I am just back from the family business project meeting in Kaunas. We are running this project since one year and the aims, as described here, are to assess the situation, needs and competencies of small family driven businesses in our region and to connect them with other small businesses in Europe, namely in Lithuania, Latvia, Wales and Turkey.
We started with researching the situation of such small businesses in each of these countries.
There is no legal definition of the term family business but mainly these are small enterprises, which represents with about 90% the majority of the enterprises in the Languedoc-Roussillion region.
The numbers are similar in all partner countries and also that there are central governmental programs to support them but with a limited impact.
Well, we try to change that a bit with our project, even though we can only work 8-10 enterprises but very individually. We interview the owners of the companies, record their business story, reflect on the results and discuss possible improvements.
While doing this we pay attention on a balanced interaction and mutual cooperation. We know, it makes no sense to propose a general program for further development as the needs and experiences are very different. However there are some similarities beyond national borders:
- getting knowledge about web based tools for marketing/networking
- the wish to be better connected with businesses, decision makers on regional level
- get in contact with other businesses in Europe
Thanks to Europe, we can offer some family representatives the participation at international meetings to conenct with their colleagues.
We have a huge variety of businesses we are working with and of course, we aim also to find synergies and group interests. During each international meeting we'll carry out a workshop, based on what is needed.
In Kaunas, Hagen gave a workshop about social media applications, even though everyone seems to know them but many are not really efficient in using them. During the next meeting in September in Wales we will perform a workshop "How to network?". Also this topic meets a need of many of our businesses.
The Welsh government has just realized that small businesses needs support and we will take the opportunity to bring them together with a selection of businesses from Europe to "ensure" they doing the right things ;-)
However, all this is a proposal, served on a silver tray, but the family businesses needs to contribute and being active by themselves.