The ageing of society does not stop at company owners. More and more companies have to be handed over to the new generation. This process is a challenge for all parties involved. The support of business transfer assistance is just as essential for the European economy as the promotion of start-ups because both are critical to the development of the European economy. Over 450.000 firms with over two million jobs are transferred to a new owner in the EU-28 each year. Around one-third of these transfers fail, and the companies are closed. The future growth and sustainability of innovative companies in the Baltic Sea Region are severely limited by failed business transfers. Furthermore, due to a lack of available and appropriate successors, many firms are liquidated rather than transferred. This publication is part of the project INBETS (www.inbets.eu), highlights the background to the current situation of business transfers in the Baltic Sea Region, and proposes a policy program to promote business successions and open up new target groups of potential successors. Part-financed by the European Union (European Development Fund and European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument) within the INBETS project. This publication does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Commission.
A sound promotion of innovation is essential for the future of the Baltic Sea Region, in particular to support the small- and medium sized enterprises. For this purposes stakeholders from medium-sized businesses, science, politics, and administration met at the seventh Hanseatic Conference in May 2012 in Hamburg. For two days the participants discussed about "Innovation and innovative strategies in the regional policy around the mare balticum" to further strengthen the region. It became evident, that a sustainable promotion of innovation demands a closer cooperation within the regions, on a transnational level but also between administrations and especially between companies and R&D institutions. The Baltic Sea area will only be one of the most innovative and strong regions in the world, if the bordering countries build a unit. This publication included the presented papers and summarizes the discussion of the participants.
To remain competitive in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR), small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) must increase their innovation capacity and close the gap between qualification requirements and demands. Human capital is the most important resource for increasing productivity and innovation. As a result, the "Knowledge Alliance for Human Resources and Organizational Development" project was launched and ran from 2017 to 2021. The project of eleven partners from four countries placed a high value on increased collaboration between universities and businesses in order to promote education and innovation. The most important findings are included in this publication. First, through R&D work at universities, SME-specific methods, instruments, and projects are developed, tested, and implemented, resulting in workplace innovations in areas such as employee recruitment, motivation, and digitization, a more innovative working environment, and more efficient use of human capital. Second, through qualifications, small and medium-sized enterprises in the Baltic Sea Region's awareness and competencies in this new area of innovation promotion was strengthened.
Around 99 % of all EU companies are SMEs which provide up to 70 % of all jobs. Generally, SMEs have good future growth prospects, however they are specifically well equipped to solve environmental problems, hence grow in the green economy. Nowadays, the biggest bottleneck is the significant skills shortage in most economic sectors while job vacancies in SMEs and overall unemployment, in particular youth unemployment, is steadily growing. A a result of cooperation between educational institutions and industry entities, work-based learning has become a prominent tool to eliminate bottlenecks and create conditions for further growth in innovative market segments. To continuously coordinate education and skills requirements, and address skills shortages, higher education institutions along with education and training providers, and economic chambers from 7 countries built up and established an alliance for the following sectors: "Water, Wastewater, Waste and Circular Economy". This alliance was then extended to 13 countries with 74 education and labour market actors and continues to perform its duties as the "Eco Innovation" centre of competence in the long term. This publication contains the relevant curricula, application notes and experiences as a result of the project WWW&CE with the following partners: Hanse-Parlament (DE), Panevezys Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts (LT), Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (LT), Vilnius Builder Trainings centre (LT), Hungarian Association of Craftsmen Corporation (HU), Kontiki-Szakkepzö Zrt (HU), Chamber of Craftmanship and Enterprise in Bialystok (PL), Bialystok Foundation of Professional Training (PL), Nordic Forum of Crafts (NO), Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (FI), Wirtschafts-Förderungsinstitut der Wirtschaftskammer Steiermark (AT).
At the end of 2012 the Baltic Sea Region Programme initiated the cluster “Innovation in SMEs”, starting with ten projects that focused their work on this important topic. During 2013 three additional projects joined the initiative. Most projects are flagship projects within the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea region, namely in Priority SME Networks, Innovation and Education. Maintaining a high level of innovative thinking and entrepreneurship is crucial for SMEs to stay competitive and allow growth in the region. This publication gives an short overview of the 13 projects that were implemented between 2010 and 2014. The projects participated in workshops and surveys to increase the mutual learning and share experience. The findings are summarized. In 2013 a survey was conducted to learn more about the status quo of “Innovation in SMEs” in the Baltic Sea Region and learn more about the relevant topics for the future. More than 600 stakeholders participated in the survey. The publication shows the most relevant questions and answers and draws the conclusions from the survey.
Much has been said about the driving forces of region-building processes or regionalization worldwide, yet few systematic and comparative studies have been conducted on how regions can contribute to the building of other regions - and more concretely, how the European Union has 'pushed' for regionalization worldwide. This comparative book investigates the impact that the EU has on regionalization elsewhere through its inter-regional relations. Covering agriculture, trade, ASEAN, NAFTA, MERCOSUR and Commonwealth amongst other topics, it investigates whether the EU contributes directly, as well as indirectly, to increased regional integration in different parts of the world.