An overview of the Challenge Analysis and Competence Framework

As a result of problematic or failed succession processes, many SMEs must close or lose competitiveness and value, despite being economically sound. 30% of successions fail, putting around 150,000 companies and 600,000 jobs at risks each year. The actual challenges and necessary competencies of SMEs and successors remain as a significant research gap despite this topic being so important. There is no basis for a comprehensive competency framework on which to develop targeted resources and assessments – a major reason why existing support services for the target groups have not yet led to a reduction in the high failure rate of succession processes.

As a stand-alone resource, R1 is aimed at:

  1. SME owners and potential successors to make them aware of the challenges and competencies needed to plan for and tackle the succession process.
  2. Policy makers and VET Providers to gain in-depth knowledge about the needs of the target groups, enabling them to tailor their existing services to meet their needs by developing suitable policies & frameworks to support and strengthen the SME succession sector..

Our impact model is centred around the challenge analysis and competence framework. By conducting desktop research then directly involving central target groups in the creation of the study, we generate impact from the very beginning. We have exposed SME’s, potential successors and VET experts to innovative questions and thought-provoking impulses even before the first output has been completed, thus creating a changed perception of the topic. By targeting policy makers and the VET sector and exposing them to in-depth knowledge of the challenges faced by the target group, we will empower them to develop targeted and solution-oriented policies and frameworks that have a direct and sustainable impact. They will then be able to align their supports and policies with the needs of the target groups. This knowledge is also directly transferred to other results.

PR1 aims to increase the likelihood of SME succession planning based on an integrated, needs based and individual approach. It is innovative because it fills in the knowledge gaps regarding the specific challenges faced by small and medium sized businesses and potential successors. It is also the first comprehensive approach to develop a competence framework that can be used to guide the development of resources for the targeted groups. This way, R1 is an innovation enabler for the subsequent results. Furthermore, R1 will include a detailed overview and case studies of the existing financing, funding and support structures for SME succession in the partner countries, with policy recommendations based on identified gaps.

In R1, we follow a methodology based on our impact model and a belief that the following resources must be based on accurate findings specific to our target groups. As we take an integrated approach, it is important that the materials are aligned. For the purpose of gaining the crucial information, we interviewed a variety of former SME owners, new/potential successors, and VET experts. The purpose of interviewing is to gain a first-hand comprehensive detailed understanding about the competencies and supports needed to ensure a successful transition and support the development of an SME Succession Readiness Competence Framework.

Interview topic areas included;

  • Motivational Topics (Drivers)
  • Challenges
  • Knowledge and Skills
  • Goals/Targets
  • Emotion
  • Facilitators/Support/Strategies
  • Needs (what was missing)
  • Planning
  • Policy Drivers
  • Technical Topics

As mentioned, the findings report will be the basis and support for continuation of additional results in the project and this knowledge is not only important for the development of our resources – it also helps policy makers to develop appropriate policies and support structures, as well as the providers of existing projects and services to adjust their offerings and orient them to the actual challenges of the target groups.

  • Research Capabilities
  • Succession Competence
  • (VET) Training Competence
  • Network Reach to SMEs, VET and Policy
  • Dissemination / Exploitation

The activities of CCIS in the field of succession have focused mainly on the collection of statistical information, analysis of such information and the drafting of informative and training documents aimed at companies. In other words, tasks closely linked to awareness, information and analysis on the situation in the field of succession, both related to large companies and SMEs.

Based on our competencies we will take the role especially about the VET Transfer Packages of R2 and R3 – but will also provide important added value to all other project resources.

Author: Shauna Moran, Meath Council