The seventh Interregional policy learning workshop & peer review of the STOB regions project took place on 13th and 14th of December 2018, in Seville, Spain  and organized by project partner Official chamber of Commerce, Industry and Shipping of Seville. The first day was dedicated to introducing the participants to the thematic workshop topic: Business Transfer in Rural Areas.

The workshop began with an introduction and welcome speech by Manuel Montoya, Project Partner of the Seville chamber of commerce. To kickoff proceedings, Marie Depelssemaker, Secretary General of TRANSEO, The European Association for SME Transfer, offered an EU wide overview of Business transfers. A key takeaway was the need to combine business transfer as a time-point for potential growth and innovation renewal. In addition, TRANSEO presented their 2019 working plan including the 2019 General assembly and development of the Transeo Marketplace, an online buyer and seller side platform .

The second thematic lecture presented by Laurent Renerken, Business transfer Advisor at SOWACCESS, offering a good practice in the form of the Walloon Business Transfer ecosystem in Belgium. The platform and process were presented in great detail, and the results were impressive with 310 accompanied seller deals declared by SOWACCESS partners, representing 191 and 113 on the buyers and sellers side respectively.

The Spanish National Plan for Business Transfer was presented by Francisco Moreno. Head of Area, Directorate-General Industry and SME of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism. SME support is offered through the PAE and PLAN networks, comprised of 40-member organisations, and provides 279 service points across Spain. The ongoing activities and aim is to integrate basic BT services on the portfolio of networked services in addition to providing a comprehensive list of professional advisors who provide advanced BT services.

The last of the workshop‘s thematic lectures was provided by Family business consultancy Japón Matarí, of the challenges and opportunities for business transfer in rural areas in addition to offering their approach to ensure family business continuity and prosperity. It was stressed Family and Business as terms, should be considered holistically.

All of the STOB regions partners presented their contributions towards the workshop thematic focusing on the topic from the perspective of their own region. highlights of the presentations include German partner’s presentation on the Excellence program of the Brandenburg University of Technology, from the Ilfov Region in Romania the Local Action Group support for the installation of young farmers and from Finland the Turku Region’s Business Transfer platform operated by Finnish federation of Finnish Enterprises South West Finland.

Following the partners' contributions, the group assembled to discuss the key outcomes and knowledge generated throughout the day’s proceedings as a reminder for transfer into the local action plans for each region to assist in the support of Business Transfer in the partner’s respective regions.

The peer review on day two began with introduction of the regional situation regarding business transfer in rural areas, presented by Ignacio Garcia Saura, General manager at ARA Andalucía Rural offered key statistics and dynamics of the agriculture sector in the region. In short succession, Francisco Cousinou, Service Manager at Andalucía Regional Government detailed their offerings to regional rural based SMEs for both start-up and business transfer services.

The final good practice example, courtesy of Carlos Bulnes, 2nd generation CEO  of Bulnes Group, three companies operating in the industrial and engineering sector, described his personal experience with a succession in his family company. The key takeaway was the need for the next generation to be equipped with new knowledge and skills and renew the company in a direction to ensure competitiveness and growth.

A regional-SWOT analysis and recommendation session finalized the day and the two-day event, with a collection of inputs for development and continuation to be used by the Andalucía region to strengthen the business transfer environment. For more information on the outcomes of these sessions visit our successionwiki.

The seventh workshop provided the project partners a deeper understanding of the business transfer process in Andalucía Region and explored in great detail the theme of BT in rural areas whilst developing new ideas and recommendations for policy learning. The next IPL is to be held in Slovenia on 20th and 21st March 2019, with the thematic of Financing/ financial instruments to support transfer of business.

Presentations from the IPL meeting in Seville, and previous meetings can be found through our successionwiki here.

To access STOB regions’ good practices relating to business transfer and succession please visit here.