The eighth Interregional policy learning workshop & peer review of the STOB regions project took place on 20th and 21st of March 2019, in Kranj, Slovenia and organized by project partner BSC (Business Support Centre) Ltd, Kranj. The first day was dedicated to introducing the participants to the thematic workshop topic: Financing/ Financial Instruments to support transfer of Business.

The workshop began with an introduction and welcome speech by Project Manager Nives Justin and Director Rok Šimenc, of  BSC Kranj Ltd, hosts of the meeting and a STOB regions’ project partner. The workshop was held in the beautiful surroundings of Hotel Dvor Jezersek, where ex-owner Mr. Franci Jezersek offered a best practice of a successful generation shift.

The first of three content-intensive thematic lectures was delivered by Dr. Milos Stefanovic, CEO of the Guarantee Bank of Brandenburg,. The guarantee bank supports SMEs with a strong business case with a lack of collateral and equity, the guarantees are positioned to substitute the missing collateral and reduce risk to allow loan financing by commercial banking institutes. In addition, the MBG Private Equity Company for SME's in Berlin and Brandenburg, operates in tandem with the guarantee bank and typically provides equity financing as silent partnerships. A practical case study example of the funding calculation with and without the public equity program was presented, highlighting the vast difference, and thus affordability in terms of the loan repayment installment costs.

The penultimate thematic lecture presented by Dr. Jaka Vadnjal, CEO of Lon Savings Bank, provided a case study of a successful transition of the company ownership combined with family wealth considerations. The case concerned soon to be retiree owners, and their four children all with unique relationships and connections with the company. A key takeaway from the case study was the need to separate personal/family finances and business finances in order for a clear and relatively smooth succession plan.

The final thematic lecture of Mr. Krunoslav Karlovcec, from the Slovenian Ministry of Economic Development and Technology. To demonstrate the issue of a lack of focus on business transfer in the country, a though provoking statistic was presented that in the year 2018, 8000 companies closed their operations, representing approximately 6.5 % of all registered businesses in Slovenia.

STOB regions’ partners presented their contributions towards the thematic focusing on the topic from the perspective of their own region. Notable highlights of the presentations include: Finnish State-owned financing company Finnvera.From Germany, the good practice of MBG Berlin-Brandenburg. The Vaekstfonden, independent governmental financing Fund from Denmark. From Poland, vouchers for consulting services and their potential benefits towards financing of Business acquisitions.

The pilot workshop of Slovenian partner BSC Kranj, as part of the actions in the STOB regions project was presented. Ten workshops have been planned, concerning the succession planning of nine companies, the workshops are free of charge and provides an open yet confidential space to discuss the challenges of succession and share best practices.  The pilot workshop initiative is a first-of-a-kind in the region, and thus will contribute to the increased awareness and need for specialised business transfer services in Slovenia.

Equally of importance during the partner contributions, it was identified certain regions do not provide specific measures for financing succession and business transfers.

The peer review on day two began with introduction and general overview of the Gorenjska region from Miha Juvan, Partner at S-Consult d.o.o.

Mojca Emeršič, project leader of family business succession project at Ernst & Young Slovenia presented the results from the national Family business characteristics survey, a joint effort between EY Slovenia and Faculty of Economics from Ljubljana. In addition, the presentation provided the essential steps required for successful succession planning.

A regional-SWOT analysis and recommendation session finalized the day and the two-day event. The eighth workshop provided the project partners a deeper understanding of the business transfer process in the Gorenjska region of Slovenia and explored in great detail the thematic of financial instruments to support BT whilst developing new ideas and recommendations for policy learning and development of the regional action plans. The next IPL is to be held in Berlin on 20th and 21st May 2019, with the thematic of Family Businesses, as an internal mode of business transfer. 

Presentations from the IPL meeting in Kranj, 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.