECE
Tel.: +30 210 3680700 | Fax: +30 210 3614726
www.tok-toc.eu