Joint project to support business ownership transfers: Successful acquisitions produce growth for companies and regions
In April, a major joint project with national coverage was launched to facilitate business acquisitions and successful transfers of ownership. Almost 40 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) say that they face a transfer of ownership within the next ten years, according to the latest SME Barometer from the Federation of Finnish Enterprises, Finnvera and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.
Supporting business ownership transfers is part of the Government’s entrepreneurship package.
“It is always a waste of skills and assets if a company is viable but its ownership does not get transferred to a successor,” says Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä.
“It’s also in the interests of society as a whole that there is continuity for companies, that new entrepreneurs come forward to carry on businesses that have potential for the future. This is about jobs, tax revenues and regional vigour and vitality,” says Minister Lintilä.
New ways to facilitate business acquisitions
The project is looking for new ways to encourage transfers of ownership. This means being better able to identify businesses which are ripe for ownership transfer and to find potential new owners, and also means activating entrepreneurs and providing information about the services that are available.
“Entrepreneur associations, service organisations and different business entities have a key role to play in raising awareness and getting the message out. Companies themselves must of course ensure that their business has potential for the future and attracts the interest of new owners. Handing over to new owners is often an excellent opportunity to modernise a business: retain tried and trusted practices, but also infuse the business with new energy and vision,” says Minister Lintilä.
The aim is to identify various alternative solutions for the diversity of ownership transfer circumstances, and to organise regional events for entrepreneurs and provide information on these matters as effectively as possible. Practical examples of measures include the conducting of an ownership transfer barometer survey, implementation of the Kasvu Open programme, development work on the Match Making tool and the Jatkaja-pörssi service, production of guides for finance providers and intermediaries, a national conference on ownership transfer in 2018 and collaboration in European entrepreneurship networks.
Funding from multiple sources
The main source of funding for the project is the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. Other sources of funding are the Confederation of Finnish Industries, the Federation of Finnish Enterprises, Finland Chamber of Commerce, Business Finland, Finnvera, Fennia Group, Elo, Suomen Uusyrityskeskukset, Nordea, Danske Bank and Finnish Company Acquisition Ltd. These organisations and companies make up the project’s steering group.
The steering group is chaired by Jari Huovinen from the Confederation of Finnish Industries. The steering group also includes Business Mentors Finland, the Association of Finnish Development Companies SEKES and Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences. The Project Manager is Mika Haavisto from the Federation of Finnish Enterprises.
The scheduled duration of the project is two and a half years in total.
Kari Alanko, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 506 2366
Mika Haavisto, Project Manager, Federation of Finnish Enterprises, tel. +358 50 550 1993