This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.

Family businesses count among the oldest forms of conducting business. Today, they are not only the backbone of the private sector, but are supporting entire economies. In the European Union family businesses make up more than 60% of all companies, as well as account for about 40% - 50% of total employment.

The process of transfer and succession within or outside the family is an extremely crucial phase in the life of a family enterprise. According to recent studies, family business successions fail 60% of the time due to communication breakdown within the family, rather than failures due to professional errors in accounting, legal and financial advisory planning, or to tax regulations regarding business transfers. At the same time, support and consulting in business transfers focuses too much on technical and legislative issues.

Legal and technical planning does then not ensure a successful transfer. It is how well the family is prepared to deal with the transition that is much more important. Family business owners and members need therefore to upgrade non-technical skills, such as communication skills in family and business context, decision making skills when thinking of succession involving biological kin, in-laws, and non-kin persons, conflict management, and critical thinking skills to name a few.

Business advisors and consultants on the other hand need guidelines, tools, and practical means to consult family business owners and members to deal with the issue of succession, where the ‘family’ and the ‘business’ interests meet, and more than often, confront each other.

It is this kind of training and supporting material that the SUCCESS.ion project, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission, will develop for both family business owners/members and business advisors/consultants, in order to prepare, plan and execute a successful business transfer. The project will create innovative training solutions which will be available online, and can support self-learning, and traditional face-to-face training as well:

  • A family business transfer and succession guide for business consultants
  • A succession guide for transferors and successors in family firms

All training material and tools will be available in an online training area in five languages, English, Bulgarian, German, Greek, and Spanish.

During the project, separate courses will be held in Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, and Spain, in order to test and pilot the training provision and its tools.

This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.