The STOB regions project submitted a proposal under the 5th call to address the effect of COVID19 pandemic to business transfers and the related policies in the participating regions.

During the pandemic, the main focus has been on supporting the businesses through the crises and keeping economic damage as low as possible. The focus has been less on business transfers. This is short-sighted, since ensuring longevity in firms, by means of generational change is an essential building block in preserving a healthy business environment. This is particularly important for economically weak regions in rural areas.

Also the attitudes of entrepreneurs have changed. Preliminary research findings suggest that especially owners of family businesses currently shy away from the risk-taking (crisis, closings etc.) and therefore do not engage in starting the handing-over processes. It is worrying that due to the Covid-19 pandemic many planned succession of business have been put on hold.Therefore,the STOB project plays a more important role than ever to secure the knowledge sharing and exchange of best practices.

To summarize, the additional activities under this call will strengthen the regional policies addressing business transfers by (1) understanding the effects of COVID19 on businesses at the succession stage of their life cycle,

(2) the effect of COVID19 on the value of the businesses and how it can be improved through projects,

(3) learning from other regions activities to mitigate the effect of the COVID19 pandemic.