EU4BT “Engaging Users for Business Transfer” project aims to identify the good practices in the working of matching platforms (connecting potential sellers and buyers for SMEs) in Europe and to start defining the needed actions to create connections between platforms from different European countries.
EU4BT is lead by Transeo (www.transeo-association.eu), the European Association for SME Transfer that gathers SME transfer experts from the private, public and academic sectors, and that works on solutions and projects to improve business transfer at European scale. The consortium partners is composed by Transeo and three of its members: Sowaccess (Belgium), Reempresa (Spain), Hogeschool Utrecht (Netherlands).
EU4BT is part of the COSME (Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprise) from the European Union.
Description of the Project
The global objective of the project is to contribute to improve the environment in Europe for more successful transfers of SMEs by supporting the implementation of the EU Commission recommendations to Member States regarding the matching between sellers and buyers of SMEs in Europe.
For years, the European Commission has insisted on the need for Member States to develop matching platforms to efficiently support sellers and buyers of SMEs: in all the business transfer reference documents and more particularly the Small Business Act and its Review, the 2006 Communication and the recent Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan. The role of the European Commission has always been to support Member States by providing them with recommendations, guidelines, information and good practices. The 2013 expert group on SME transfers organized by DG Enterprise & Industry (and where 2 members of the EU4BT consortium were appointed: SOWACCESS as the Belgium representative and Transeo as European technical expert/observer) is a concrete illustration of this role of collaboration with Member States and identification of good practices: special attention in this group was devoted to the important challenge behind efficient matching platforms in Europe.
The main objective of the “EU4BT” project is to define standards for efficient matching platforms in Europe and to create the best conditions to ensure their good implementation. In doing so, the potential sellers and buyers in countries where matching platforms will adopt the proposed standards, will be more efficiently matched with one another.
The “EU4BT” consortium partners have worked on the development of a unique methodology, which combines an academic and scientific study with concrete work and consultation with matching platforms.
The main objectives of the study are:
- to obtain an up-to date state of the art of matching platforms on specific features (business model, ICT tool behind the platform, matching methodology, promotion of the platform to sellers and buyers, partnerships to fuel the platform with as many quality profiles as possible, additional services – including professional advice – and connections with platforms from other regions in a given country or with other countries, i.e. internationalisation of the platforms).
- to identify standards for each of the above-mentioned features, to test and to discuss them with platforms, to analyze deeper the platforms already working with such standards to come up with concrete good practice examples.
Finally, the objective of the last part of the project is to create the best conditions to make sure that the standards are presented to and easily understood by target groups that the matching platforms can assess the needed adaptations in their working/tool to abide by the EU proposed standards, and that Member States where business transfer is a fresh issue, can easily assess what would be necessary to set up a matching platform based on the EU standards.
The indirect but crucial objective of the project is to start defining the needed actions to create connections between platforms from different European countries and in doing so, to increase the scope of search for profiles and offer sellers and buyers the possibility to transfer or buy easily an SME in other European countries.