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Why the FAME programme ?

A former project helping SME Family Business (FB) owners and/or managers to cope with the complex challenges of the imposing generational transition, the INSIST project, produced country reports on the partner countries’ SME FB systems and the findings proved to be much more significant than anticipated. The results of Insist research, outreaching much beyond the scope of that project can be boiled down in two major outcomes:

  • There is an increasing need for appropriate SME FB-mentor trainings with special focus on soft skills, hard knowledge and competences in the countries, but such courses are essentially missing. This conclusion originated another ongoing VET project, called TRUST-ME, targeting to produce VET teaching modules for fast-track SME FB-mentor training.
  • During the implementation of the project Insist partners realised that a very dynamic development of the FB research is evolving rapidly in Europe. Family Businesses (FB), giving an overwhelming contribution to the countries’ GDPs (above 70%!), are endangered without having external support helping them develop a sustainable strategy in general and manage a velvet GT in particular.

Getting in contact with protagonists in FB issues in Europe like the Cepor-Transeo (EU association) and the BUSINESSHUNGARY - BUSINESSEUROPE (EU federation) partners understood that INSIST could be considered as a light VET medication to solve the problem.
But, in order to handle the problematic in the long run partners need to resort to heavier measures and develop a much more in depth remedy, a complete 2nd year of a Master programme with an extended scope for the SME FBs.
In particular it turned out that governance transmission is a real weak point of the GT and that internationalisation should be among the priorities at the very first stages of GT. This was the real genesis of the present project proposal.
The employment aspects of the proposed trainings are not negligible. Appropriate HR policy of SME FBs makes new engagements possible and this applies to the employment of minorities and immigrants as well.

An ongoing preparatory research shows that beyond targeting the known needs of the SME FBs there is a special need for and a promising potential to emphasise a neglected area of research, namely the analysis of adaptability of theories well elaborated for large enterprises but not jet modified to meet the needs of SME FBs. Sustainable corporate financing, mergers and acquisitions, environmental accounting are outstanding examples for such research. Conditions of SME FBs’ integration into the global value chains as subcontractors or suppliers are to be analysed and defined.
To be able to get noticed by large firms they need to be able to present themselves and their offerings appropriately. They need to understand how global value chains work and to understand how they need to be able to adjust to the changing needs. Global standards and global business practices normally are not what they would follow on daily basis, but if they want to get integrated into a global value chain that is required. Moreover, ownership matters, deepened generation transition issues must also be built into the teaching content. Another point unreavelled from the preparatory work: Countries suffer from multiple dualities: There is a gap between foreign owned and nationally owned business performance and behaviour. The behaviour of the suppliers of major internationals integrated into global value chains is also markedly different from suppliers to the domestic market. These investigations will provide with basic material for the Master’s content development.

Master students, young and adults, are targeted as would-be or operating family entrepreneurs. The strong on-line elements of the training modules to be developed ensure easy access for the diverse target groups and will also enhance the level and comply with mainstream HE development.
The invited countries have various experience and practices in supporting SME FBs with trainings. The proposed cross border cooperation, together with strong research background behind them gives the basis for an innovative practice development strengthening the relevance of the HE curriculum systems of the partners.
Since the project invests into a widely demanded issue and fall into line with the partner countries’ governmental strategies, sustainability of this education investment can be anticipated.