On 22 September 2022, the European Economic and Social Committee – EU’s consultative body – adopted an own initiative opinion on “Business transfers as promoters of sustainable recovery growth in the SME sector” drafted by rapporteur Mira-Maria Kontkanen. The report puts a particular emphasis on micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises. 

CECOP welcomes the report’s recognition of the fact that “Business transfers are an important strategic process ensuring the continuity of businesses and safeguarding employment,” especially in rural and mono-industrial areas. According to the European Commission’s statistics cited by the EESC, business transfers conserve on average five jobs whereas a start-up only generates two jobs on average. Thus, the report asks to give business transfers a strong role in the EU’s and Member States’ recovery and growth policies.  

In particular, we strongly welcome the EESC’s invitation to promote business transfers under the form of a cooperative, recognizing the creation of cooperatives and other worker-owned social economy enterprises as a best practice. The report acknowledges cooperatives’ resistance to crisis situations and quotes EESC opinion INT/925, which highlights employee buy-outs as good practice for re-launching firms in crisis and transferring SMEs whose owners have no successors. 

EESC’s report points out several aspects that are important in the context of promoting business transfers, such as:  

  • Awareness-raising activities on business transfers  
  • Capacitating business and other support organisations to promote and assist with the transfers 
  • Ensuring availability of funding   
  • Including relevant training in secondary and higher entrepreneurship education curricula 
  • Promoting business transfers to young and female entrepreneurs  

Read the full report (in all EU’s official languages) here.