The Challenges of SME Business Transfers: The Evidence from Croatia and Finland

Mirela Alpeza 1 , Juha Tall 2 ,  and Petra Mezulić Juric 1
  • 1 Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek / Faculty of Economics in Osijek, Trg Ljudevita Gaja 7, 31000 , Osijek, Croatia
  • 2 Agency for Rural Affairs/Department of Rural Development, P.O. Box 405; 60101, , Seinäjoki, Finland

Abstract

Background and Purpose: In the life cycle of a firm, business transfer represents the critical stage of development. Underestimating the complexity and longevity of this process can have negative implications for firms, their owners and wide network of stakeholders. The aim of this paper is to compare the attitude towards business transfer of entrepreneurs aged 55 and more in Croatia and Finland and provide policy recommendations for improvement of the national business transfer ecosystems. Methodology/Approach: Both surveys targeted entrepreneurs aged 55 and more using the same questionnaire, with some adjustments to Croatian business transfer ecosystem. Finish barometer was conducted through webbased survey among members of Federation of Finnish Enterprises. Survey in Croatia was conducted with combination of CATI and CAWI collection method by a professional data collection agency. Data collected was compared based on a demographic criterion, industry background, experience in business transfer, expected future of the company, support needed and biggest challenges. Results: The research results indicated a growing number of entrepreneurs in Croatia who will be interested in selling their firm once they withdraw from the business and less than expected family business successions. In Finland the most important challenges are related to business valuation and finding a successor or a buyer. Conclusion: For further development of business transfer ecosystem in Croatia it is recommended to focus on awareness raising activities, channels for matching sellers and buyers, promotion of takeover entrepreneurship and consultancy support for micro enterprises. In Finland results indicate the importance of investing continuous efforts in raising the effectiveness of the measures implemented.

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