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European Charter for Small Enterprises

2009 good practice selection

2009
European Charter
for Small Enterprises
2009 good practice selection
DOI: 10.2769/71269
© European Commission 2009
INTRODUCTION

The good practice cases presented in this brochure provide a sample of the different ways public
administrations can make life easier for Europe’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by
targeted policy measures.

This collection of good practices was done within the framework of the European Charter for Small
Enterprises, created at the request of the Lisbon European Council in 2000. In signing the Charter,
the Heads of State committed themselves to taking action for small businesses in key policy areas. To
encourage Member States to learn from each other, the Commission annually publishes a selection of
the best policy measures.

In 2008, the new Small Business Act (SBA) created a new framework for SME policy in Europe. The
latest collection of good practices therefore focuses on topics of particular relevance under the SBA:

1. Cash flow for business growth - Incentives for reinvesting profits and reducing late payments
2. Easier access to public procurement
3. Business dynamics: easier bankruptcy procedures and business transfers
4. Fostering creativity in entrepreneurship
5. Fostering Women’s entrepreneurship
6. Fostering eco-innovation and energy efficiency in SMEs

In this brochure, each of the six areas is covered by a separate chapter.

2008/2009 good practice collection


This year, the Commission has received 200 good practices in SME policy from the EU countries and
Norway. The full collection can be consulted at:
http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/enterprise_policy/charter/gp

The good practices highlighted in this brochure are initiatives that have been particularly beneficial in
a national context and which might also be of interest to other countries. In many cases, policy makers
discussed their policy measures with business organisations and entrepreneurs before submitting
them.

Good practice selection 2009 3


Learning from each other
One of the successes of the European Charter for Small Enterprises is that it has enabled participating
countries to learn from each other’s good practices. In 2004, EU Member States reported on some
20 cases in which they had based their own policy improvements on experience from other charter
countries. This year, there were more than 40 such cases.

For example:

• the Belgian “ecology grant” for businesses investing in green technologies is inspired by similar
measures in the Netherlands;

• Estonia’s pre-bankruptcy procedure is modelled on the procedures in Germany, Finland and


Austria;

• the Italian toolbox for managing business transfers has been taken up by the Norway’s National
Industry Association;

• before introducing its “innovation club”for craft enterprises, Luxembourg carried out a benchmarking
study on similar projects in other European countries;

• Lithuania’s entrepreneurial programme “Worth a million” is based on the TV programme “Dragon’s


Den”, broadcasted in more than 30 countries;

• the Swedish woman enterprise ambassador’s programme was inspired by a similar programme in
the UK. The European Commission is now introducing this programme across the EU.

In other areas, Member States have cooperated on policy measures from the outset. For instance
Germany with twelve other countries set up the online platform ETIS, enabling users to search
for national tenders below the European thresholds which do not have to be published in the EU’S
TED database of tenders. The participating countries are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France,
Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and Germany.

Charter conference
The main forum for exchanging good practices in the Charter context is the annual conference, where
many of the good practices highlighted in this brochure will be presented. The 2009 conference –
“From the European charter for small enterprises to the Small Business Act”– will be held in
Stockholm on 5-6 October 2009. More information can be found at:
http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/enterprise_policy/charter/conf2009.

Conclusion
The exchange of good practices to foster the start-up and growth of SMEs has become a key instrument
for shaping SME policy in more than 40 countries.

We encourage you to go through the brochure and check which of the measures presented might be
beneficial for SMEs in your country!

4 Good practice selection 2009


1. CASH FLOW FOR BUSINESS GROWTH -
Incentives for reinvesting profits and reducing late payments

If they are to survive financial crises and economic downturns, SMEs must strengthen their equity
base. But quite often, they do not have the financial resources to do so.

One way to help them improve their equity base is to offer them tax incentives for reinvesting their
profits. Many EU countries have introduced these kinds of incentives – some of which are described
in this brochure.

In the EU, most goods and services that businesses provide to other businesses and to public authorities
are not paid for upon delivery. Often, payments are made later than provided for in the contract or
invoice – creating financial problems and uncertainty, particularly for SMEs.

Since 2002, EU rules have allowed businesses to charge interest to other businesses or public
authorities when they fail to pay within the contractual or legal deadline. However, many businesses
and stakeholders think the rules don’t go far enough. The Commission therefore announced further
action in its “Small Business Act”and in the “European Recovery Plan”to help businesses getting paid
on time by other businesses and public authorities.

Good practice selection 2009 5


1.1 Business mediation

Description
Late payments seriously aggravate the business conditions of Hungarian SMEs. Nevertheless, they resort to law suits or
liquidation proceedings only in about half of their justified complaints, because of the slowness, expensiveness and excessive
complexity of bureaucratic judicial proceedings.

To improve the situation, the Ministry for Economy started promoting mediation among SMEs by financing 10 model mediation
cases selected by trade associations. The partner in this program was the Hungarian Mediation Association (www.mediacio.hu).

Objectives
Promoting mediation as a quick, effective dispute resolution method for SMEs by presenting successful cases.

Target group
SMEs, trade associations for SMEs.

Start date End date Other information


05/01/2008 Measure open-ended. —

Communication strategy
Case-studies. Articles in the chambers/federal journal. Presentations at general assemblies of 4 business associations and
during a training day for members.

Assessment by business organisations


Four associations participated in the program, in particular those that could not afford to organise their own arbitration due to
lack of financial or professional capacity.

Contact details of business organisation


“Hungarian Association of Craftsmen’s Corporations, www.iposz.hu.
Information on individual enterprises taking part in mediation proceedings is confidential.”

Statistical info
All model cases could be resolved successfully: instead of law suits taking several years, through mediation all disputes could be
settled in 1-5 sessions (taking 2-3 hours per meeting), saving considerable costs and time. The amount in dispute was between
€1.700 and €330.000.

Why is this measure a success?


Several thousands of enterprises have received information on mediation as an alternative method of dispute resolution.
International experience shows that, by using mediation, 50% of disputes can be resolved during the first meeting already.

Contact Lessons learned


Ministry for National
Development and Economy Because judicial proceedings often take several years to enforce a claim, in the beginning, the firms had rather limited
Istvan Csirke, confidence in the mediation procedure. It was also a problem that the programme financed and monitored only a restricted
Hold utca 17. H number of meetings as a result of which some firms did not want to take part in the programme, considering they had little
1054 Budapest chance of success.
Hungary

E-mail : Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project


csirke.istvan@nfgm.gov.hu —

Website :
www.nfgm.gov.hu;
www.mediacio.hu

6 Good practice selection 2009


1.2 Fiscal stimulus for using shareholder’s dividends

Description
Fiscal stimulus for using shareholder’s dividends instead of external financing. Changes in the “Law on Corporate Income Tax”
stipulating that if a company is not distributing the dividends partially or fully, taxable income is reduced by the amount of
interest which the company would have to pay for an equal loan. The reference rate used to calculate the notional interest
amount is the Central Bank’s average lending rate for national currency in the respective year. The measure has been developed
in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance.

Objectives
Encouraging shareholders to reinvest their profit in the company.

Target group
All businesses. However, the measure is particularly beneficial for SMEs, which face more restricted assess to finance.

Start date End date Other information


01/01/2009 31/12/2013 —

Communication strategy
The measure was part of the yearly ‘Business Environment Improvement Plan’, which is widely publicised and on which the
business organisations are being consulted.

Assessment by business organisations


The Latvian Confederation of Employers and the Latvian Chamber of Trade and Commerce were involved in formulating this
measure and considered it an effective mechanism to reward shareholders for using dividends instead of external financing.

Contact details of business organisation


Latvian Confederation of Employers, Latvian Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

Statistical info
No statistics available yet.

Why is this measure a success?


The measure is a step in the right direction, since during a period when SMEs have less access to finance, it encourages
shareholders to reinvest profits.

Lessons learned
The measure was designed at the beginning of 2008, when tax revenues were still sufficient. However, tax revenues have
decreased substantially in the meantime and the state budget will have a deficit in 2009. Any decrease of taxes is sensitive
during such a period. Nevertheless, honouring the agreement with the business organizations, this measure was implemented
as planned in 2009. Contact
Investment and
Development Agency of
Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project Latvia
— Diāna Laipniece,
Perses St.2 LV
1442 Riga
Latvia

E-mail :
Diana.Laipniece@liaa.gov.lv

Website :
www.liaa.gov.lv

Good practice selection 2009 7


1.3 Supporting development by reinvestment of profit

Description
Financial aid is granted to SMEs that reinvest profits in equipment and machines to increase production capacity or in intangible
assets (industrial property rights). Under the scheme, businesses receive grants amounting to 25% of the profits spent on
assets which they started to use in the previous financial year and which they have paid for in full (maximum grant: €23 000).
The business is required to continue investing for a further 3 years.

Objectives
To promote capital investment and modernisation of SMEs by updating technologies, in order to consolidate their capital and
competitiveness on the market.

Target group
SMEs
a) with a positive balance sheet at the end of the accounting year
b) that have reinvested part or all of their profits;
c) that have bought new tangible and intangible assets which they started by the end of the previous year.

Start date End date Other information


15/05/2005 31/12/2008 —

Communication strategy
Website, press articles, promotion for the SME consultation committee.
Multipliers: territorial offices for SMEs, SME associations.

Assessment by business organisations


The measure has been introduced following consultations with the organisations that represent SMEs.

Contact details of business organisation


The Territorial Office for SMEs and Cooperatives Constanţa
Bd. Tomis 79-81, et.1, cod 900669, Constanţa
Dumitru Nancu, Executive Director
dumitru.nancu@mimmc.ro; www.otimmccta.ro

Statistical info
Number of benefiting companies: 750. Budget for refunding gross reinvested profits: €4 070 000. Amount spent by recipient
businesses on eligible assets, 2005-08: €17 000 000. Of this, 75% was invested in technologies (machines, plant and equipment)
for industries such as textiles, wood, plastic products, construction, market services and trade. 25% was invested in computers,
Contact peripherals and intangible assets.
Ministerul IMM, Comerţ şi
Mediul de Afaceri Why is this measure a success?
Viorica Dragomirescu,
Ileana Modreanu, The measure has lead to increased investment in tangible and intangible assets by SMEs. It provides recipients with an incentive
Calea Victoriei, No 152, to invest a greater share of their profits, thus multiplying the effects of the programme.
Sector 1 010072 Bucuresti
Romania Lessons learned

E-mail :
viorica.dragomirescu@
mimmc.ro; Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project
ileana.modreanu@mimmc.ro —
Website :
www.mimmc.ro

8 Good practice selection 2009


1.4 The Taxation Council

Description
The Taxation Council is an expert committee within PKPP Lewiatan, specialising in tax legislation issues. It organises consultations
on legislative proposals, develops standpoints and presents them in governmental consultations, in parliamentary forums and
through contacts with the President’s office. The Council prepares its own legislative drafts and programme documents, and
carries out research into tax law. It meets regularly to discuss legislative developments, both at national and European level.

Objectives
The goal of the Council is to propose and push for improvements in tax law that will create solutions beneficial to
entrepreneurs.

Target group
Companies operating in Poland, with special consideration for SMEs, which are particularly sensitive to the financial burden
imposed by the tax system.

Start date End date Other information


11/12/2004 Measure open-ended. —

Communication strategy
The Council expresses its opinion on tax legislation. It also organises conferences to discuss the most important changes in
taxation.

Assessment by business organisations


Contact details of business organisation


Robert Pasternak, Deloitte&Touche, Doradztwo Podatkowe Sp. z o.o., ul. Piękna 18, 00-549 Warszawa; KPMG Tax Sp. z o.o., ul.
Chłodna 51, 00-867 Warszawa; MDDP Michalik Dłuska Dziedzic i Partnerzy Sp. z o.o. ul. Książęca 4, 00-498 Warszawa.

Statistical info

Why is this measure a success?


Main achievements:
2005 - amendment to the VAT Law.
2006 - amendment to the Tax Ordinance Law.
2007 - amendment to the CIT Law and publication of the “Tax Almanach”, a list of key tax rules

Lessons learned

Contact
Polish Confederation of
Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project Private Employers (PKPP
This measure was inspired by CBI - The Voice of Business (United Kingdom) and other business organisations. Lewiatan)
Kamila Grobelna,
Klonowa 6 00-591 Warsaw
Poland

E-mail :
grobelna@pkpplewiatan.pl

Website :
www.pkpplewiatan.pl

Good practice selection 2009 9


2. PUBLIC PROCUREMENT

The public procurement market in the EU is worth approximately €1 800 billion – 16% of EU GDP –
giving it the weight to drive innovation, stimulate companies’ growth and create jobs.

A recent study found that in 2005, SMEs won 64% of public procurement contracts whose value
exceeded the thresholds above which EU law applies – equivalent to 42% of the total value of all such
contracts. Given SMEs’ strong contribution to the economy, these figures could be improved.

SMEs’ difficulties in accessing public procurement are mainly related to the procurement culture of
contracting authorities. For instance, to achieve short-term cost savings, smaller lots are combined
into one big tender which is often no longer accessible to/ or manageable for SMEs. Also, all too often
price criteria are weighted heavily at the expense of innovative, environmentally-friendly and more
sustainable products.

The “European Code of Best Practices facilitating access by SMEs to public procurement
contracts”elaborated within the framework of the “Small business Act”for Europe proposed a series of
solutions to the problems encountered and reported by SMEs. The following chapter presents a number
of good practices selected on the basis of the criteria enshrined in this ‘Code of Best Practices’.

10 Good practice selection 2009


2.1 Tendering platform “European Tender Information System”

Description
Most contracts in the EU have a value below the European threshold and so do not have to be published in the EU’S TED
database of tenders - it is enough to publish them in national or regional media. The European Tender Information System
ETIS, a multilingual electronic tendering platform for public procurement, is the only central platform enabling users to search
also for national tenders from 13 European countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Italy, France,
Portugal, Spain, Great Britain, Ireland, Belgium).

Objectives
Opening new markets for SMEs by removing barriers to accessing information about tenders. Improving market transparency
of public procurement in Europe.

Target group
ETIS was specifically developed to take care of the requirements of SMEs.

Start date End date Other information


01/01/2005 Measure open-ended. —

Communication strategy
The service is marketed by sector- and country-specific events and by partners of the Enterprise Europe Network.

Assessment by business organisations


Contact details of business organisation


Statistical info
1,800 businesses tested the ETIS tendering service in Germany in 2008 and and some 2,200 test contracts have been offered
for free for a period of 4 weeks.

Why is this measure a success?


In addition to the tendering service, the ETIS partners offer information about the most important rules concerning the award
of contracts in each country and organise information events for specific countries and sectors.

Lessons learned
Included in the project was a test phase lasting approximately one year with about 1,500 companies participating.

Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project


ETIS is the result of a project supported by the EU via the eContent programme. In 2005/2006 10 EIC and 3 private companies Contact
Berlin Partner GmbH
from 10 EU countries have formed a project consortium to jointly develop this database. nicht angegeben
Fasanenstr. 85
10623 Berlin
Germany

E-mail :
eu-beratung@berlin-partner.de

Website :
www.etisys.com;
www.berlin-partner.de

Good practice selection 2009 11


2.2 Network of Swedish Public Purchasers

Description
SOI(Swedish Public Purchasers) is a meeting place for public purchasers and a network for sharing good practices on how to
make public procurement more efficient. Purchasers from municipalities and counties invite local entrepreneurs to information
meetings on public procurement. During these meetings, the head of public procurement gives a simple explanation of how
tendering works in practice and which points businesses should bear in mind. The meetings have convinced more SMEs to
participate in supplying to the public sector.

Objectives
Stimulating smaller companies at local level to make offers and overcoming possible obstacles preventing new players from
participating in public procurement.

Target group
Actors in public procurement: municipalities, counties, local trade organisations.

Start date End date Other information


01/01/2007 Measure open-ended. SOI (Swedish Public Purchasers) is an association, founded
in 1979. End of Dec. 2008 it had 1100 members. They are
active in the field of public procurement.
Communication strategy
Newspapers, websites, conferences, trainings, various networks etc.

Assessment by business organisations


All information meetings for companies are fully booked immediately.

Contact details of business organisation


Marknad Varberg AB, Näringslivschef Lars-Gunnar Berndtsson tel. 0705-571779; Halmstad kommuns Näringslivsbolag,
T. Fröhlich, torbjorn.frolich@halmstad.se.

Statistical info
Information meetings of the municipalities in the county of Halland have lead to a high participation of SMEs. The number
of offers per framework agreement contract has risen from 4 to 5 and there are more first-time bidders. These are e.g. local
traders concluding contracts to deliver foodstuffs to public housing projects and regional conference centres. The smallest
entrepreneur has a turnover of some 19.000 Euro.

Why is this measure a success?


Entrepreneurs get answers to their specific questions and can talk about the obstacles they encounter. The public procurers get
direct feedback on their tendering specifications. Via the SOI network this method has spread to other counties that now also
organise such information meetings.

Contact Lessons learned


Sveriges Offentliga Inköpare These meetings between purchasers and entrepreneurs are far more important than traditional training on public procurement
(SOI) law.
Lisbeth Johnson,
Box 406 791 28 FALUN
Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project
Sweden

E-mail :
lisbeth.johnson@halmstad.se

Website :
www.soi.se

12 Good practice selection 2009


2.3 SMEs’ access to public procurement

Description
Online tendering procedures can now be used for public contracts that are divided into lots. Under the new rules, the minimum
requirements for tenderers are based on each individual lot rather than the entire contract. This is important for SMEs, which
have often been prevented from tendering in the past by their limited production capacity and an inability to meet the
contracting authorities’ requirements. The Public Procurement Electronic System (SEAP) ensures the free publication of tender
announcements and is the technical platform for applying the procedures(www.e-licitatie.ro).

Objectives
To make it easier for SMEs to tender for public contracts through new rules on contracts divided into lots. To increase transparency
by online information and procedures.

Target group
Small and medium-sized enterprises.

Start date End date Other information


28/07/2006 Measure open-ended. —

Communication strategy
Websistes, information events, press articles. The efforts are also supported by the chambers of commerce and SMEs
associations.

Assessment by business organisations


The initiatives mentioned above have a general impact on the business environment

Contact details of business organisation


The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania - www.ccir.ro Bd. Octavian Goga nr. 2, Sector 3, Bucuresti

Statistical info
In 2008, about 90 000 procurement notices were published. Almost 75 000 of them were accessible to SMEs, which were
awarded contracts in some 56% of the procedures they took part in. They won around 40% of contracts overall, worth 29% of
the total value of all conttracts awarded.

Why is this measure a success?


The facility allows the contracting authorities to organise, assess and finalise award procedures for contracts divided into lots,
having as award criteria “the lowest price” and “the most advantageous offer from the economic point of view”.
Contact
Lessons learned Autoritatea Naţională
— pentru Reglementarea şi
Monitorizarea Achizitiilor
Publice -ANRMAP
Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project Codrin Vulcu,
— dul Dinicu Golescu nr. 38, et.
4, sector 1 010873 Bucuresti
Romania

E-mail :
birouldepresa@anrmap.ro;
codrin.vulcu@anrmap.ro

Website :
www.e-licitatie.ro;
www.anrmap.ro

Good practice selection 2009 13


2.4 Proof of eligibility with a list of eligible entrepreneurs

Description
Tenderers, candidates and subcontractors can use our online database to demonstrate eligibility to contracting authorities
throughout Austria. By the same token, contractors can use the database to find suitable companies for specific tenders.
However, registration, which costs €65 p.a. for a company, is not compusory: tendering authorities must also accept other,
comparable, forms of proof of eligibility.

Objectives
To create an online register of all certificates of eligibility for procurement procedures.

Target group
All companies taking part in public tenders and calls for expressions of interest.

Start date End date Other information


13/12/1999 Measure open-ended. —

Communication strategy
Printed and electronic material for contractors. Presentations to contracting authorities.

Assessment by business organisations


1: The Austrian contractors’ register (ANKÖ) is a great service that helps in providing certificates of eligibility. During tendering
procedures, contracting authorities often require the same documents again and again, which carries a high administrative
cost, in particular for building contractors.
2: The Austrian contractors’ register (ANKÖ) with its list of eligible companies is a tool that contracting authorities and especially
SMEs have found useful in tendering procedures.

Contact details of business organisation


Nr.1: Fachverband der Bauindustrie, Dkfm. Dr. Hans-Peter Haselsteiner, Schaumburgergasse 20/8, A-1040 Wien;
Nr. 2: Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, Dr. Annemarie Mille Wiedner Hauptstrasse 63, A-1045 Wien.

Statistical info
Some 8000 listed-company entries accessed online by 4000 awarding officials, 42 000 times a year, in order to check the
companies’ eligibility (2008 figures).

Why is this measure a success?


• Contracting authorities throughout Austria can check any time if companies are eligible • Companies avoid having to repeatedly
prove that they are eligible for specific tendering procedures and are thus relieved of that burden. • This makes tendering easier
and less bureaucratic. Many studies show substantial potential savings (up to €20 million) for the Austrian economy.

Contact Lessons learned


Auftragnehmerkataster
Österreich (ANKÖ) Extensive technical expenditure to implement this service.
Dipl.-Kfm. Dr. Alfred
Jöchlinger, Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project
Handelskai 94-96 Our application served as a model for “PQ-BAU”, a database set up in Germany in 2006.
1200 Wien
Austria

E-mail :
sekretariat@ankoe.at

Website :
www.ankoe.at

14 Good practice selection 2009


2.5 Incorporating guarantees into public procurement legislation to
protect SMEs

Description
Under the Public Procurement Act, any clause in a public procurement contract is invalid if it excludes or restricts the application
of legal consequences in the event of breach of contract committed by the contracting authority or if it deviates from the Civil
Code with regard to interest for late payment.

Objectives
To make it easier for SMEs to take part in public procurement procedures by offsetting the disadvantages resulting from their
unequal bargaining position.

Target group
Contracting authorities, tenderers, SMEs

Start date End date Other information


07/07/2007 Measure open-ended. —

Communication strategy
Implemented via legal amendment. Contracting authorities were involved in the process.

Assessment by business organisations


Contact details of business organisation


Statistical info
According to statistics kept by the Public Procurement Council, the proportion of public procurement contracts awarded to
micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in 2008 increased both in terms of number and value of contracts (by 8% and 7%,
respectively) compared to 2007.

Why is this measure a success?


Lessons learned

Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project



Contact
Közbeszerzések Tanácsa
Fribiczer Gabriella,
Margit krt. 85.
1024 Budapest
Hungary

E-mail :
fribiczer.gabriella@
kozbeszerzesek-tanacsa.hu

Website :
www.kozbeszerzes.hu

Good practice selection 2009 15


2.6 Reducing chain debts

Description
The amended Public Procurement Act contains a number of rules on the reduction of chain debts among entrepreneurs. In
order to reduce such debts, information notices about the amendment and performance of public procurement contracts must
indicate not only the date by which the contractor must deliver on the contract, but also the date when the payment falls due.
The contracting authority must publish a notice about the payment - or refusal to pay - on its website - if it has one.

Objectives
Firms involved in public procurement procedures can find out whether and when the contracting authority intends to pay them
for supplies and services rendered. The contracting authority’s actual fulfilment of its financial obligations is made transparent,
since it must acknowledge - or refuse - performance of the contract.

Target group
Contracting authorities, tenderers, SMEs.

Start date End date Other information


07/07/2007 Measure open-ended. —

Communication strategy
Implemented via legal amendment.

Assessment by business organisations


The act was adopted following extensive consultations, during which both the contracting authorities and the potential
recipients could present their views. Consultation was also carried out within the Construction Management Working Group.

Contact details of business organisation


Statistical info
According to statistics kept by the Public Procurement Council, the proportion of public procurement contracts awarded to
SMEs in 2008 increased both in number and value (by 8% and 7%, respectively) compared to 2007.

Why is this measure a success?


Lessons learned

Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project



Contact
Közbeszerzések Tanácsa
Fribiczer Gabriella,
Margit krt. 85.
1024 Budapest
Hungary

E-mail :
fribiczer.gabriella@
kozbeszerzesek-tanacsa.hu

Website :
www.kozbeszerzes.hu

16 Good practice selection 2009


3. BUSINESS DYNAMICS:
Easier bankruptcy procedures and business transfers

Businesses that close are a normal phenomenon in a dynamic and healthy economy – 50% of
new companies do not survive for longer than 5 years. But the related bankruptcy procedures
are cumbersome. And even though only 4–6% of bankruptcies are fraudulent, businesses and
entrepreneurs that fail – whatever the reason – have a bad image in most countries.

As a result, failed entrepreneurs often hesitate to make a new start, even though evidence suggests
that the companies of re-starters grow faster and are more likely to survive. That bad image may also
deter potential entrepreneurs from taking the plunge.

Following the adoption of the Small Business Act for Europe in 2008, EU countries were asked to
take steps to improve the situation. This guide gives an overview of what they have done to help
entrepreneurs make a new start. More info can be found at the 2nd chance portal.
http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/entrepreneurship/sme2chance/index_en.html

In the coming years some 690,000 businesses – providing 2.8 million jobs – will need to be handed over
from a generation of ageing entrepreneurs to their successors. Successfully transferring a business
presents an enormous challenge including:

• carrying out the related legal proceedings


• means-adjusting the business so that it is attractive for a successor
• passing on the knowhow to run the business
• building relationships between new management and clients, suppliers and employees.

Financially speaking, transferring an established business can be more demanding than starting one
from scratch. Material and financial assets have to be paid for.

A successful transfer requires timely preparation and expert advice. This guide gives an overview on
policy measures in EU countries to make such transfers easier. Further information can be found at:
http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/entrepreneurship/transfer_en.htm

Good practice selection 2009 17


3.1 Destigmatisation of Bankruptcy

Description
The statutory period for bankruptcy has been reduced from 3 years to 1 year based on the presumption that the majority of
bankruptcies are matters of misfortune rather than misbehaviour. This measure is balanced by a new regime of restrictions to
identify the minority of cases where the debtor’s behaviour merits a more severe restriction.

Objectives
To reduce the stigma of bankruptcy and to encourage a “fresh start”.

Target group
All personal insolvencies – in Scotland this includes sole traders, partnerships and other unincorporated businesses.

Start date End date Other information


01/04/2008 Measure open-ended. —

Communication strategy
Widely publicised in press and in public debate during passage of the Bankruptcy and Diligence Act 2007(Scotland).

Assessment by business organisations


Evidence from stakeholders is collected in volume 2 of the Report of the Enterprise and Culture Committee at http://www.
scottish.parliament.uk/business/committees/enterprise/reports-06/ecr06-07-Vol02.htm

Contact details of business organisation


We intend to do an evaluation on the reforms. This will include an invitation to the stakeholders who contributed to the Bill to
submit evidence on the reforms’ impact on businesses.

Statistical info
Research sponsored by the UK Insolvency Service demonstrates that liberalising bankruptcy law has a pronounced positive
effect on levels of entrepreneurship. (J Armour and DJ Cummings, “Bankruptcy Law and Entrepreneurship”, American Law and
Economics Review 10.2 (2008)).

Why is this measure a success?


The measure reduces social burden of bankruptcy on self-employed and small partnerships, and encourages the principle of a
“fresh start”.

Lessons learned
We had to address public and media perceptions that measures for earlier discharge of debtors is too lenient. We found it
helpful to draw comparisons with the introduction of similar measures in England and Wales.

Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project


Contact
Accountant in Bankruptcy This measure followed similar reforms introduced in England and Wales under the Enterprise Act 2002.
Sharon Bell, Head of Policy
Development,
Pennyburn Road KA13 6SA
Kilwinning
United Kingdom

E-mail :
sharon.bell@aib.gsi.gov.uk

Website :
www.aib.gov.uk

18 Good practice selection 2009


3.2 Debt restructuring & insolvency assistance for SMEs

Description
SME’s on the brink of insolvency benefit from a number of schemes to have their business situation analysed for possible
turnaround options and from a number of financial resources related to social benefits. However, insolvency schemes are fairly
complicated and might not be applied appropriately in smaller localities because know-how is missing. As a pilot project, a
service desk was established in the province of Friesland to which all municipalities can delegate their insolvency support. The
municipalities pay a modest fee for the outsourcing of their support to the service desk. The service desk is financed in part by
these fees, in part from fees paid by entrepreneurs if their business is indeed salvaged and in part from a national fund for the
work done on financial analysis.

Objectives
The practice seeks to assisst municipalities in insolvency support to SMEs by establishing a specialised service desk on the
topic.

Target group
SME’s in financial difficulties. We hope that the pilot project established in Friesland encourages other local authorities to set
up similar service desks for their own region.

Start date End date Other information


01/01/2004 Measure open-ended. —

Communication strategy

Assessment by business organisations


Best to contact one of the many service desks in the Netherlands via websites like:
http://www.myoffice.nl/gids/Stichting_Schuldhulpverlening_Voor_Ondernemers.html
http://www.florijnshvo.nl/

Contact details of business organisation


Statistical info

Why is this measure a success?


Lessons learned

Contact
Ministry of Economic Affairs
Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project Jeannine de la Bursi,
— Bezuidenhoutseweg 20
2500 EC The Hague
The Netherlands

E-mail :
j.s.h.delabursi@minez.nl

Website :
http://www.florijnshvo.nl/;
www.minez.nl

Good practice selection 2009 19


3.3 Restructuring procedure

Description
Restructuring law that enables owners of companies facing financial difficulties to appeal to the court for protection against
creditors’ claims while they draw up a restructuring plan. This makes it possible for the companies to avoid the problems
created by bankruptcy. A pre-bankruptcy procedure has been created, to give companies time to sort out their troubles. The
procedure is an addtitional option for avoiding bankruptcy, but it should not be considered as a guarantee against it.

Objectives
To give the company a new chance to continue doing business after restructuring and to avoid bankruptcy.

Target group
Companies that are facing difficulties, but have the potential to survive. The target group is about 10% of those companies for
which the bankruptcy procedure has been launched.

Start date End date Other information


26/12/2008 Measure open-ended. —

Communication strategy
Press release. Legal act published in the state Official Journal Riigiteataja (www.riigiteataja.ee).

Assessment by business organisations


No feedback yet because the procedure has just been created.

Contact details of business organisation


Statistical info
It is estimated that restructuring measures could save around 800 jobs a year. The minimum direct benefit for the country
would be €1.3m.

Why is this measure a success?


So far no restructuring procedure has been finalised but it is certain that an additional option for companies has been
created.

Lessons learned
No problems have risen so far.

Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project


Restructuring procedures in Germany, Switzerland, Finland and Austria have been used as models.

Contact
Justiitsministeerium
Indrek Niklus,
Tõnismägi 5a
15191 Tallinn
Estonia

E-mail :
indrek.niklus@just.ee

Website :
www.just.ee

20 Good practice selection 2009


3.4 Prêt de Reprise

Description
This new financial instrument is a loan to finance assets within the framework of a business transfer. The business being
transferred must be an SME, and 15% of own funds are required to finance the transfer. All expenses and costs are eligible, the
minimum loan is €5000. The “prêt de reprise” may not exceed 40% of the eligible amount and may not exceed €250000. The
normal period for the loan reimbursement will be between 10 and 14 years, taking into account which assets are part of the
business transfer.

Objectives
To make financial funds available so that businesses may continue to exist once their owner has retired.

Target group
SMEs from various sectors, mainly commerce and crafts.

Start date End date Other information


15/04/2009 Measure open-ended. —

Communication strategy
Press conferences and advertising in professional media.

Assessment by business organisations


Business organisations have reacted very positively to this new instrument.

Contact details of business organisation


Gérard EISCHEN, Membre du Comité de Direction de la Chambre de Commerce, Luxembourg, gerard.eischen@cc.lu;
Marc GROSS, Sous-Directeur Chambre des Métiers,Luxembourg, marc.gross@cdm.lu.

Statistical info
Not yet available. Evaluation is foreseen on a yearly basis.

Why is this measure a success?


Business transfers are one of our country’s most important issues.

Lessons learned
Technical aspects played an important role, and the objective was to keep the system as simple as possible.

Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project


Contact
SNCI
Emmanuel BAUMANN,
Bvd Royal 6
2937 Luxembourg
Luxembourg

E-mail :
emmanuel.baumann@cmt.
etat.lu

Website :

Good practice selection 2009 21


3.5 Business succession checks “Nachfolgecheck”

Description
“Succession checks” shall help business owners intending to sell their business to show potential buyers that their business is
sound. An independent advisor analyses the business’s strengths and weaknesses, covering all areas from the business model
to the accounting system used and the balance sheet. His report reveals the shape the business is in and possible room for
improvement. The report gives potential buyers an idea of the challenges and opportunities awaiting them. Businesses that
have been through a succession check are displayed separately in the businesses-for-sale advertisements.

Objectives
Making it easier for owners to sell their businesses, and thus helping existing SMEs to survive. Promoting the idea of taking
over a business as an alternative to starting one from scratch.

Target group
1. Business owners looking for someone to take over their business
2: Young entrepreneurs wanting to take over a business instead of setting up one from scratch.

Start date End date Other information


01/01/2008 29/05/2009 —

Communication strategy
Succession checks are advertised on the Gründer-Service start-up site (www.gruenderservice.at) and the Nachfolgebörse
businesses-for-sale site (www.nachfolgeboerse.at).

Assessment by business organisations


Contact details of business organisation


Statistical info
The first succession checks are currently underway.

Why is this measure a success?


It allows business owners to demonstrate the soundness of their business. Potential buyers get an objective appraisal of the
business.

Lessons learned
A suitable way of presenting businesses to potential buyers had to be found, assuring that all information could be clearly
presented.
Contact
Wirtschaftskammer
Österreich Gründer-Service Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project
Gerlinde Seidler, No.
Wiedner Hauptstraße 63
1045 Wien
Austria

E-mail :
gerlinde.seidler@wko.at

Website :
www.nachfolgeboerse.at;
www.gruenderservice.at

22 Good practice selection 2009


3.6 Kit.Brunello.System “KBS”

Description
KBS is a set of tools for managing business transfers, including:
1. awareness raising by newsletter and seminars;
2. training and a manual on transfers;
3. analysis tools - quick self-check and questionnaires with personalised profiles;
4. monitoring - viability checks and mentoring;
5. territorial monitoring of the status of SMEs, including statistics.

Objectives
To make businesses aware of the need for timely planning of the transfer and to assist them throughout the process.

Target group
Entrepreneurs, business transfer experts, business organizations etc.

Start date End date Other information


15/07/2006 Measure open-ended. —

Communication strategy
Encouraging business organisations to apply KBS in their territory.

Assessment by business organisations


KBS has been welcomed by business organisations that make our tools available to their members. The special focus on
transfering micro, small and medium-sized businesses means the tool is potentially transferable to all European countries. The
system is easy to use online or off-line. The data collection and processing functions enables institutions to carry out territorial
monitoring.

Contact details of business organisation


Unioncamere del Veneto, Mrs. Holland, erica.holland@eurosportelloveneto.it; Confartigianato Veneto, Mr. Scaggiari,
g.scaggiari@vi.artigianinet.com;

Statistical info
Over 2700 Italian and European addresses identified; 30 seminars, often accompanied by a Quick Self-Check; over 300 recent
downloads of our questionnaire.

Why is this measure a success?


The right combination of ICT tools and face-to-face approach. By participating in numerous transnational projects, we have
learned that there is a need to assist SMEs in the transfer phase and offer effective tools. We also participate in the national
group of experts on family-run businesses/business transfer coordinated by the Ministry for Economic Development to facilitate
the exchange of experience.
Contact
StudioCentroVeneto sas
Lessons learned Antonio Brunello,
Since awareness about business transfer is still very low, KBS includes awareness-raising tools, which also take into account Via G. Imperiali, 77
psychological and relation-specific aspects, often neglected by experts. 36100 Vicenza
Italy
Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project E-mail :
Best Project 2001. The tools can be used by any country. In 2006 NHO, Norway’s National Industry Association, made KBS info@studiocentroveneto.com
available to its members (Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises, Kristian Skjølaas, firmapost@nho.no).
Website :
http://www.
studiocentroveneto.com

Good practice selection 2009 23


3.7 Master 2 Family Business Governance

Description
Master 2 GEF helps students familiarise themselves with all the issues that family businesses have to face, and master tools
and techniques for managing them, i.e. strategy, finance, legal aspects, human resources and globalisation. Master 2 sets out
to promote the exchange of information and skills between professionals. The idea is to supply new knowledge and build on
experience.

Objectives
To train managers and executives in family businesses and family-business advisors. To provide support with starting,
transferring or taking over a family business.

Target group
Managers and executives in family businesses and family-business advisors. Open to students with a Master 1 diploma in
management, law, economics or equivalent diploma.

Start date End date Other information


01/10/2006 Measure open-ended. —

Communication strategy
University website, student guides and word of mouth.

Assessment by business organisations


Contact details of business organisation


Statistical info
On average there are some 40 applicants, of which about 15 are accepted. Some applicants have non-French qualifications.

Why is this measure a success?


Success factors are: a strong theoretical knowledge of family-business issues and the involvement of family-businesses
professionals. The long-term informal partnerships established with local family business as well as the willingness of
professionals to give presentations of their business testify that this type of training is of real interest for family businesses.

Lessons learned
This course should also be open to employees, as part of their ongoing vocational education. However, there is only one
partnership exploring this option, because Master 2 is relatively young and there is no dedicated communication budget.
Contact
Institut d’Administration des Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project
Entreprises (IAE)
Pr Gérard HIRIGOYEN, This type of education programme can be transferred to other countries. It would be interesting to establish partnerships with
Ms Céline BARREDY, similar training porgrammes in other EU countries.
Université de Bordeaux IV, 35,
avenue Abadie
33072 Bordeaux Cedex
France

E-mail :
celine.barredy@u-bordeaux4.fr

Website :
http://www.iae-bordeaux.fr

24 Good practice selection 2009


4. FOSTERING CREATIVITY IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Europe’s small businesses face increasing competition from companies all over the world. In this
situation, creativity and innovation have become an important competitive factor which – if skilfully
applied - could substantially contribute to attaining the Lisbon goals of more growth and better jobs.

Also the creative industries and the cultural sector are of high socio-economic importance for the
Member States. Museums, theatres, TV, radio, video, design, architecture, music and many other
forms of cultural life account for 2.5% of European GDP and 3% of jobs. Prospects in this field open
up potential for many more artists and creative people to start their own business. Yet to fully tap into
this entrepreneurial resource, special incentives and training opportunities are needed. This chapter
introduces some measures which could foster this process. The selected cases range from special
entrepreneurial training sessions to competitions and practical exercises. Some offer unique and
creative combinations of different elements and are in themselves already good examples of creative
and innovative thinking.

Good practice selection 2009 25


4.1 Entrepreneurship in creative industries, University Seminar

Description
Over 70 % of students at Linz’s University of Fine Arts and Industrial Design see themselves as entrepreneurs, a survey found.
An entrepreneurship education seminar was therefore developed for especially for them. The seminar supports them in
planning ahead for the day they set up their own business. Up to eight lecturers (consultants, entrepreneurs and scientific
staff ) cover topics such as business planning, intellectual property rights and support infrastructure especially in the field of
creative services. Students, alumni and staff can attend. Initially funded by a local business incubator, the project was so well
received that it is now funded by the university.

Objectives
To foster an entrepreneurial mindset among art and design students.

Target group
Students from all faculties of Linz’s University of Fine Arts and Industrial Design who are interested in starting a business.

Start date End date Other information


01/03/2006 Measure open-ended. —

Communication strategy
Posters, e-mails and word-of-mouth promotion.

Assessment by business organisations


This seminar was initiated and is still supported by the Upper-Austrian academic business incubator (tech2b founder center
Linz).

Contact details of business organisation


Wirtschaftskammer OÖ (Chamber of Commerce Upper Austria), Mag. Irmgard Müller, Linz, irmgard.mueller@wkoo.at;
tech2b Gründerzentrum GmbH, CEO Mag. Markus Costabiei, Linz, office@tech2b.at.

Statistical info
One of the most popular seminars at the university, with some 300 students taking part and more than 40 business ideas
discussed.

Why is this measure a success?


Students are motivated to take part because they are aware of the importance of self-employment. The seminar focuses on
practical problems and addresses the specific needs of fine-arts students, who can pursue their own business ideas within the
course. Initially optional, the course proved so popular it has now been made compulsory.

Lessons learned
The course has to target the peculiarities of entrepreneurs and start-ups in the creative industry, which is sometimes difficult
Contact
Johannes Kepler University for lecturers from a high-tech business background. Using experts for the respective fields raised the quality of the course
Linz substantially. The course has been redesigned several times, based on evaluation and feedback.
Prof. Dr. Norbert Kailer,
Freistaedter Strasse 315 Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project
4040 Linz

Austria

E-mail :
norbert.kailer@jku.at

Website :
www.iug.jku.at

26 Good practice selection 2009


4.2 Cré Active Toi

Description
Cré Active Toi is a 2.5 day training program in creativity for students of secondary school and higher education. During the
theoretical part, students are introduced to the tools of creativity. For the practical part, an entrepreneur comes into the
classroom to present a problem he faces in daily management. The students will then apply the creative techniques they have
just learnt and recommend the best solutions to the entrepreneur. We also propose a preparatory teacher training programme
in creativity.

Objectives
To train students in creativity, teamwork, communication and self-confidence. To offer entrepreneurs creative ideas developed
by students.

Target group
Students. SME managers wishing to have an outside look on one of their business problems.

Start date End date Other information


01/01/2008 31/08/2009 A first experimental phase took place in 2005.

Communication strategy
Promotion by the Agence de Stimulation Economique, in charge of promoting entrepreneurship in schools and by the BIC
Héraclès which makes direct contacts with the schools.

Assessment by business organisations


“I am very satisfied with the ideas from the students. The students were confronted with a real problem, rather different from
the textbook cases which they have to resolve usually. They were very motivated to reach concrete results. The programme is
offering a new vision for a small company like mine. I took a lot of pleasure to participate in this project.” Daniel Verplaetse,
DVL&K.

Contact details of business organisation


DVL&K, Mr. Verplaetse, Gilly, daniel@dvline.be, www.dvline.be. Hydro-Chic, Mrs Van de Werve, Villers-Perwin, bernadette@
hydro-chic.com, www.solucalc.com.

Statistical info
600 students and 23 companies participating since 2008. Budget for a 1 year programme: €40,000, of which €23,000 for
trainer’s fees. We already have several bookings from schools for the school year 2009-2010. Once a school has agreed on a first
session, usually further demands from that school are following.

Why is this measure a success?


Teachers often complain about the lack of creativity of their students - Cré Active Toi helps them develop these skills. Small
companies often have no time to solve certain problems - Cré Active Toi asks students to do this for them. The students are very
Contact
satisfied to have done this training course and often ask to go further. Business & Innovation Centre
(BIC) Héraclès
Lessons learned Chèvremont Philippe,
Success of the training depends largely on the high quality of the trainers (in our case they have more than 10 years experience). Avenue Général Michel 1E
6000 Charleroi
The “Boîte à Idées”, a simple tool to find original ideas by using creative techniques was found very helful.
Belgium

Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project E-mail :


— phchevremont@heracles.be

Website :
www.heracles.be

Good practice selection 2009 27


4.3 SEB Art of Business – a TV project “Worth a Million”

Description
The SEB bank together with Northtown Technology Park, Lithuanian National Radio and Television, newspapers and the
university of management and economics organized a television project for those considering starting a business. The project
was the first such initiative broadcast on the national television of Lithuania. The main attention was given to meetings
between a panel of well-known businessmen and selected teams. The 4 winners were awarded €290.000.

Objectives
Encouraging innovative, technological or knowledge-based businesses. Stressing the importance of individual initiatives.

Target group
Students, scientists, and spin-off ’s with a business idea but lacking support to implement it.

Start date End date Other information


01/08/2007 18/06/2008 —

Communication strategy
Posters, newspaper adverts, website.

Assessment by business organisations


The SEB bank which is the biggest commercial bank in Lithuania started this initiative. The panel and the SEB bank not only
award the winners, but also give recommendations and practical support for their new business to be successful. This financial
and practical support for the participants and winners are a strong and significant contribution to the Lithuanian business
sphere.

Contact details of business organisation


Ms. Brigita Mačiulytė, AB SEB bankas, Vilnius, brigita.maciulyte@seb.lt.

Statistical info
The popular TV project attracted more than 1,000 new business ideas from applicants between 20 and 60 years old.
24 broadcastings on TV with some 113 000 viewers. The winners:
Kęstutis Špokas - manufacture of exclusive upholstered furniture.
Irmantas Jablonskas - soup restaurant.
Jonas Klimantavičius - master service for householders.
Dainius Padolinskis - Artonline gallery.

Why is this measure a success?


The initiative has shown the demand for practical, professional and financial support and has created a great possibility for new
ideas to be realised.
Contact
Northtown Technology Park Lessons learned
Tadas Armonas, Surveys are showing that while some 50 percent of Lithuanians would like to have their own business, not many of them
J. Galvydzio str. 5 / Zygio str. actually realise their business plan. We will therefore continue this initiative and organise a national business-support project
96 LT-08236 Vilnius with training courses, lectures and meetings with experts and businessmen.
Lithuania

E-mail : Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project


info@smtp.lt The TV programme “Dragon‘s Den”, which was shown in more than 30 countries.

Website :
www.sebverslomenas.lt;
www.smtp.lt

28 Good practice selection 2009


4.4 Gabinete de iniciativa joven

Description
The Gabinete de Iniciativa Joven is a public company of the Regional Government of Extremadura promoting a creative
enterprising culture through education and non-formal educational experiences. We develop skills such as creativity,
cooperation, and leadership. Moreover, we are supporting enterprising young people to put their ideas into action, providing
them with business and social projects and funding.

Objectives
To design and try out creative methods.

Target group
Young people from primary school to university who want to put an idea into action. Public or private organizations interested
in trying out new methods.

Start date End date Other information


16/11/2004 Measure open-ended. —

Communication strategy
Communication campaigns. Our slogan is “Another way of seeing and doing things”.

Assessment by business organisations


At the start of the project we had debates with key people in the region to analyse the goals and to apply their ideas to the
project.

Contact details of business organisation


Not available.

Statistical info
940 initiatives presented by entrepreneurs, 303 projects supported, €2,603,209 of funding. 350 projects with some 3,500
pupils in secondary schools. Experimental programme “Imagine to venture” at primary level.

Why is this measure a success?


The project is a radical experimental proposal from the public administration to redesign the services provided to citizens by
incorporating an intangible value such as creativity. It involves teachers, development agents, policymakers and citizens.

Lessons learned
At first, public administration was reluctant to change. The concept of innovation had so far been linked more to technology
than to new working methods with creative people.

Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project Contact


Regional Government of
The Experience Economy by Joseph Pine, www.strategichorizons.com/joePine.html; Social entrepreneurship to promote Extremadura
change, www.ashoka.org/ Guillermo Varela Arjona,
Palacio de Congresos y
Exposiciones. Avd. Del Río
s/n 06800 Mérida (Badajoz)
Spain

E-mail :
guillermo@iniciativajoven.org

Website :
www.iniciativajoven.org

Good practice selection 2009 29


4.5 Innovation club in the craft sector

Description
In the “Innovation Club”, craft enterprises meet regularly to exchange experiences about innovation in management, marketing,
and technical areas. Participants are invited from different sectors to promote the exchange of best practices between sectors.
Every meeting is organised with a specific topic, e.g. creativity, financing or technology transfer. Topics are mostly of general
relevance to all sectors, but the club can also discuss a sepcific innovation project of one of the members.

Objectives
To share best practices on how to put into place an innovation strategy.

Target group
Heads of craft enterprises in the sectors of machinery, construction, mechanics, food, fashion and health.

Start date End date Other information


01/06/2007 Measure open-ended. —

Communication strategy
The chamber of crafts first contacted enterprises that had already participated in innovation initiatives (training courses,
innovation contest, studies etc).

Assessment by business organisations


This club is the response to a need stated by the enterprises.

Contact details of business organisation


Luxinnovation, Agence nationale pour la promotion de l’innovation et de la recherche, Mme Dehaeck, brigitte.dehaeck@
luxinnovation.lu; Entrepreneur G. Putz, Imatec sàrl, info@imatec.lu.

Statistical info
The number of participants varies between 6 and 25. After 5 meetings, a core group of enterprises participates in all meetings.
New ideas are generated and a group dynamic is now developing. The experience of similar clubs suggests that it will take at
least 2-3 years for the club to be firmly established.

Why is this measure a success?


If the members find they need additional services, e.g. national or international contacts, visits or meetings can be organised
for them. Every session is followed by a drink to allow for networking.

Lessons learned
Contact Success factors: Treating subjects of direct concern to all the participants from the different sectors. Motivating participants to
Chambre des Métiers share positive and negative experiences, helping them overcome potential competition. The number of participants should be
du Grand-Duché de limited to ensure effective discussions.
Luxembourg
Christiane Bram,
Circuit de la Foire Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project
Internationale 2 B.P. 1604 Before launching this idea, Luxinnovation made a benchmarking study of similar projects in other European countries (e.g.
L-1016 France, Germany). Similar projects exist but are not specifically dedicated to the crafts sector.
Luxembourg-Kirchberg
Luxembourg

E-mail :
christiane.bram@cdm.lu

Website :
www.cdm.lu

30 Good practice selection 2009


4.6 Contest - Entrepreneurial Creativity in Tourism

Description
The measure is a competition for tourist and tour operator training firms from secondary schools to prepare an entertainment
programme for tourists. The task is assigned by a real tourist company, which will evaluate the performance of the training
firms. The prize is awarded during the annual training firms fair TF FEST. Prize-winning pupils can do an internship with the real
company, after which they may be offered a job.

Objectives
Support for pupil-oriented initiatives by small businesses aimed at training and recruiting personnel in their field. Fostering
pupils’ creativity and rewarding them for their entrepreneurship. Creating strong links between business and education.

Target group
Pupils between 16 and 19 being trained in tourist and tour operator training firms.

Start date End date Other information


01/02/2007 Measure open-ended. —

Communication strategy
Website, annual training firm fairs involving business representatives and NGOs, meetings with employers and trade
associations.

Assessment by business organisations


The competition, the internships and the development of relations between tourist companies and pupils are evaluated by the
Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum and the Bulgarian Centre of Training Firms.

Contact details of business organisation


Mr Ognyan Blagoev, Miel Travel Sofia, office@miel.travel. Mr. Stamen Tasev, Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum, Sofia,
office@bblf.bg.

Statistical info
Two competitions held; participation of 20 training firms with 300 pupils per year. 4 internships at Miel Travel – 2 pupils
continue to work there.

Why is this measure a success?


The measure supports small and family-run tourist business initiatives to select and train future staff without work experience
but with knowledge and motivation for work. The measure stimulates the pupils’ initiative, entrepreneurship and creativity.

Lessons learned
We work on involving small businesses from other sectors and from the whole country in the initiative. They would set tasks from
their own sector and offer pupils internships with them. We have also designed the project “Business class”, where businessmen
Contact
discuss with pupils from training firms concrete real-world examples, innovative solutions and market innovations. Bulgarian Center of Training
Firms
Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project Mrs. Dariya Mavrudieva,
— 1 Rozova Dolina St., POB 50
1421 Sofia
Bulgaria

E-mail :
info@buct.org

Website :
www.buct.org

Good practice selection 2009 31


4.7 National competition “Cup of Ideas”

Description
The national competition “Cup of Ideas” started in 2007 as a way of bringing knowledge and skills to the authors of innovative
ideas, to further develop their business plans. Every participant receives an individual evaluation of his/her business idea and
business plan as well as recommendations from experts in order to improve their business concept. For particularly high-
quality entries, the participants can also receive start capital. Business contacts are an additional benefit for the participants.

Objectives
To encourage people to start their own business and to promote economic growth in Latvia.

Target group
Any Latvian citizen interested in becoming an entrepreneur.

Start date End date Other information


01/01/2007 Measure open-ended. annual competition with a duration of 6 months

Communication strategy
Articles in the largest daily newspapers and business newspapers. Interviews with participants in the project, TV broadcasts on
national television.

Assessment by business organisations


Many partners have asked for this project to continue. The number of partners has grown from 50 in 2007 to 70 in 2008.
Letter of support e.g. received from Mr Modris Ozoliņš, Director of the Latvian–Norwegian professional MBA programme
“Innovation and Entrepreneurship”, Riga Technical University, Modris.ozolins@rtu.lv.

Contact details of business organisation


Institute for Innovative Solutions, www.innovationhub.lv, Mr Uldis Cimdiņš, uldis.cimdins@gmail.com;
Weekly journal “Lietišķā Diena”,www.ldiena.lv, Ms Marta Rībele, Marta_Ribele@diena.lv.

Statistical info
More than 500 participants submitted 376 business ideas (40% more than in 2007), of which 104 were selected for the second
round. 70 experts and mentors are involved in evaluation and mentoring activities in connection with the competition. At the
moment about 10 business ideas are implemeted, most of them technologically intensive. At least 25% of the business plans
submitted represent a potential for knowledge and technology intensive businesses.

Why is this measure a success?


High interest among partners and society in general to improve opportunities for starting up a business in Latvia.

Lessons learned
It took some time to convince people to take part in the competition.
Contact
Investment and
Development Agency of Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project
Latvia —
Vita Brakovska,
Perses St.2 LV-1442 Riga
Latvia

E-mail :
Vita.Brakovska@liaa.gov.lv

Website :
www.liaa.gov.lv

32 Good practice selection 2009


5. FOSTERING WOMEN’S ENTREPRENEURSHIP

According to EUROSTAT, female entrepreneurs today represent on average just 30% of all entrepreneurs
in the EU. Such unused potential could be a source of new jobs and growth and should therefore be
encouraged.

Women still face specific difficulties setting up and running businesses, especially inadequate/
inflexible childcare arrangements, family obligations and limited access to networking.

Based on the Commission’s Communication on the Small Business Act, DG Enterprise and Industry
is working to promote female enterprise and a business environment that helps women create and
grow companies.

Successful promotion and support programmes should consider the specific needs of female
entrepreneurs. This chapter presents a number of good practices from EU member countries that are
supporting women entrepreneurs.

For more information, see:


http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/entrepreneurship/support_measures/women/wes.htm

Good practice selection 2009 33


5.1 Women’s Enterprise Ambassadors

Description
Entrepreneurship is still often thought to be a male vocation. The Women’s Enterprise Ambassadors initiative wishes to change
this. The Government has nominated 880 female entrepreneurs to inspire others, tell their story and share their experiences as
entrepreneurs. To reflect the wide scope of women’s businesses, the criteria for chosing the ambassadors included their line of
business, the size and age of their business, the number of employees and a good geographical spread.

Objectives
To make more women consider entrepreneurship as a career option.

Target group
Women entrepreneurs and potential women entrepreneurs.

Start date End date Other information


26/03/2008 31/12/2009 —

Communication strategy
The ambassadors are active in their own home town/region. Each ambassador is expected to make at least four visits per year,
for example in schools or different networks. They can also contact the media. To facilitate the ambassadors’ communication
with each other we have created the web portal “Ambassaden”.

Assessment by business organisations


Contact details of business organisation


Statistical info
Following our call, we received more than 1 600 expressions of interest. Most potential ambassadors came forward of their own
initiative, around 300 were nominated by someone else.

Why is this measure a success?


The programme puts women’s enterprises in the spotlight in a simple and effective way. The women entrepreneurs show that
entrepreneurship can be a good alternative to traditional employment. The ambassadors themselves get access to a unique
network of fellow ambassadors all over Sweden.

Lessons learned
The project has received considerable media attention and traffic on the ambassadors’ website has been very high. This way,
in addition to promoting a good cause, the ambassador role has given the participants the opportunity to promote their own
businesses in national, regional and local media.
Contact
Nutek Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project
Gunilla Thorstensson, This measure was inspired by the UK’s Women’s Enterprise Ambassadors project.
Box 4044 102 61 Stockholm
Sweden

E-mail :
gunilla.thorstensson@nutek.se

Website :
http://ambassaden.nutek.se;
www.nutek.se

34 Good practice selection 2009


5.2 National agency for female start-ups: activities and services “BGA”

Description
The national agency for female start-ups (bga) is a nationwide one-stop shop for information, training and networking
possibilities for women entrepreneurs. It offers advice to women starting up or taking over businesses, drawn from the
knowledge and experience of over 1,500 experts. Through its regional representatives in all 16 Bundesländer it acts as a central
platform for key players from the political, business, academic and public sectors. The organisation is jointly sponsored by three
federal ministries (FM): the FM for Education and Research, the FM for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, and the FM
for Economy and Technology.

Objectives
Mobilising the economic potential of women entrepreneurs.

Target group
Female start-ups, women entrepreneurs, women business successors.

Start date End date Other information


01/01/2003 28/10/2010 —

Communication strategy
Monthly press releases, newspaper articles, radio, TV, internet. Approximately 100 awareness-raising events a year.

Assessment by business organisations


All relevant business and stakeholder organisations (such as VDU, DIHK, ZDH etc.) helped establish the bga’s structure and
activities. The service received a broad welcome and the reactions of the target groups were very positive. The bga is constantly
expanding its cooperation with business organisations.

Contact details of business organisation


Verband deutscher Unternehmerinnen (VdU) e.V.,Berlin, www.vdu.de.

Statistical info
9,355,000 visitors to the bga portal, 4,200 first time advice, 3,500 event announcements, 2,600 participants at the bga events,
320 cooperation events and participations in fairs, 210 studies.

Why is this measure a success?


The main benefit of the bga is that it increased the acceptance of women entrepreneurs in business organisations. Use of
e-tools: e-training for new women entrepreneurs, e-mentoring and e-consultancy.

Lessons learned
— Contact
bundesweite gründerein-
nenagentur (bga)
Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project Kronenbitter, Iris,
— Willi-Bleicher-Str. 19
70174 Stuttgart
Germany

E-mail :
Iris.kronenbitter@gruender-
innenagentur.de

Website :
www.gruenderinnenagen-
tur.de

Good practice selection 2009 35


5.3 Enterprising Women in the East of England

Description
Enterprising Women is a virtual business community for women starting or growing a business. It has an on-line community of
over 5000 members, made up of pre- and post-start companies. The founding members successfully run their own businesses
and bring first hand experience of the challenges and thrills of starting and growing a business. Women ambassadors write
articles in local newspapers, talk to pupils, set up peer-support networks and mentor others in business.

Objectives
To enhance social inclusion and wealth for women and regional economic performance.

Target group
Women in the East of England, particularly those in the remote rural areas who find it difficult to attend centres in person
because of limited transport, child-care needs and the geographic dispersal of the support specialists.

Start date End date Other information


01/01/2006 Measure open-ended. —

Communication strategy
Virtual network membership, website and newsletter.

Assessment by business organisations


“Sharing experiences and getting the appropriate information is invaluable when starting your own company.” (Sally Aspinall,
Cerebral Palsy Physiotherapy Centre Ltd.) Sally set up her company to help her daughter and others with cerebral palsy. Since
she wasn’t able to find suitable support in the UK she went to search for help in Poland. Sally stayed in Poland for three month-
long sessions and then decided to bring the therapy over to the UK. She joined Enterprising Women to help others to start their
own business.

Contact details of business organisation


Sally Aspinall, info@cppcltd.co.uk, +44 7905 539 212.

Statistical info
71 businesses with 185 jobs created. 772 businesses helped to improve their performance. 1105 people assisted in skills
development.

Why is this measure a success?


The programme has exceeded all of its targets, such as businesses and jobs created, training days delivered and the number
of beneficiaries. Research shows that women tend to work better and feel more confident in a mixture of formal and informal
Contact environments, which is exactly what we offer.
East of England Development
Agency (EEDA) Lessons learned
Yvona Brandstatterova,
Station Road, CB24 9LQ At the beginning, the challenge was to decide whether to establish a physical or virtual women’s business centre. Due to the
Histon geography of the region and transport issues we opted for the virtual centre. Our current challenge is to make the network
United Kingdom self-sustaining: we will charge membership fees soon. This might lead to an exclusion of potential or existing members.
E-mail :
Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project
yvonabrandstatterova@
eeda.org.uk —

Website :
http://www.enterprising-
women.org; www.eeda.
org.uk

36 Good practice selection 2009


5.4 Action plan to encourage women to become entrepreneurs

Description
In 2008, seven Norwegian Government ministries signed an action plan to promote entrepreneurship among women. The
Action Plan consists of 12 measures, including enhanced rights to maternity and parental leave for the self-employed, increased
grants to micro credit-projects and a research programme to improve womens’ awareness of entrepreneurship. Research has
shown that in 2007 female entrepreneurs received only 19 percent of all grants awarded by Innovation Norway. Therefore, the
AP also identifies women entrepreneurs as a target group for funding in research and innovation.

Objectives
The target of the Action Plan is for women to represent 40% of entrepreneurs by 2013.

Target group
Women. 60% of students at Norwegian universities are women, but women only represent one-third of those starting their
own business, and only one-sixth of entrepreneurs running private limited companies.

Start date End date Other information


01/01/2008 31/12/2013 —

Communication strategy
A focused strategy. Documentary movie with successful female entrepreneurs.

Assessment by business organisations


The Action plan presents examples of successful female entrepreneurs who were invited to share their experiences, e.g. Siri
Kobberrød (Sæterstad Gård AS) and Edel Elvevoll (Fortuna Oils AS). To ensure commitment from the public support system,
Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Research Council were also members of the Action Plan reference group.

Contact details of business organisation


Norwegian Research Council, Hanne Mari Førland, hmf@forskningsradet.no; Innovation Norway, Anne Marie Kittelsen, anne.
marie.kittelsen@innovasjonnorge.no.

Statistical info
The GEM report 2008, available from Eirik Pedersen, ep@kpb.no, will evaluate the effects of the Action Plan. An interim report
already shows significant improvements in the defined measures.

Why is this measure a success?


The action plan, signed by seven Ministries, has broad political support. It has a definite and time-specific goal and 12 specific
measures. The AP is initiating a research programme to improve the awareness of entrepreneurship among women. The insights
from this research programme will be decisive when designing future policies aimed at enhancing female entrepreneurship.

Lessons learned
Contact
Elaborating measures to target women specifically, especially public sector programmes, in line with international/ESA The Norwegian Ministry of
standards. Trade and Industry
Johanna Ellefsen Rostad,
Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project P.O. Box 8014 0030 Oslo
Norway

E-mail :
johanna-ellefsen.rostad@
nhd.dep.no

Website :
www.nhd.no

Good practice selection 2009 37


5.5 Going for Growth Initiative

Description
Since research indicates that role models have a positive impact on encouraging early stage entrepreneurship, Enterprise
Ireland has organised a series of 8 roundtables with 8 participants to provide support to female entrepreneurs. Peer support
was offered under the direction of a lead entrepreneur who is running her own business. Each applicant was aksed to identify
three barriers that posed a challenge in growing the business and to indicate how she considered that the initiative would
benefit her and her business. The initiative was co-supported by the NDP Gender Equality Unit with EU funding.

Objectives
Creating a forum to support women starting and growing their own business.

Target group
Women starting and growing their own business.

Start date End date Other information


10/02/2007 Measure open-ended. —

Communication strategy
The roundtables were concluded with a National Forum in Kildare.

Assessment by business organisations


“The initiative provides an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs planning to grow their businesses. It strongly involved the
participants, with firm leadership from the Lead Entrepreneurs. The key to success was the management, the focus on good
topics and the good communication among participants. I hope that the initiative will be expanded into other countries. This
way participants can learn from each others’ experiences and perhaps do business with each other.” Martina Minogue, eTeams
(Lead Entrepreneur).

Contact details of business organisation


Paula Fitzsimons, Founder & MD of Fitzsimons Consulting and National Director of Going for Growth, paula@goingforgrowth.eu.

Statistical info
57 entrepreneurs participated in the pilot programme, with 80% of businesses having been set up since 2000 and currently
employing less than five people.

Why is this measure a success?


The programme was considered a great success by participants and lead entrepreneurs alike. Participants felt that being
an owner/manager could be a very isolating experience and that meeting individuals in similar situations had been rather
Contact stimulating. The initiative is more intensive than a regular networking event as participants interact with a mentor or ‘lead
Enterprise Ireland, entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship And
Regional Development
Brendan Flood, Lessons learned
4500 Atlantic Avenue, At present, many of the participants are still focused primarily on local markets. Our initiative is expected to bring a shift in this.
Westpark - Shannon
Ireland Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project

E-mail :
brendan.flood@enterprise-
ireland.com

Website :
www.goingforgrowth.com;
www.enterprise-ireland.com

38 Good practice selection 2009


5.6 Regional programme for women’s entrepreneurship

Description
Regional programme for women’s entrepreneurship with 4 areas of activity: innovation, credit, networks and information.
Workshop “Women entrepreneurs and professionals for innovation” and a common stand for entrepreneurs at the international
exhibition for innovation in Bologna “Research to Business (R2B)” 2007; award for the most innovative women’s enterprise;
local seminars.

Objectives
Promoting the adoption of innovation systems and competitive development processes; highlighting innovative women’s
entrepreneurship.

Target group
Micro and small women’s businesses, professionals with projects to do with new scientific and/or technological know-how.

Start date End date Other information


06/10/2007 30/10/2008 —

Communication strategy
Website, local presentation of the activities together with business representatives; interviews and publication of examples of
excellence; call centre.

Assessment by business organisations


Architect Federica Benfatti underlined the importance of the awards as an opportunity to get to know different businesses and
create cooperation. Ilva Moretti considers the experience a good practice of institutional cooperation.

Contact details of business organisation


Federica Benfatti, Architect, Bologna, fedebenatti@tin.it; Ilva Moretti, Regional coordinator of the women’s entrepreneurship
committees of the Chambers of commerce, assistenza@assistenzapiacenza.191.it.

Statistical info
Following the introduction of our measures in the past 5 years, women enterprises have grown by 5.3% in our region. Positive
profitability indexes (production +15% in 2007, +15% cost of qualified personnel, +10% investment in R&D, industrial
patents, intellectual property etc). 128 projects participating in the award (84 enterprises, 44 professionals. Average age 29-
34 years). Most innovative sectors: bio-building, bio-architecture and projects with high-tech content.

Why is this measure a success? Contact


The measure has increased the number of women entrepreneurs investing in regional R&D projects. For more details, see our Region Emilia-Romagna,
statistical report “Women’s entrepreneurship in the region Emilia-Romagna: paths of development 2007”. Directorate for economic
activities and development
Lessons learned Morena Diazzi,
Viale Aldo Moro, 44
Female entrepreneurs still tend to invest less in innovation and research. It is therefore important to support women in sectors 40127 Bologna
with a higher presence of technical and scientific skills and capacities (health, nanotechnologies, ICT). Italy

Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project E-mail :


Mdiazzi@regione.emilia-
No.
romagna.it

Website :
www.ermesimprese.it\
imprenditoriafemminile;
www.regioneemilia-
romagna.it

Good practice selection 2009 39


6. FOSTERING ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN SMES

SMEs are a main contributor to the goals in the EU’s 2008 climate action package:

• 20% energy savings by 2020


• 20% reduction of CO2 emissions
• 20% renewables in the energy mix by 2020
• 10% bio fuels in the transport sector by 2020

If SMEs use energy more responsibly and efficiently, they will not only save money but also have
an impact on the image of their company as an energy- and environmentally-responsible company.
Moreover, SMEs should be aware of the emerging business opportunities in related industries.
More investment in new and better-performing technologies will ensure that companies actually
make the leap from successful demonstration to effective application and eventual mass deployment.
This brochure presents successful policy measures from EU member countries in this respect.

As one of the major programs, the 2007-13 Intelligent Energy - Europe programme will fund projects
that encourage the wider uptake of new and renewable energies and improve energy efficiency. It is
part of the EU’s Competitiveness and Innovation programme and has a budget of €730 million,
with special priority given to SME participation.

SMEs can also get information on funding opportunities and the applicable laws from their local
Energy Agencies and partners of the Enterprise Europe Network.

For more information:


www.managenergy.net; www.ec.europa.eu/enterprise-europe-network

40 Good practice selection 2009


6.1 Cleantech Finland brand

Description
In 2008, more than 100 of Finland’s leading cleantech firms set up a joint brand strategy. The “Cleantech Finland” brand supports
Finland’s environmental business sector with the goal to build the country’s reputation as a leading cleantech supplier on the
global market. The brand is owned by Confederation of Finnish Industries EK and financed by those organizations that have the
right to use the brand (among others competence clusters in the energy and environmental sectors).

Objectives
To raise Finland’s profile as the best-known cleantech country on potential markets by 2012 and increase awareness of Finnish
enterprises amongst national and international stakeholders.

Target group
Companies in industries like energy, waste management and recycling, management of water resources, biofuels, eco-efficient
housing etc.

Start date End date Other information


15/01/2008 Measure open-ended. —

Communication strategy
Launch of the brand at the 2009 Delhi Sustainable Development Summit which brought together the world’s top environmental
decision-makers. Finland’s President, Tarja Halonen, opened the event.

Assessment by business organisations


See:
http://www.sitra.fi/NR/rdonlyres/E95E8D33-4A85-40D6-AF42-57A61DCCE9A6/1055/FECC_Cleantech_Portfolio_42008.pdf

Contact details of business organisation


Confederation of Finnish Industries, Jukka.Koivisto@EK.fi, www.desinfinator.com, www.ehovoc.fi, www.vaisala.com,
www.dekati.com, www.environics.fi.

Statistical info

Why is this measure a success?


The brand gives visibility to small and innovative firms operating in conjunction with bigger companies. Finland is not a big
player on the market, but in some key areas of the cleantech sector, such as energy efficiency, water treatment and bioenergy,
the country has top-level expertise in global terms. Since 2000, Finland has three times been ranked number one among
146 countries in environmental sustainability and performance (ESI index/World Economic Forum).
Contact
Lessons learned Cleantech Finland / Finpro ry
— Santtu Hulkkonen,
P.O. Box 358
Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project 00181 Helsinki
Finland

E-mail :
Santtu.Hulkkonen@Finpro.fi

Website :
http://www.finpro.fi/en-US/
Finpro/

Good practice selection 2009 41


6.2 Energy-Efficient Company Awards

Description
An award scheme set up in 1996 to recognise energy-efficient businesses and projects and projects making efficient use of
renewable energy sources. The competition is open to companies that have reduced their energy use and environmental load
in the last 5 years through investments in energy efficiency or organisational measures.

Objectives
Promotion of energy efficiency and efficient use of renewable energies in companies and projects. Exchange of good
practices.

Target group
Industry, services and public sector and represenatatives of apartment buildings with energy efficiency projects.

Start date End date Other information


09/01/2009 20/04/2009 —

Communication strategy
Media coverage. Award ceremony during the Conference of Slovenian Energy Managers.

Assessment by business organisations


“The Award for the Energy Efficient Company which we received is very important to us, since it enables us to communicate
to our customers that we are an environmentally friendly company. Even though the company is constantly growing, we have
managed to reduce the amount of energy used. At the same time we managed to cut related costs by 3% and CO2 emissions
by 17%.” Ivan Hribar, CEO, Terme Snovik, Slovenia.

Contact details of business organisation


Stane Merše, Head of Energy Efficiency Centre, Institute ”Jožef Štefan”, Ljubljana, stane.merse@ijs.si, www.rcp.ijs.si/CEU.

Statistical info
In 2004 we launched a two-day seminar presenting and awarding best practices in the field of energy efficiency and efficient
use of renewable energy sources. Over the years we have educated approximately 1100 participants, and the number of
applicants is rising.

Why is this measure a success?


The award gives financial incentives to companies preparing the best project in the field of energy efficiency and/or in the use
of renewable energy sources. The project stimulates people from different branches (research institute, ministry, university and
Contact business) to cooperate in search of the best project.
Newspaper Finance /
Institute Jožef Štefan / Lessons learned
Ministry of the Evironment At the outset, the awareness of projects that stimulate efficient use of energy was not very high and the number of applicants
and Spatial Planning
Urška Kukovič (newspaper was small. By constant broad media coverage, we have increased the number of applications.
Finance),
Dalmatinova 2 Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project
1000 Ljubljana —
Slovenia

E-mail :
urska.kukovic@finance.si

Website :
http://www.finance-
akademija.si/energetiki/

42 Good practice selection 2009


6.3 Coordinated food distribution

Description
Some Swedish municipalities have dramatically changed their transport of foodstuffs for day-care centres, schools, homes for
the elderly etc.. Before, suppliers delivered their products to the individual entities themselves, which meant many transport
movements. Now, transport and food are being purchased separately. Suppliers drive their products to a distribution centre
from which all products are transported by one and the same distributor. This has considerably reduced transport movements
to the public entities.

Objectives
To development a more environment-friendly and secure transport system. More business opportunities for small suppliers.

Target group
Suppliers and purchasers in the transport and foodstuffs sectors.

Start date End date Other information


09/01/1999 Measure open-ended. —

Communication strategy
Info on the website of the municipality of Borlänge (www.borlange.se).

Assessment by business organisations


Contact details of business organisation


Statistical info
The distribution network consists of 125 local entities in 4 municipalities. The new sytem has reduced the number of lorry
kilometres and related emissions.

Why is this measure a success?


Several smaller local suppliers can now sell their products to schools and other local entities. Before, they had to deliver their
goods themselves, and many did not have the resources to do so. This has led to a higher percentage of regional and organic
foodstuffs being used and more competition. An important part of the new food distribution system is an electronic trade
system, connected to the suppliers and distributors, through which the entities can order their food.

Lessons learned
We only had three months to introduce the system. This was a relatively short time, but still the coordinated distribution
quickly came up to speed. It can also be a good thing to implement changes within a short time span. We did not have time to
think about everything that could have gone wrong.
Contact
Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project Borlänge kommun
— Anders Bringborn,
Röda v. 50
78181 Borlänge
Sweden

E-mail :
anders.bringborn@borlange.se

Website :
www.borlange.se

Good practice selection 2009 43


6.4 Ecology grant

Description
The Flemish government established in 2004 a scheme of ecology grants. Every year 3 calls for expressions of interest are
organised for businesses with investment projects. Submitted proposals are evaluated and graded and the available budget
for grants is divided among the best-rated investment projects.

The amounts granted are calculated by taking into account the extra ecological costs involved for every component of the
investment project.

Objectives
To encourage businesses to make their production processes more environment-friendly and energy-efficient.

Target group
Any SME in the Flemish region which is planning ecological investments is eligible.

Start date End date Other information


01/10/2004 Measure open-ended. —

Communication strategy
Newspapers, information meetings. Website with application forms.

Assessment by business organisations


Contact details of business organisation


Statistical info
The vast majority of ecological investments are done by SMEs. Of all projects proposed, about 88% came from SMEs. During the
first two calls, demand perfectly matched supply.

Why is this measure a success?


All applications met the criteria and every applicant received a grant. After the first call, 240 businesses committed to
investments worth €334.76 million. The second call resulted in grants to 251 companies, with ecological investments worth
€391.44 million.

Lessons learned
Because of the action’s success demand is by now far bigger than the available budget. So it has been decided to switch to a
Contact fixed amount per call.
Vlaamse overheid,
Agentschap Ondernemen
Tim Ampe, Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project
Koning Albert II-laan 35 The ecology grant scheme is inspired by similar actions in the Netherlands, the Milieu-investeringsaftrek and Willekeurige
bus 12 Afschrijving Milieu-investeringen, which are tax schemes for businesses investing in environment-friendly means of
1030 Brussels production.
Belgium

E-mail :
ecologiepremie@vlaanderen.be

Website :
www.vlaanderen.be/
ecologiepremie

44 Good practice selection 2009


6.5 Energy Saving Scotland - small business loans scheme

Description
The Energy Saving Scotland scheme provides SMEs with interest-free loans of between £1000 and £100 000 to invest in a
variety of measures, including high efficiency electric motors, more efficient plant/machinery and a range of renewable-
energy technologies. Before getting a loan, businesses receive an energy review carried out by an approved energy consultant.
Any energy efficiency measures must pay for themselves in no more than 5 years - renewable energy technologies may take
longer.

Objectives
To help SMEs save energy and reduce their carbon emissions.

Target group
Scottish SMEs with the exception of fisheries businesses.

Start date End date Other information


08/12/2008 Measure open-ended. Originally launched in 1999 as Loan Action Scotland

Communication strategy
Direct mailing, website with application form. DVD case studies.

Assessment by business organisations


Harveys Ltd, Loanhead, specialised in the manufacture of stationary: “We have received two loans for the installation of a new
heating system and roller doors. Installing suspended gas-fired air heaters has increased the efficiency of the factory heating,
saving the company more than £4,300 a year and reducing our CO2 emissions by 52.3 tonnes. Consequently we installed automatic
high speed roller doors reducing the amount of heat lost from the building saving 14.9 tonnes of CO2 and £1490 p.a..”

Contact details of business organisation


Contact details can be supplied on request.

Statistical info
So far, 234 loans have been provided to SMEs, worth over £4.8 million. In 2007/08 alone, a record 68 loans were offered, worth
over £1.6 million and estimated lifetime carbon savings of 19,000 tonnes.

Why is this measure a success?


Demand for loans is increasing year on year. Each loan has to be repaid within 4 years for energy efficiency measures and 8
years for renewable energy installations. Repayments go back into the scheme towards future loans.

Lessons learned

Contact
Energy Saving Trust
Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project Matt Fraser,
The UK Carbon Trust introduced a similar scheme later. Today we work in partnership to share best practice and re-evaluate 3rd Floor, Ocean Point 1,
criteria and conditions. This led to simplifying and halving the loan appraisal time to 5 working days. 94 Ocean Drive EH6 6JH
Edinburgh
United Kingdom

E-mail :
matt.fraser@est.org.uk

Website :
www.energysavingtrust.
org.uk

Good practice selection 2009 45


6.6 Financial support of investments in energy savings

Description
Under this scheme, grants are awarded to businesses investing in: cogeneration of electricity and heat, renewable energy
sources (RESs), energy saving, and substitution of electricity or other conventional fuels with natural gas. The scheme was run
as part of the “competitiveness” operational programme and co-financed by the EU, the Greek state and the private sector.

Objectives
Ensuring the competitiveness of the economy and the availability of affordable energy. Promoting environmental sustainability
and combating climate change. Reducing dependence on imports of primary energy sources.

Target group
All businesses. The majority are SMEs.

Start date End date Other information


07/11/2001 31/12/2008 —

Communication strategy

Assessment by business organisations


Contact details of business organisation


Statistical info
129 Energy saving projects are being implemented. The annual primary-energy saving is expected to be 2 287 488.78 MWh
and annual CO2 emissions are expected to be cut by 796 865.65 t.

Why is this measure a success?


Lessons learned

Measure inspired by the following Member State/Best project


Contact
Ministry of Development
Dimitrios Alexopoulos,
119, Mesogeion Avenue
101-92 Athens
Greece

E-mail :
alexopoulosd@ypan.gr

Website :
www.ypan.gr

46 Good practice selection 2009


NB-BA-08-002-EN-C