Innovative Business Transfer Models for SMEs in the BSR

October 2017 -
March 2021


Policy area:
1. Innovation 1.3 Non-tech innovation


Many small and medium sized enterprises face a crucial moment when the business gets transferred, e.g. when the owner retires and a new one takes over. Every year, more jobs are lost due to failed business transfers than new jobs are created in start-ups. The project improves the competences of business support organisations in terms of business transfers. They jointly design and apply innovative tools to better support upcoming business successors.




Ageing owners need successors

SMEs - or small and medium sizes enterprises - are the backbone of our economy. Many have been built up from scratch and run successful for decades. They are mostly managed by their owners, of whom a growing number is looking to retire, but can’t: There is a high demand for qualified successors. This is essential for transferring the businesses to the next generation and preserve the company respectively its jobs.

Business transfers have a strong impact

Indeed business transfers have a higher impact on the economic growth than start-ups. More jobs in Europe are lost due to failed transfers than new jobs created with start-ups. Over the next decade up to 500,000 businesses providing two million jobs will have to be transferred every year. At least one third of business failures are the consequence of bad transfers.

Call to action

Against this backdrop it is essential to improve the conditions for business transfers. The project brings together business support organisations, research institutions and education providers to team up in order to provide SMEs with excellent support for a successful transfer of their company and knowledge. The project examines, further develops and designs innovative and transferable models and tools for facilitating SME business transfers, adapts them to different regions and makes them not only widely available, but also starts to implement them in companies. These increased capacities and the institutionalised knowledge will lead to progressive change of SME business transfers in the Baltic Sea region.

Highlights by mid-term:

The project started raising awareness of the concept of a business transfer, as the knowledge is quite limited, particularly in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Russia. The project conferences in Vilnius and Riga contributed to a greater interest in the opportunities provided by business transfers.

The cooperation between knowledge institutions and business support organisations has been strengthened in the project area, not only regionally (for example within Lithuania), but also transnationally, for instance between the Gdansk University of Technology (Poland) and Drivhuset from Skövde (Sweden).

INBETS BSR has already developed a tool for the self-assessment of entrepreneurship competences, which enables potential entrepreneurs and institutions to understand whether the candidate is suitable to take over a business, whether (s)he needs to enhance her/his entrepreneurial skills, etc.

The project also developed six models for a business transfer and six financing models. These models enable consultants at business support organisations to provide more detailed advice on the financial aspects of a business transfer and to identify a wide range of possible solutions

Project Stories


€ 2.46
€ 1.78
Eni + Russia
€ 0.17
€ 0.00



Project manager

Baltic Sea Academy

Max Hogeforster

49 408 224 470

Legal representative

Baltic Sea Academy

Max Hogeforster

49 408 224 470

Financial manager

Baltic Sea Academy e.V.

Christian Wildt

00 494 082 244 713

Communication manager

Baltic Sea Academy

Hannes Ujen