European SME Transfer Unit

Mar 26 2014
European SME Transfer Unit

Participation of Ms. Madi Sharma as the key note speaker at the European SME Transfer Summit

The 2014 European SME Transfer Summit was organized by Transeo for professionals specialized in sale/acquisition of SMEs, policy-makers, public institutions and academics to take stock of SME transfers in Europe and learn from the experience of high-quality speakers, tips from experts and testimonies from entrepreneurs.

The Summit program included plenary sessions with 30 international speakers, technical workshops

and networking sessions, give you the chance to the participants to take stock of key topics linked to the transfer of SMEs and prepare for the opportunities ahead including policy-making, awareness-raising among business owners and efficient support programmes, valuation of SMEs, negotiation, obstacles to buyouts and growth.

I took part at the plenary session called « The Big Debate». “ Given the right kind of encouragement, can anyone buy an existing company?”  I presented the case following study: Who would be the best candidate to sell my company to. I presented 3 potential candidates: the government/ Commission or the universities or Business support organisations. I analysed what each of the three candidates have done and what they have done and failed to do in order to successfully support SMEs. I then presented my own case which like the other panellist Thomas Spitaels, was that of a real entrepreneur active in transfers and takeovers. We have not been supported by the government in our entrepreneurial endeavours due to a previous failure, I am not depending on funds from the European Commission who does not supporting female entrepreneurs (there is only 1 person in DG Enterprise who works on female entrepreneurship out of 900 staff). Finally, I do not have any academic qualification just like so many successful entrepreneurs (universities teach theory on business plans, but they do not teach out of the box thinking in entrepreneurship). I concluded that the best candidate to take over my company would be someone like me, someone practical, ambitious and proactive.

Using some of the issues highlighted in the Employers Group of the EESC on a regular basis I was able to argue that there needed to be policy changes to support SME transfers, including from entrepreneurs who had failed, because many companies did not consider succession planning, and many young people did not want to go into the family business , especially if it was a traditional industry. This would leave Europe with stagnant growth if the issue was not addressed. I clarified that as successful business people in Europe we wanted to support Commissioner Tajani’s 3rd Industrial Revolution.

Other speakers included Pr. Mike WRIGHT, Director, Centre for Management Buy-Out Research, Imperial College of London, United Kingdom, Pr. Lex VAN TEEFFELEN, Professor of Business Transfers and Innovation, University of Applied Science Utrecht & Academic Chairman of the Transeo Academic working group, The Netherlands and Thomas SPITAELS, Chairman of the Executive Committee and Board Director of TPF Group, Belgium.

I was congratulated by the speaker from the Commission for my presentation and other participants escribe how there needs to be new policy as a basis in forming the EU policies in order to facilitate SME transfers and make them  less bureaucratic.

Please do not hesitate to contact me for any further information

Thank you for this great opportunity to introduce the EESC’s efforts in supporting the SMEs and the future challenges of company transfers.

Madi  x



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