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 19th and 20th May, 2009

Conferences and Workshops:
   Record of Proceedings

Business transfer in Europe: a global issue, a local approach             4

First plenary session
Business transfer: is it all about awareness?                              6

European Cafe
Summary of discussions                                                    10

Second plenary session
The role of support services in the business transfer process             14

Workshop 1 - Strategies for raising the seller’s awareness                18

Workshop 2 - Towards a synergy between private and public organizations   22

Workshop 3 - Matching platforms: the best is yet to come                  26

Closing ceremony                                                          30

Lessons learned and conclusions                                           34

Programme                                                                 36
List of participants                                                      38

    Introduction   Business transfer in Europe:
                   a global issue, a local approach
                                                                          do not find a buyer. Another key point emphasized
                                                                          by Jean-Claude Marcourt during this introduction is
                                                                          the fact that takeovers have a lower failure rate than
                                                                                                                                    start-ups (especially since the success rate of busi-
                                                                                                                                    ness transfers is greater than that of start-ups).
                                                                                                                                    Amongst other conclusions, he pointed to the
                                                                          start-ups.                                                importance of timely preparation (in the Nether-
                   Europe’s population is aging and the potential for                                                               lands and Austria, business owners approaching
                   business transfers is increasing. Often complex in     What actions can be taken to improve SME trans-           retirement age systematically receive notification
                   nature, business transfers can be doomed to failure,   fers? Jean-Claude Marcourt referred to the impor-         letters) and also visibility. Marko Curavic pointed
                   not because the company itself is not viable but       tant work to be carried out in terms of the psycholo-     out that only 10% of buyers are currently listed in
                   because of problems that occur during the transfer     gical aspects of business transfers, still shrouded in    electronic databases. It is widely regarded as a tou-
                   phase. What can we do to reverse this trend?           extreme secrecy, and also in relation to matching, in     chy area, shrouded in secrecy, however standards
                                                                          order to determine the shortest and most efficient        must be established in order to ensure that the data
                                                                          path between sellers and buyers.                          contained in databases is of high quality and upda-
                                                                                                                                    ted regularly. Another area requiring attention: the
                                                                          In relation to the initiatives taken in the Walloon       taxation system, which could be made more «trans-
                                                                          region, the Minister spoke about the establishment        fer friendly».
                                                                          of Sowaccess in 2006, which has succeeded in
                                                                          linking up more than 500 businesses in the space          «Most people only transfer one business in their life-
                                                                          of three years. This has resulted in 15 successful sale   time, which does not allow them the opportunity to
                                                                          transactions and the creation of a database compri-       build up experience in this area. In Italy, they are cur-
                                                                          sing 140 sellers and 150 buyers.                          rently running a pilot project focused on mentoring
                                                                                                                                    and coaching SMEs. We will not know the results until
                                                                          «Sowaccess has long-standing ties with its counter-       the end of 2009 but we are confident that there will
                                                                          parts in the Netherlands (MKBase) and France (CRA         be valuable lessons for the other countries,» conclu-
                                                                          - French national association for company sales and       ded the representative of the Commission.
                                                                          acquisitions). I am convinced that this type of part-
                                                                          nership is vital to ensuring success. We can extend
                                                                          this initiative to other European countries, hence the
                                                                          reason for this meeting in Spa, which I’m hoping will
                                                                          be fruitful» concluded Jean-Claude Marcourt.

                                                                          Business transfers should receive the same
                                                                          attention as start-ups
                                                                          A nice lead in for Marko Curavic, the «voice of
                                                                          Europe» in this introductory session. What is the
                   Hosting the two-day conference, Jean-Claude Mar-       European Commission’s view on business trans-                               > Jean-Claude MARCOURT,
                   court announced that he was very pleased to open       fers? And what does it actually do in this area? The                           Walloon Minister of Economy,
                   a series of seminars dedicated to the transfer of      speaker began by confirming that one third of all                              Employment, Foreign Trade and
                   businesses, and SMEs in particular, across Europe.     companies will have to transfer ownership over the                             Heritage (Belgium).
                                                                          next ten years, a figure that translates into 690,000
                   Before getting to the heart of the proceedings, the    businesses per year, or 2.8 million jobs per year.
                   Walloon Minister for the Economy reminded those in
                   attendance that the town of Spa, which welcomed        The problem is not new and the European Commis-                             > Marko CURAVIC,
                   Europe’s royalty in the 19th century, has given its    sion has been actively involved in this issue since
                                                                                                                                                         Advisor, Directorate
                   name to a common everyday term. The term «spa»         1994 when it issued a series of recommendations to                             E - Promotion of SME
                   describes a mineral spring, and more generally,        the Member states. Things have progressed since                                competitiveness, European
                   thermal treatments. A nice success story in terms of   then, with the Commission estimating that 65% of                               Commission (Croatia).
                   transferring concepts!                                 its recommendations have now been adopted, nota-
                                                                          bly in the area of taxation, legal matters, administra-
                   Takeovers have a healthy survival rate                 tive simplification, etc. However, there is still more
                                                                                                                                                      > Moderator: Eric WINNEN,
                                                                          progress to be made, the biggest issue being that
                   On a more serious note, the Minister reminded those    people are continuing to favour business start-ups                             General Manager, dialectiq sprl
                   present of the acuteness of the problem of trans-      over business transfers.
                   ferring businesses in Europe. A European study has
                   shown that 30% of companies are in danger of fal-      This is why the Commission is recommending that
4                                                                                                                                                                                               5
                   ling by the wayside over the next ten years if they    business transfers receive the same attention as
    First plenary   Business transfer: is it all about                        Are you a Monarch or an Ambassador?                      adopt another, less demanding role. For example, he
                    awareness?                                                                                                         can become an advisor, which brings considerable

          session   Two keynote speakers from Canada and Belgium,
                    both from an academic background, presented
                                                                              Staying with the issue of time, Johan Lambrecht
                                                                              from Belgium agreed that a business transfer is
                                                                              not a single event but a process, one that generally
                                                                                                                                       added value, both to the company and to the suc-
                                                                                                                                       cessor or employees. However, strategic decisions
                                                                                                                                       should always be shared with the buyer, otherwise
                    a number of key issues relating to the transfer of        starts as soon as children are born and can last up to   you cannot say that the business has really been
                    businesses. This gave rise to a prolonged discus-         35 years! Director of the Research Centre for Entre-     transferred.”
                    sion with other international experts. The first          preneurship, Johan Lambrecht kept the audience
                    plenary session also included a case study from a         amused by developing a typology of sellers ranging       Johan Lambrecht also rebelled against the theory
                    seller, Michel Engels, who came to share his own          from the «Monarch» type on one end of the scale          sometimes conveyed in the political domain whe-
                    experience.                                               (will never leave the company, remaining there until     reby family successions are successful and sales
                                                                              death), to the «General» type (succeeds in making        to third parties are failures. «Although the issue is
                    This plenary session started with a Canadian expert       the transition but with difficulty), to the «Ambas-      about the continuity of businesses, continuity has
                    in business transfer: Louise Cadieux, Professor at        sador» type (remains on in a reduced capacity to         numerous dimensions, notably the continuity of the
                    University of Québec-Trois Rivières, chose to speak       provide advice) to the «Governor» type on the other      family estate».
                    to the audience about the behaviour of business           end of the scale (who definitively turns the page).
                    owners in the context of changing roles. When busi-                                                                To finish his presentation, Johan Lambrecht invited
                    ness owners leave their company, they are effecti-        The Belgian Professor openly challenged a num-           business owners to reflect on two questions:
                    vely stepping down from a well-defined role, that of      ber of common ideas in circulation on the subject        > What is it exactly that I want to continue?
                    «MD», to face into the unknown. Which explains the        of transfers. The fact, for example, that the seller     > What is the best way of ensuring this continuity?
                    degree of resistance observed in business owners          MUST let go. «It’s perfectly enviseagable for him to
                    selling their companies: fear of loosing their status
                    of «hero», problems relating to the distribution of
                    assets to children and multiple types of other ques-
                    tions all constitute a source of uncertainty and are      CASE STUdy By MICHEL ENgELS
                    viewed as a step backwards rather than forwards.
                                                                              Entrepreneurial spirit, a family value
                    In short, even though the owner has made the deci-
                    sion to transfer the business, as a result of various     Having spent more than 30 years at the helm of a         The trigger for us occurred when a significant gap
                    types of triggers (I’m tired, I no longer feel challen-   Top 10 company in the food ingredients industry,         emerged between the multinationals and other
                    ged, my partner has health issues, etc.), they have       the Engels family set up Synapsis in order to launch     companies in the Top 10. Despite our size - 250
                    a tendency to postpone the actual «enactment» of          other pMEs. The idea is to provide SMEs with the         employees, 10 subsidiaries abroad, turnover of €50
                    this decision. The transfer itself is a very difficult    time, energy, expertise and financial resources to       million, we were still a very small company. To satisfy
                    period, a real shock to the system that can often lead    grow their businesses.                                   certain big customers, we would have had to set up
                    to a bad patch for the business owner. It’s generally                                                              factories everywhere. In terms of scale, we were a
                    at this stage that those who had previously been                                                                   European company, not a global company. This was
                    supporting the business owner (accountants, nota-         Mine is not your typical background. I started out       a difficult area for us.
                    ries, consultants, etc.) now remove themselves from       working with my father. In 1974, we both left our
                    the situation. Louise Cadieux spoke openly about a        employer to set up Perlarom, a company opera-            When we were finally approached by a player offe-
                    «grieving process, coupled with the loss of a social      ting in the food ingredients sector. Supported by        ring something other than money, we began to
                    network and the need to engage in a process of            outstanding individuals, our company went on to          consider our options carefully. We effectively had a
                    adaptation, along with partners, friends and other        become an undisputed player in the drink, yoghurt,       moral responsibility towards nearly 300 families.
                    social networks».                                         ice-cream and confectionary sector. It even succee-
                                                                              ded in being listed among the Top 10 flavour manu-       To ensure continuity both in terms of the business
                    In summary, Louise Cadieux emphasized the                 facturers worldwide. During this period, we were         and our staff, we therefore decided to align Pelarom
                    concept of time: transferring a business is a lengthy     approached on a frequent basis - not unlike pretty       with a large group in 2002. Our own plan was to
                    process that must respect the pace set by the busi-       girls - by big names in the profession wanting to        continue working in a family business. Three former
                    ness owner. Business transfer professionals could be      speak to us about our plans for selling or succes-       employees joined us in this entrepreneurial venture.
                    better integrated right across this time line (before,    sion. I listened to what they had to say. Apart from     The idea is to enable entrepreneurs to benefit from
                    during, after).                                           eliminating a competitor, I never really understood      our 30 years of experience in the food sector. Synap-
                                                                              what their intentions were for our company. There        sis - the name of the new structure – was launched
                                                                              was no business plan. So the response from our side      in 2003, with the objective of taking shareholdings
                                                                              was always negative.                                     in 5 to 10 SMEs.
6                                                                                                                                                                                                7
    What the international experts had to say

    Various international experts on the panel were invi-
    ted to respond to the ideas put forward by the first
    three speakers.

        > Rosana Mirkovic from the UK supported the
          idea that family continuity is not the only
          possible route. On a broader level, actions
          aimed at raising awareness about business
          transfers are essential, but is this the role
          of the State? The State has an enormous
          number of tasks to complete on a fiscal and
          financial level in order to put business trans-
          fers on the same footing as business start-
          ups.                                                                                                     SpEAkERS
        > Representing France, Hugues-Arnaud Mayer          To conclude this plenary session, the moderator
          proposed a more modern way of viewing             Eric Winnen asked participants for a concluding or
          business transfers, which must be stripped        summarizing statement. Here is a list of these sta-         > Louise CAdIEUX,                      > Michel ENgELS,
          of their sacred aura. Entrepreneurs have a        tements:                                                      Professor, University of Québec –      Chairperson of the Board C+
          number of different lives and business trans-                                                                   Trois Rivières (Canada).               Investments (Belgium).
          fers must no longer be viewed as the crow-            > It is essential for a business-owning family
          ning (or end?) of a career, but rather a step           to be open to external shareholders. This
          in a value creation process. What we learn              forces to carry out a long-term reflection,
          during our first entrepreneurial lifetime, and          asking oneself the right questions.
          our first profession, makes us more mature
                                                                                                                        > Johan LAMBRECHT,                     > Maarten ZEMANN,
          and more able to take on new risks in a               > There are many different transfer possibili-
                                                                                                                          Director of the Centre d’Etudes        Director of Advies MKB
          second profession, where we will also benefit           ties: a family may well remain the owner with
                                                                                                                          pour l’Entrepreneuriat (Research       Adviseurs & GIBO Groep
          from having a better financial base. This new           outside management.                                     centre for entrepreneurship),          (The Netherlands).
          way of viewing business transfers favours                                                                       EHSAL-K.U. Brussels (Belgium).
          rotation and reflects the noble roots of the          > Where possible, try to plan for unexpected
          term «risk». It’s an approach that has been             events: death, accidents, illness, etc.
          advocated by the MEDEF who recommend
          opening up share capital, to staff also, with         > It takes great courage to admit that your son         > Rosana MIRkOVIC,                     > Eric WINNEN,
          the aim of creating a «new social contract»             or daughter is not capable of or interested in          Senior Policy Adviser - SME Unit,      General Manager, dialectiq sprl
          around risk-sharing.                                    taking over the company.                                Association of Chartered Certified     (Belgium).
                                                                                                                          Accountants (UK).
        > Representing the Netherlands, Maarten                 > The importance of Very Small Enterprises
          Zemann emphasized the lack of buyers in                 (VSEs), which receive very little support
          the current economic context. He believes               and constitute the «great forgotten» when it
          that it is a more significant problem today             comes to business transfers.
          than that of raising awareness. There is a                                                                    > Hugues-Arnaud MAyER,
          multitude of professionals operating in the                                                                     Chairperson of MEDEF Auvergne,
          market, but the question for potential sel-                                                                     member of the executive board of
                                                                                                                          MEDEF (France).
          lers is to know who they can turn to. In this
          regard, access to objective, reliable informa-
          tion is a crucial step in promoting business

8                                                                                                                                                                                                  9
     European Café   Summary of discussions                                  1. Networking                                             4. Cross-border potential for sellers and
                     On 19th May last, from 12.00 to 13.15, an original      The majority of the participants came to this first
                     networking session formed the agenda for the            session of the European conference on the trans-          Finally, another important expectation on the part
                     Transeo conference. Taking the form of a round-         fer of SMEs in order to extend their network and          of the participants was to be able to benefit from
                     table discussion, it allowed the participants to dis-   establish new contacts with other experts from            cross-border matching between sellers and buyers
                     cuss and familiarize themselves with two basic but      European countries, but also with a view to being         and to jointly consider the possibility of collabora-
                     fundamental questions: why they came to the Tran-       able to guide their customers towards good oppor-         tion at a European level. In fact, some participants
                     seo conference and what their expectations were         tunities beyond national borders. Some people did         stated that there is every need to remove the psy-
                     prior to this first session on the one hand, and the    express regret at not meeting buyers or sellers of        chological barrier associated with «the newly arri-
                     impact of the economic crisis on their business on      SMEs, remarking that there were too many «third           ved foreigner» and to be able to offer companies
                     the other hand.                                         parties» present (consultants, public officials, etc.)…   as extensive and diverse a range of opportunities
                                                                             However, the intention of the organizers of the           for sales and acquisitions as possible. Another
                                                                             Transeo conference was to create a forum aimed at         approach that was mentioned would be to increase
                                                                             professionals involved in the transfer of SMEs rather     the number of certified partners across Europe and
                                                                             than companies.                                           to create cross-border databases, bearing in mind
                                                                                                                                       the necessary level of rigour and complexity that
                                                                             2. Sharing best practice                                  this would involve. Another related approach would
                                                                                                                                       be to improve the transparency of information in
                                                                             The other reason mentioned by the majority of             order to enable the emergence of a genuine market
                                                                             participants was the desire to share best practice        for SME transfers on a European scale.
                                                                             and learn about the experiences of other countries
                                                                             in advancing the issues affecting SME transfers.
                                                                             Moreover, the four issues identified as high-priority
                                                                             by the organizers of the Transeo conference (and
                                                                             by the European Commission, which by means of
                                                                             its representatives at the forum, Mr. Curavic and Mr.
                                                                             Jaegers, recognized that these four key questions
                                                                             were fundamental and common to all countries of
                                                                             the European Union) were the focal point for the
                                                                             participants. They wanted to be able to learn about
                                                                             practices and experiences beyond their national
                                                                             borders, especially with regard to creating and
                                                                             operating matching platforms between sellers and
                                                                             buyers, identifying and raising the awareness of
                     Prior to the session, each participant was allocated    potential sellers and buyers and also with regard to
                     an «appointment» at one table for the first part of     supporting these sellers and buyers.
                     the discussion, and another table for the second
                     part of the discussion. This European Café was a        3. Assessment of knowledge and expertise
                     great success and many participants even admitted
                     that they would have liked it to have gone on longer,   The participants’ third expectation was to take
                     as the discussions and meetings were so interesting.    stock of specific knowledge relating to the transfer
                     The principle of the Café was simple: 18 tables of      of SMEs, whether in terms of research, especially
                     10 people, with each table bearing the name of a        university research, national regulations or the
                     European capital city, and approximately one hour       mechanisms and structuring of a business transfer
                     to discuss two questions. Each table was chaired by     in each country. This also included an appraisal of
                     one moderator, whose task was to moderate and           the institutional and private sector landscape in
                     take note of the main threads of the participants’      terms of the services aimed at raising awareness,
                     discussions. We would also like to thank the mode-      providing support and facilitating matching in the
                     rators once again for their contribution and for        business transfer sector.
                     enabling us to gather the impressions, thoughts
                     and outcome of the conversations, which we have
                     summarized for you below.
10                                                                                                                                                                                             11
     During the second part of the European Café, the        In terms of the value of companies, some partici-          They do not know if this is the right time to buy        In these times of financial instability, the participants
     participants were invited to discuss the impact of      pants stated that a lot of entrepreneurs are interes-      and some are waiting for more information about          have noted that consultants are called upon more
     the economic crisis on their business. The discus-      ted in determining the value of their company but          forecasted results for 2009, as they are well aware      often than before. Some have noted an increase
     sions show that the economic crisis has well and        do not really have any intention of selling it. Further-   that opportunities arise during a recession.             in the number of audit requests as banks are only
     truly affected the business transfer sector.            more, the value of companies should be decreasing,                                                                  retaining business plans that are sound and well
                                                             but this still does not appear to be the case because      With regard to the funding of takeovers, the parti-      thought out.
     The participants have observed a considerable           companies are often valued based on a multiple of          cipants remarked that accessing credit has become
     slowing down of the market, particularly due to a       the result achieved in previous years.                     more complicated and that interest rates remain
     discrepancy between the price expected by sellers,                                                                 high for the buyer. In addition, buyers who had
     whose reference standards still date back to before     The crisis has had an effect on the various players        placed their share capital on the Stock Exchange
     the crisis, and buyers who are no longer ready to       involved in the transfer process. In terms of sellers,     have seen a drop in their potential contribution.
     pay a figure based on this type of valuation.           some stated that sellers who have already begun            Some buyers are therefore putting their projects on
                                                             actively searching for a buyer are not really discou-      the back burner for now. Given the more rigorous
     The number of transfer transactions also appears        raged by the crisis and are continuing their transfer      selection criteria applied when obtaining funding
     to be declining. In France, for example, since the      plans, while other sellers are restricted from selling     for a transfer, buyers are now structuring their offer
     beginning of 2009, the number of business trans-        because of their financial difficulties and their need     better: a good offer means good financing. Likewise,
     fers has dropped by around 15 to 20%, despite the       for liquidity in order to guarantee the continuity of      successful portfolios are more solid on average and
     large supply of businesses available for sale.          their business. Finally, some sellers are waiting for a    should have a better debt ratio.
                                                             more dynamic economic environment before put-
     As regards pricing, they have observed pressure         ting their company up for sale. As for buyers, it is       The crisis has also affected investors. Investors and
     to reduce prices, even though the price is the final    clear that the crisis is making them more uncertain        venture capital companies are also more hesitant.
     stage of the process. It is therefore possible to buy   and hesitant.                                              Some investors have observed that there are more
     small companies that are still financially healthy                                                                 and more business angels who can sometimes be
     at reduced prices. Another observation was that                                                                    less professional than larger fund managers. On the
     prices are more often set in terms of multiples of                                                                 whole, the feeling is that there is a reduction in the
     previous year figures.                                                                                             level of risk-taking by investors.

     For reasons of time, it is clear that some transac-                                                                In terms of banks, they are also seen as being less
     tions are being put on hold. Furthermore, the trans-                                                               open and more cautious. The banks seem more
     fer process is taking more time (12 to 18 months).                                                                 reluctant to provide access to funding, or are put-
     The process is longer because buyers are reflecting                                                                ting requests on hold rather than making a decision.
     more on the quality of the offer and often have a                                                                  In general, it appears that more time is required
     real project in mind. There has effectively been a                                                                 to obtain funding. Personal contributions play a
     return to basics. Having a vision and strategy counts                                                              greater role than before and banks are requesting
     now more than ever. Finally, keeping with the issue                                                                higher guarantees. Finally, the assumptions made
     of time, some consulting practices are recommen-                                                                   by the banks when it comes to business plans are
     ding to their customers that they should defer sales                                                               more conservative. Accessing funding has become
     transactions.                                                                                                      more complex and the criteria for acceptance more
                                                                                                                        demanding, but as explained above, this allows the
                                                                                                                        more cohesive structuring of projects.

12                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           13
     Second plenary   The role of support services in the
                      business transfer process
                                                                         Christopher kummer, President of the Institute of
                                                                         Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances, a think tank
                                                                                                                                  public authorities elicited various different respon-
                                                                                                                                  ses from the speakers.

                                                                         based in Zurich, was called on to set the scene.
                                                                                                                                      > For French man yannick Hoche, from the
                      What role should the public sector play in the     A study on 120,000 transactions carried out                    APCE, the French business start-up agency,
                      transfer process? What are the roles and com-      between 1995 and 2008 highlighted that the num-                the architecture between the private and
                      petencies of private advisors working in this      ber and type of advisors involved in a business                public sector must be based on two prin-
                      field? What types of synergies can or should be    transfer largely depend on its complexity. Along-              ciples: that of cooperation, «knowing when
                      developed between the private and public sector?   side traditional roles such as financial consul-               to pass on the baton», and that of compe-
                      These questions form the focus of this second      tants, project managers, accountants, tax experts,             tition, which leads to best practice. In short,
                      plenary session.                                   legal experts, other competencies come into play               the role played by the public sector should
                                                                         such as IT consultants, environment specialists, HR            focus on providing information and training,
                                                                         specialists, public relations specialists, insurance           and on ensuring that people find the best
                                                                         specialists, etc. «Private consultants essentially»,           player on the market. By way of example,
                                                                         comments Christopher Kummer, who admitted that                 he referred to the website of the French
                                                                         he is not at all clear about the role to be played by          business start-up agency APCE (,
                                                                         public authorities in the area of business transfers.          which receives 14 million visits each year,
                                                                                                                                        providing answers to questions about «who
                                                                         The seller’s focus of attention exceeds that of simply         does what», «within what parameters», etc.
                                                                         calculating the value of their company. The question           «Which means that the private sector is now
                                                                         is more existential: what are you going to do with             being approached by customers who are
                                                                         my «baby»? What are your plans for my SME? This                well prepared». And even if some overlap-
                                                                         is where the heart of the challenge lies, because the          ping exists between the public and private
                                                                         process goes well beyond that of simply assembling             sector, everyone wins out in the end because
                                                                         the various pieces of a puzzle.                                the customers are more competent».

                                                                         Lex Van Teeffelen, Professor at Utrecht, was then            > In the Wallon region, the public sector esta-
                                                                         called on to complete this overall review of the               blished SOWACCESS which has assumed
                                                                         situation. The Dutch expert began by noting that               the dual role of raising awareness and pro-
                                                                         progress seems to have been made on the issue of               viding a business matching platform (data-
                                                                         raising awareness: «whenever I take part in semi-              base of buyers and sellers with accreditation
                                                                         nars on the subject of business transfers, there is            of support professionals). For Jean-pierre di
                                                                         generally a maximum of 20 participants. The fact               Bartolomeo, Chairperson of the Board, the
                                                                         that I now find myself at an international conference          role of the public sector is not to pit itself
                                                                         attended by over 200 people proves that the cam-               «against» the private sector but more to
                                                                         paign to raise awareness is working well!»                     intervene in a complementary role in those
                                                                                                                                        areas where the private sector is not invol-
                                                                         The expert reported on two studies currently availa-           ved. «Thanks to our partners in France and
                                                                         ble (Allisson 2007, De Waard 2002) which indicate              the Netherlands, we are able to widen the
                                                                         that business transfer advisors are generally not              scope for business matching opportunities.
                                                                         interested in dealing with SMEs (they are too costly           On a broad level, our activities tend to focus
                                                                         for them). This is clearly a shame since 90% of trans-         on increasing transparency and the flow of
                                                                         fers take place within microbusinesses of less than            transactions». It’s also worth noting the «fil-
                                                                         10 employees. Like his colleague from Zurich, Lex              tering» role played by Sowaccess, because
                                                                         Van Teeffelen pointed to the extreme diversity of              the quality of those professionals affiliated
                                                                         advisors, with the marked predominance of char-                with the matching platform is validated by
                                                                         tered accountants, ahead of bankers, chambers of               an Accreditation committee and an Ethics
                                                                         commerce, etc. The problem here being that these               committee. «It’s a question of credibility»,
                                                                         specialists are only specialists in one small area,            commented Jean-Pierre Di Bartolomeo,
                                                                         which effectively means that there is no common                speaking about the financial role played
                                                                         thread to provide a degree of cohesiveness throu-              by the public sector. For example, Sowalfin
                                                                         ghout the entire process.                                      (parent company of Sowaccess) provides
                                                                                                                                        funding to between 60 and 80 companies
                                                                         Should this common thread be provided by the                   per year in the context of business trans-
                                                                         public sector? The scope of the role played by the             fers.
14                                                                                                                                                                                        15
     > A member of the Ethics committee mentio-        > «Coordination and providing information
       ned by Jean-Pierre Di Bartolomeo, Laurent         are crucial,» indicated Jean-Marie Catabelle,
       Weerts (Belgian institute for family enter-       Chairperson of the CCR, the French non-
       prise) believes that the action taken by the      profit making group for business buyers
       public authorities in Wallonia has provided       and sellers, which plays this cross-functional
       a real stimulus for business transfers. «The      role in France, while also providing expe-
       public sector fully understood the impor-         rience and strategic advice. «The business
       tance of having ethical players, and through      transfer environment is rife with advisors of
       its filtering role, it has given an important     every description. It’s therefore important
       signal: the Sowaccess platform is not «an         to clearly define the role of each player, and
       old boys club», it is entirely professional».     more importantly, to communicate this role
       In terms of best practice, the consultant         properly», he says. The French expert said       SpEAkERS
       also pointed to the self-assessment tool          that he does not really support subsidies;
       developed by Sowaccess that allows all            the role of the public sector is more to make
       potential sellers to ask themselves the right     the environment favourable to business, and
                                                                                                               > Jean-Marie CATABELLE,                  > yannick HOCHE,
       questions before getting in contact with          to raise public awareness about the impor-
       any professionals. Staying with the role          tance of business transfers.                            President, CRA (France).                 Manager with responsibility for
                                                                                                                                                          business takeovers-transfers,
       of the public sector, Laurent Weerts
                                                                                                                                                          APCE (French business start-up
       denounced the gap to be filled in terms of                                                                                                         agency) (France).
       SME transactions, since 90% of transactions
       involving 0-9 employees have no advisors!!
       (See contribution from Lex Van Teeffelen)
                                                                                                               > Christopher kUMMER,                    > Lex Van TEEFFELEN,
                                                                                                                 President, The Institute of Mergers,     Consultancy programme
                                                                                                                 Acquisitions and Alliances - IMAA        manager - Business transfer
                                                                                                                 (Switzerland - Autriche).                research leader, Hogeschool
                                                                                                                                                          Utrecht, Knowledge Centre for
                                                                                                                                                          Innovation in Business, Faculty
                                                                                                                                                          of Economics and Management
                                                                                                                                                          (The Netherlands).
                                                                                                               > Jean-pierre di BARTOLOMEO,
                                                                                                                 Chairperson of the board,
                                                                                                                 Sowaccess (Belgium).

                                                                                                               > Laurent WEERTS,                        > Moderator: Eric WINNEN,
                                                                                                                 Managing Director the Institut de        General Manager,
                                                                                                                 l’Entreprise Familiale (Institute        dialectiq sprl (BELGIUM).
                                                                                                                 for family enterprise) & Deloitte
                                                                                                                 Partner (Belgium).

16                                                                                                                                                                                          17
     Workshop 1   Strategies for raising the seller’s
                                                                            Remaining on as Managing Director for three years
                                                                            following the sale, Maarten Van de Kimmenade
                                                                            admitted to having had a lot of difficulty changing
                                                                                                                                    while respecting the confidentiality of ongoing

                                                                            roles and handing over power. However, this phase       The after-sales phase began on 16th March 2009
                  To sell or not to sell? Business owners are often         also allowed him to regain his freedom, which he        when the papers were signed. «The merger with
                  not very well informed about the opportunities            put to good use by pursuing a course in psychol-        Franki will come into effect in 2010, but everybody
                  available to them. Misconceptions are rife when it        ogy. His thesis for his doctorate, which he obtained    knows the future organizational structure already.
                  comes to business transfers. How do you improve           in 2003 from the University of Tilburg, was pre-        The staff will continue to be informed. Reforme must
                  this situation and take the drama out of selling? A       cisely based on the psychological aspects of selling    also make a point of leaving its «mark» and its refer-
                  sample of some of the questions addressed in this         a family business. His personal experience and aca-     ence values on the new structure.» Throughout this
                  Workshop.                                                 demic career path also led him to found «De Fami-       whole venture, what Raymond Arnould considered
                                                                            liebedrijven Adviesgroep» (Family business advice       of most importance was the support provided by
                                                                            group) in order to help entrepreneurs find the right    external advisors who play a strategic role, not only
                                                                            balance between the emotional and rational aspects      in the evaluation stage, but also in finding buyers,
                                                                            of their business decisions.                            setting schedules and organizing communication
                                                                                                                                    between seller and buyer, particularly by means of
                                                                            In 2005, the Dutch native again experimented            the sales contract.
                                                                            with reselling his «business» by selling his consult-
                                                                            ing practice, although he still retained the role of    Following these two case studies, the floor was
                                                                            «Supervising Director». Today, his involvement is       opened up to support agents, both public and pri-
                                                                            more in the capacity of coach rather than on an         vate.
                                                                            operational level.
                                                                                                                                        > Roger Clement, from the British practice
                                                                            The second case study was provided by Raymond                 Moore Stephens (with 300 offices in 44
                                                                            Arnould, Managing Director of Reforme, a Belgian              countries) began by examining the various
                                                                            company operating in the construction industry.               motivations that can lead an entrepreneur
                                                                            With a background in civil engineering, Raymond               to sell their business. Apart from purely
                                                                            Arnould is neither a seller nor a buyer. However,             financial motives, there are often other rea-
                                                                            he was viewed as a «stable lynch pin» during the              sons for selling a business: family reasons,
                                                                            process of Immobel selling its shares in Reforme to           request from other shareholders, retirement,
                                                                            Franki. This is also the reason why he was recruited          health issues, disputes, divorce, death, etc.
                                                                            in 2004 to prepare the sale of the company, which
                                                                            employed 120 people at the time, generating a               > One of the major difficulties is that advi-
                                                                            turnover of €35 million. This whole process started           sors are often only interested in the sale
                                                                            with a need for greater autonomy from the parent              transaction. They do not ask questions like:
                  To add some perspective to this Workshop, the par-        company, which by that time generated the bulk of             Why are you selling? What do you want?
                  ticipants listened to two quite telling case studies,     the turnover. This meant that it was not only neces-          What will you do afterwards? It is precisely
                  each very different.                                      sary to «cut the umbilical cord», but also to radi-           to help inspire this type of reflection that
                                                                            cally change the organizational structure, by clearly         Sowaccess, based in the Walloon region of
                  The first case study came from the Netherlands.           redefining the functions and responsibilities of each         Belgium, set up a free and anonymous self-
                  Maarten Van de kimmenade was 20 years old when            employee and investing in modern equipment,                   assessment questionnaire. As explained by
                  his father died, forcing him, without any prepara-        while ensuring the profitability of the company and           Julie Lebèque, this questionnaire is based
                  tion, to take over the family roofing business, which     enhancing its corporate image.                                on 90 questions that allow business owners
                  his grandfather had founded in 1905. «The first few                                                                     to cover a range of different topics such as:
                  years were very difficult,» he recalled, «but over time   The sale itself dragged out from March 2008 to                investment, human resources, tangible and
                  I learned to master the technical and financial sides     March 2009. «An exhausting period,» according                 intangible assets, management style, etc.
                  of things. The business became profitable. 25 years       to Raymond Arnould, «because we had to con-                   More than 400 questionnaires were fully
                  on I decided to sell it to an English company listed      tinue running the company while still managing the            completed, a prerequisite for the two days
                  on the Stock Exchange. That was in 1987 and we had        sale». He believes that objectivity and transparency          of consultancy provided by one of the 84
                  140 employees.»                                           should be the cornerstones to creating conditions             certified professionals (partly financed by
                                                                            of trust between former and future shareholders.              Sowaccess). In the area of raising aware-
                                                                            Transparency must also apply to staff, who will obvi-         ness, Sowaccess also developed another
                                                                            ously be asking themselves a lot of questions during          tool in the form of a practical guide, offered
                                                                            this whole process: it’s important to keep them in            to 8,000 Walloon SMEs and 6,000 advisors.
                                                                            the loop with regard to the progress of the project,
18                                                                                                                                                                                           19
     > Stating that he is «amazed on a daily basis         A number of considerations emerged from the dis-
       at the poor level of preparation on the part        cussions that followed:
       of sellers», Lionel Canis (from the French
       practice Cesacq, a specialist in supporting             > Raising awareness should stimulate a con-
       SMEs of 10 to 60 employees with a turnover                sidered reflection process and lead the seller
       between €1 million and €20 million) went on               towards the right players.
       to add that misconceptions are rife when it
       comes to transfers. According to this expert            > It should also encourage the seller to accept
       from France, VSEs are not at all inclined to              an external and professional point of view.
       enlist the services of an advisor, because
       «they do not want to prostitute themselves».            > In fact, the buyers are often better prepared
       Misconception number one is therefore                     than the sellers.
       «I am not a seller, I’m going to wait for some-
       one to contact me», whereas a professional              > Between 20% and 40% of business owners
       could provide up 30 potential candidates.                 will experience health problems one day and      SpEAkERS
       Misconception number two: «I have a poten-                have nothing prepared for their succession.
       tial buyer. I’ll check with him, call me back
       later.» An unprofessional and manipulative              > When the manager leaves, a different profile
                                                                                                                       > Maarten Van de kIMMENAdE,                         > Julie LEBEQUE,
       approach which, according to Lionel Canis,                of individual is required and not just a clone
       strongly increases the risks and duration of              of the original manager. This is why it is so           CEO, De Familiebedrijven                             Platform Manager,
                                                                                                                         Adviesgroep (Family business                         SOWACCESS (Belgium).
       a transaction.                                            important to define the profile of the buyer
                                                                                                                         advice group) (The Netherlands).
                                                                 at the outset.

                                                                                                                       > Lionel CANIS,
                                                                                                                         Managing Partner,
     LESSONS FROM THIS WORkSHOp                                                                                          Groupe Cesacq (France).            Moderators and reporters:
        > The act of transferring a business is a process. There is no real triggering event.                                                                              > Ilja NOTHNAgEL,
        > It’s a question that must also concern the buyer and not just the seller.                                                                                           Head of succession and business
                                                                                                                       > Raymond ARNOULd,                                     continuity unit, division for
        > The tools (guides, etc.) allow the entrepreneur to see the bigger picture.                                                                                          Economic Policy, SMEs and
                                                                                                                         CEO, Reforme sa (Belgium).                           Innovation at the Deutscher
                                                                                                                                                                              Industrie- und Handelskammertag
     IN TERMS OF AVENUES TO BE EXpLOREd:                                                                                                                                      e.V. (DIHK) (Association of
        > Public authorities and the media have a role to play in taking the drama out of                                                                                     German Chambers of Industry and
                                                                                                                                                                              Commerce) (Germany).
          business transfers (as they have done for start-ups).
        > Advice is important, but not just during the preparation stage. The seller must
                                                                                                                       > Roger CLEMENT,                                    > Céline BARREdy,
          find a role after the ink on the signatures has dried.
                                                                                                                         Managing Director M&A,                               University lecturer in
        > We mention the seller a lot, but a company is made up of more than just one                                    London, Moore Stephens                               Management Science, University
          person. Employees are often pushed to one side during the transfer process:                                    Corporate Finance (UK).                              of Montesquieu, Bordeaux IV
          they should be kept in the loop and motivated.                                                                                                                      (France).

20                                                                                                                                                                                                              21
     Workshop 2   Towards a synergy between private
                  and public organizations
                  The opacity of the market for business transfers
                  and shortcomings in terms of buyer support – at
                  both the beginning and end of the process – were
                  two of the main findings of the panel of experts
                  from several European countries, who spoke
                  during this Workshop.

                  «Before any commercial transaction enters into the        For our French neighbours, «the first agency to           In Finland, business takeovers are the responsibil-
                  equation, selling or buying a business is about hav-      sponsor the buyer is Assedic (an organization man-        ity of the Ministry of Employment and the Econ-
                  ing a good relationship between two people,» said         aging unemployment contributions and payments,            omy. «Regional development agencies also get in
                  pierre Coquard from France, Manager of Industria-         the French equivalent of the Belgian organization         direct contact with owners who are looking for a
                  Louyot, a company specializing in print communica-        Onem),» according to Pierre Coquard. «It’s possible       buyer,» explained Ninetta Chaniotou, Development
                  tion. Although his takeover – winner of the «Paris        to continue receiving unemployment benefits up to         Manager for the regional development company
                  Entreprendre» award in 2006 – was a success and           the start of the takeover process.» But there is also a   Kainuun Etu Oy. «The process can often be very
                  his business is doing well, this is not necessarily the   wide range of organizations, both private and pub-        drawn out, even convincing the seller to definitively
                  case for everyone. In France, according to statistics,    lic, that support entrepreneurs, such as: Chambers        cut ties with his business can take a long time».
                  one in every three companies that is sold files for       of Commerce and Industry, agents, business net-
                  bankruptcy within five years of activity. According       works (associations of business owners who offer          Mentoring
                  to Bérangère deschamps, Doctor in Management              their help for start-ups or business takeovers), Oseo
                  Science and author of a thesis on the process of          (also known as a «public bank for SMEs»), banks,          The European Association of Chambers of Com-
                  business takeovers by individuals, «Not much is said      etc. «The only thing we might be short on is enthu-       merce and Industry looked into the issue of post-
                  of what happens before and after the contract is          siasm and positive energy,» stressed Hugues Franc,        takeover follow-up. «A «mentoring» project (2007-
                  signed. However, supporting the buyer both before         Director of the Paris business network. «Otherwise, I     2009) was launched in thirteen countries,» indicated
                  and after the sale itself is a key factor for success.»   am confident about the future.»                           Bérangère Deschamps. In particular, it offers free
                                                                                                                                      support for a period of between ten days and a
                  In Germany, the transfer of businesses is becoming        Consultancy                                               maximum of one year from the time the takeover
                  problematic because the situation has changed in                                                                    contract is signed.» The Chambers of Commerce
                  the last few years. Two thirds of SMEs are owned by       In Belgium, agent practices are not subject to the        and Industry carry out an analysis of the situation.
                  families. Until the turn of the millennium, only 17%      same restrictions as in France, remarked Frank            Private experts then become involved as required.
                  were forced to find a successor outside the family        Toussaint, associate at Intraco Consulting, a com-        «In general, we observed that the buyer had a
                  fold. «As of the last number of years,» explains Arndt    pany specializing in consultancy for the transport        greater need for more personal support than tech-
                  Upfold from Ifex (an initiative for start-ups and busi-   and logistics industry. «Which can sometimes under-       nical assistance. As the buyer needs to be convinced
                  ness transfers), a department within the German           mine the confidence of some buyers who have had           very quickly, they need a neutral third party, a
                  Ministry of Economic Affairs (Baden-Württemberg),         to deal with charlatans in the past…»                     specialist who understands them and who they can
                  «45% of SMEs now have to look outside the family.                                                                   confide in without any fear.»
                  Within our ‘one-stop shop’, we are in the process of      In Germany, consultancy is subsidised by the
                  setting up a department made up of mediators, spe-        State. «It is not easy to manage,» quipped Arndt
                  cialists who search for potential buyers and support      Upfold. «Because now, we suddenly have a large
                  sellers throughout the entire transfer process.»          consultancy market, perhaps even bigger than the
                                                                            business transfer market itself! The problem for us
                                                                            is finding buyers. So we have set up a mediation
                                                                            programme: agents make direct contact with
                                                                            the sellers, assess their needs in terms of advice,
                                                                            support, etc. So it all starts off with one-to-one
                                                                            contact between individuals. It’s a system that works

22                                                                                                                                                                                            23
     Opaque market                                                For pierre Coquard, the key to a successful takeover
                                                                  lies in the more or less long-term support that is pro-
     According to Hugues Franc, sellers are thin on the           vided by the seller to the buyer. «Before any ques-
     ground in the Paris region. Funds are easier to track        tion of funding, the transfer of a business is first and
     down! «In Germany,» indicated Arndt Upfold, «our             foremost an exchange between two people. And I’m
     online portal allows potential entrepreneurs access          convinced of this: it’s not the buyer who chooses the
     to a list of companies that are available for takeover.      business, it’s the seller who chooses the buyer.»
     However, this system is not very efficient. It appears                                                                  SpEAkERS
     that a lot of small SMEs are not very attractive. Even
     so, is the information on these SMEs that’s encrypted
     on the federal site attractive enough? Today we are
                                                                                                                                   > Ninetta CHANIOTOU,                                   > Frank TOUSSAINT,
     trying to improve not so much the quality of these
                                                                                                                                     Development Manager,                                    Partner, Intraco Consulting
     companies, but at least the quality of communica-
                                                                                                                                     Kainuun Etu Oy (Finland).                               (Belgium).
     tion!» In Belgium, potential buyers can also avail of
     a similar IT tool. The future plan is to develop these
     useful databases…

                                                                                                                                   > pierre COQUARd,                                      > Arndt UpFOLd,
                                                                                                                                     Manager, Industria-Louyot                               Senior government official,
                                                                                                                                     (France).                                               Wirtschaftsministerium Baden-
                                                                                                                                                                                             Württemberg (Ministry of
                                                                                                                                                                                             Economic Affairs), Baden-
                        LESSONS FROM THIS WORkSHOp                                                                                                                                           Württemberg (Germany).

                        IN TERMS OF OBSERVATIONS:
                                                                                                                                   > Bérangère dESCHAMpS,
                             > The market is opaque (due to confidentiality reasons) and closed, resulting in a
                               lack of visibility and reliable information and insufficient levels of preparation for                Lecturer, Institut d’Administration
                               business transfers.                                                                                   des entreprises de Grenoble
                                                                                                                                     (Grenoble university graduate
                             > Diversity of the players: accountancy experts, auditors, associations, lawyers,                       business institute) (France).         Moderators and reporters:
                               bankers, merger/acquisition experts, other possibly «unscrupulous» agents.
                             > How do you find the «right» advice? Who can you trust? How much does it
                               cost? (public being cheaper than private)?                                                                                                                 > Sonia BOUSSAgUET,
                                                                                                                                   > Hugues FRANC,
                                                                                                                                                                                             Associate director, IMART
                             > The needs of the seller: raise awareness, help with preparation, after the transfer                   Director, Réseau Entreprendre                           (Management institute for
                               also.                                                                                                 Paris (Paris business network)                          business takeovers and transfers),
                                                                                                                                     (France).                                               Permanent lecturer in Strategy
                             > The needs of the buyer: information, technical support (accountants,
                                                                                                                                                                                             & Entrepreneurship, Reims
                               consultants, etc.) and moral support, especially after the contract has been
                                                                                                                                                                                             Management School, Associate
                               signed.                                                                                                                                                       Consultant at Infine Transactions
                        IN TERMS OF AVENUES TO BE EXpLOREd:
                             > Rather than talking about private/public synergy, the focus should be on the                                                                               > Eric FROMENTy,
                               distribution of roles: public sector for VSEs and private sector for SMEs.                                                                                    Director, Infine Transactions
                             > The emotional aspect should be taken into account more, especially for staff                                                                                  (France).
                               (often forgotten and treated as mere spectators) and the buyer (example of
                               «Mentoring» system – post-takeover support – currently being tested
                               in 13 countries).

24                                                                                                                                                                                                                                25
     Workshop 3   Matching platforms:
                  the best is yet to come

                  Contact is established between sellers and buyers
                  through companies and organizations known as
                  «matching platforms». The aim of this Workshop
                  was to compare similar experiences across several
                  European countries.

                                                                          For Rosalie, there are at least two reasons for this     In Finland, Sakari Oikarinen manages Confidentum
                                                                          «widespread» phenomenon: many owners from the            Ltd. In 2002, they had the idea of pooling the data
                                                                          «Baby Boom» generation are coming to the end             from a multitude of provincial platforms in a country
                                                                          of their careers and many want to take advantage         divided into about fifteen regions. Today, Confiden-
                                                                          of well-deserved retirement from the age of 65.          tum brings together 35,000 to 40,000 companies
                                                                          «The problem,» she continues, «is that a lot of busi-    thanks to its network. «And a recent study predicts
                                                                          ness owners only think about succession the year         that 60,000 more sellers will come on to the market
                                                                          before they plan to leave. By then it’s often too late   in the next ten years, the majority of them microbu-
                                                                          to ensure that everything will run as smoothly as it     sinesses,» Sakari Oikarinen said.
                                                                                                                                   In Denmark, peter dalkiaer took over the manage-
                                                                          Successful initiatives                                   ment of «» four years ago, an online
                                                                                                                                   matching service for sellers and buyers. «We made
                                                                          In France, the CRA (French national association for      ourselves known to the public services and today we
                                                                          company sales and acquisitions) is made up of for-       are the benchmark Internet platform in our country,
                                                                          mer owners who share their experiences in order          with 20,000 page views per month and 4,000 uni-
                                                                          to facilitate business transfers. One of the specific    que visitors.»
                                                                          features of this association is that it offers genuine
                                                                          training to sellers and buyers. «We have continuous      Positive testimonials
                                                                          contact with 1,400 buyers,» explained Jean pechou,
                                                                          Vice-president. «And we manage 400 to 500 trans-         To illustrate the efficiency of the platforms, the orga-
                                                                          fers each year. At the CRA, we have all had perso-       nizers of the Workshop invited a number of business
                  «The majority of owners are reluctant to talk about     nal experience of a business transfer. We advise our     owners who have recently experienced a transfer.
                  transferring their business, because they see it as a   members and allow them to benefit from our expe-         For example, Emmanuel Fiorano from France took
                  step towards preparing their own funeral. But they      rience so they can avoid making mistakes.»               over the landscape gardening company Sapin Vert.
                  will have to think about it some day!» With this                                                                 With a background in agricultural engineering, he
                  somewhat ironic remark, Toni Brunello, European         Representing the German bank KfW, Isabelle Canu          has a long career as a company manager under
                  expert on the subject, CEO of StudioCentroVeneto        presented «Nexxt-Change», an online platform             his belt. But in 2005, he felt the need to leave the
                  and moderator of the Workshop, immediately put          available in Germany. In Germany, 6,000 compa-           management team of the organization he worked
                  his finger on the crucial role that these platforms     nies fall by the wayside each year due to the lack       for in order to acquire his own business.
                  can play.                                               of buyers. This equates to 40,000 jobs lost,» she
                                                                          deplored. «To counter this phenomenon, this tool         «I then met with some people from the CRA who
                  Rosalie Van Rijk, founder of MKBase, an Ams-            was developed in 2006 as a result of a comprehen-        convinced me that buying a company wasn’t as sim-
                  terdam-based platform operating in the Benelux          sive agreement that brought together public autho-       ple as that,» he explains. «I took a training course
                  region, did not contradict him. «When we started        rities, chambers of commerce, banks and even the         that addressed numerous aspects about business
                  off in 2001, a study revealed that 90,000 people in     bar association.»                                        transfers. The transaction, which could have been
                  our industry were about to sell their business,» she                                                             carried out in four days, took four months. But the
                  explained. «Eight years on and this impressive figure   «Nexxt-Change» offers free publication and anony-        best thing about the CRA’s support is that every-
                  hasn’t changed.»                                        mous advertisements for the transfer of businesses.      thing was carried out according to the rules and
                                                                          Every month, 400 to 800 offers are identified, com-      without undue haste. This allowed me to limit the
                                                                          pared to 150 to 450 requests. Since it was opened        risks associated with my investment, and become
                                                                          three years ago, the site has brought about the          more aware of all the challenges involved. In fact,
                                                                          conclusion of 4,700 transactions.                        the platform made things a lot easier.»
26                                                                                                                                                                                            27
     Last January, Aimery de Rochechouart sold Plate-         A European platform?
     form, his agency that specializes in providing spea-
     kers for public events. «I was late discovering the      To conclude the Workshop, the two moderators
     benefits of an organization like the CRA,» he admit-     asked the speakers and the assembly about the
     ted. «Because it can save you time. By acting as a       possibility of setting up a European platform. But
     matchmaker, the CRA carries out an initial screening     the majority were sceptical about this idea. «I think
     of potential buyers. Only genuinely motivated peo-       it would be difficult to pool our strengths, because
     ple who have already taken a training course are         our various platforms are aimed at different inte-
     introduced to us. However, when sellers try to find      rests depending on the country,» Isabelle Canu said.
     buyers on their own, I can assure they’ll meet a lot     «And some depend on the private sector and others
     of people who have their heads in the clouds or who      on the public sector.»                                  SpEAkERS
     simply don’t have enough money…»
                                                              Hence this question, in the form of a summary, from
     Bruno duvillier, who bought Aimery de Roche-             moderator Nicolas pirotte (Strategic Adviser at
                                                                                                                           > Isabelle CANU,                                     > Sakari OIkARINEN,
     chouart’s company, is also very happy with the ser-      Sowalfin): «Should we not have local platforms that
                                                                                                                             KfW Bankengruppe                                     Managing Director of
     vices provided by the CRA. «I was supported from         meet local needs, but also set up common metho-
                                                                                                                             (Germany).                                           Confidentum Ltd (Finland).
     beginning to end,» he confirmed. «I took training        dologies that transcend national borders?»
     courses given by lawyers and tax specialists. They
     proved very useful indeed.»

                                                                                                                           > peter dALkIAER,                                    > Jean pECHOU,
                                                                                                                             Managing Director of Match-Online                    Vice-president of CRA
                                                                                                                             (Denmark).                                           (France).

                       LESSONS FROM THIS WORkSHOp
                       IN TERMS OF OBSERVATIONS:
                           > There is a wide variety of approaches: the platforms run by the Dutch, Belgians,                                                                   > Rosalie VAN RIJk,
                                                                                                                           > Aimery de ROCHECHOUART,
                             Germans and Danish are restricted to «matching» services, the French provide                                                                         Manager of MKBase
                             additional training and coaching, the Finnish bring together a multitude of small               Seller of «Plateforme»
                                                                                                                             (France).                                            (The Netherlands).
                             local platforms…
                           > A common vision: all of the participants of the Workshop are convinced of the
                             need to make the sector more professional and of the importance of having
                             quality advisors (private partners), confidentiality and anonymity.
                           > A growing market: in 10 years, there will be a sharp rise in the number of                    > Bruno dUVILLIER,
                             advisors, studies, platforms, etc.                                                                                                  Moderators and Reporters:
                                                                                                                             Buyer of «Plateforme»
                           > Problems associated with very small enterprises (VSEs): these services are not                  (France).
                             offered to microbusinesses, it’s still much easier to sell a large company than a                                                                  > Toni BRUNELLO,
                             small one.                                                                                                                                           CEO of Studiocentroveneto
                           > What the entrepreneurs think: the platforms allow you to save time but they
                             aren’t the only way to find buyers. Networks and the sharing of personal
                             experience are also very important.                                                           > Emmanuel FIORANO,
                                                                                                                             Buyer of Sapin Vert
                       IN TERMS OF AVENUES TO BE EXpLOREd:
                           > For very small enterprises (VSEs): the need to simplify the business transfer                                                                      > Nicolas pIROTTE,
                             process, and grants in order to allow access to advisory services.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Strategic Advisor to Sowalfin
                           > European level: «something» must be done at European level, in terms of                                                                              (Belgium).
                             methodologies and best practice, while still maintaining a local or regional
                             approach. But what about the issues relating to funding, linguistics, etc.?

28                                                                                                                                                                                                                29
       Closing   One of Transeo’s objectives is to create a Euro-
                 pean network for SME transfers in the near future.
                 The role of this network is to promote professional

     ceremony    support services for business transfer processes.
                 Is there value in creating such a network? And if
                 so, what should be the objectives, actions, struc-
                                                                          Rosalie Van Rijk, Manager of MKBase, then reported
                                                                          back on the outcome of these discussions and
                 ture and funding method? A sample of some of the         included various suggestions put forward by the
                 questions on the agenda for this second day.             work group.

                 Without question, it appears that participants of
                 the Transeo conference do not want to just «leave it
                 at that». All of the feedback that we gathered indi-
                 cates that they would like a follow-up to this initial

                 In order to define these future stages, everyone was
                 invited to take part in one of the three work groups
                 in which these specific issues were discussed.
                                                                          What is the European Commission’s view of
                                                                          Transeo 1? At the end of this two-day seminar, it
                                                                          was interesting to invite one of the European Com-
                                                                          mission’s representatives to express their opinion on
                                                                          the subject. Not least because the participants of
                                                                          the work groups made a point of highlighting their
                                                                          expectations of the Commission (particularly in the
                                                                          area of funding for the future network!).

                                                                          «I want to congratulate you because the questions
                                                                          that were addressed, particularly the questions on
                                                                          raising awareness, were definitely the right ones,»
                                                                          stated Thomas Jaegers, Policy Officer with the
                                                                          Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry.
                                                                          Admittedly, in the past, the Commission was a lot
                                                                          more concerned with the subject of the legal frame-
                                                                          work and there has been improvement in a lot of
                                                                          areas, «except in the area of taxation where there is
                                                                          still quite a bit yet to be done».

                                                                          According to Thomas Jaegers, one of the outcomes
                                                                          of the Transeo conference was that needs go beyond
                                                                          electronic databases. «I think it’s an excellent idea to
                                                                          develop a network before implementing electronic
                                                                          tools. The subject of business transfers involves
                                                                          more than just electronic databases and you under-
                                                                          stood that perfectly. It’s similar to the work carried
                                                                          out by the Commission. I wish you lots of success
                                                                          with your future initiatives.»

30                                                                                                                                   31
                                                                                                     A final word from the organizers!
                                                                                                     Jean-Marie Catabelle, for CRA, and Rosalie Van Rijk,
     The need to develop a specific strategy for very small enterprises (VSEs) was a recur-          for MKBase, thanked Sowaccess, the driving force
     ring theme throughout the two days of the Transeo conference. These microbusinesses             behind organizing this highly professional confer-
     were the subject of the REINO project that was carried out in 2007 and 2008 (Renewal            ence, they also mentioned the large number of par-
     and Innovation to Business Transfers of Micro Companies). Launched by Finland, five             ticipants, especially considering the subject wasn’t
     other countries joined in this initiative: Denmark, Greece, Italy, Slovenia and Hungary.        of much interest to many people a few years ago.
     There was a budget of €1.96 million, 70% of which was provided by the Commission.
                                                                                                     Finally Vincent Bovy, Director of the Agence de
     «We worked on the assumption that transfer operations can be profitable, even within            Stimulation Economique (Economic stimulation
     microbusinesses,» explained Ninetta Chaniotou, who monitored the project for the                agency) (Belgium), one of the organizers of the
     Greek partners. Built around a pool of experts and the sharing of tools, REINO brought          Transeo conference, highlighted the three main out-
     specific European characteristics to light, mainly in relation to the mindset of business       comes of the previous two days:
     owners. «In Europe, the dominant emotion when it comes to selling is that of guilt,
     which is not at all the case in the United States, where selling is part of the «normal» life       > We have succeeded in taking the issue of
     of every entrepreneur.»                                                                               business transfers out of the ghetto where it
                                                                                                           had been confined up to now.
     REINO also identified the fact that successors could also avail of help and advice. «We
     must help them keep the business running, but also to expand it,» emphasized Ninetta                > Above all, business transfers are viewed
     Chaniotou, who explained the important differences between the business practices of                  from an entrepreneurial perspective.
     the countries that took part in the REINO project. «In Greece, for example, the Cham-
     bers of Commerce have very little contact with entrepreneurs. On the other hand, estate             > This perspective should allow our SMEs to
     agents have a lot of contact with them. The people trust them. In other countries, this               become more open and more flexible.
     would be completely different. It’s important to know this».

32                                                                                                                                                          33
     Lessons learned    For SOWACCESS and its partners ASE, MkBase in
                        the Netherlands and CRA in France, the objective
                                                                                From the perspective of private players, there
                                                                                is clear value in implementing the network
                                                                                                                                        - Establish a list of all of the existing plat-
                                                                                                                                          forms in Europe and set up Internet links.

      and conclusions   in organizing Transeo was twofold:

                        > To organize the first real international conference
                                                                                quickly, which should be based more on networ-
                                                                                king rather than on structure or governance.
                                                                                «Let’s continue to meet up, start with a few
                                                                                                                                     4. governance
                                                                                                                                         - A flexible structure, without excessive levels
                          on the subject of the transfer of SMEs, aimed         specific projects and the structure will then              of formality.
                          at all European professionals and researchers         follow,» summarised the private players, already         - A type of professional federation.
                          specializing in this sector.                          very satisfied with the quality of the network       In terms of funding:
                                                                                created at the end of these two days in Spa.             - Some funding could come from the Euro-
                        > To confirm among European transfer profes-                                                                       pean Union (where business transfers are
                          sionals the relevance of setting up a European        From the perspective of public players, «orga-             viewed as a very important issue).
                          Transfer Network.                                     nizational» concerns were more apparent here             - The ideal: combined funding from both the
                                                                                (mainly the funding of the future network) but             private and public sphere.
                                                                                there was still enthusiasm about adopting a              - Subscriptions, but not in the case of a «slee-
                                                                                European approach. «Let’s define stages, for the           ping network».
                                                                                short term, medium term and long term,» sug-
                                                                                gested one of the participants.                      5. Next steps
                                                                                                                                        - Organize Transeo 2.
                                                                                1. Needs identified and how these could be              - Establish an efficient Management Commit-
                                                                                   met by the implementation of a European                tee that will represent the different coun-
                                                                                   network                                                tries and sensitivities.
                                                                                   - Bring together best practice.                      - Quickly draw up a written report on the out-
                                                                                   - Need for segmentation, need to take very             come of these past two days.
                                                                                     small enterprises (VSE) into account in par-       - Send this report to the European Commis-
                                                                                     ticular.                                             sion.
                                                                                   - Shared forum for university research.              - With the report, send a request aimed at
                                                                                   - Quality standards for consultants (more              establishing «who will contribute to what».
                                                                                     «filtering»).                                      - Make sure that the network is updated
                                                                                   - Sharing of information (example: broad               regularly (no obsolete names).
                                                                                     overview of taxation and legal practices in        - Obtain everyone’s email addresses.
                                                                                     various European countries).

                                                                                2. Objectives of the future network                  Organizers intend to pursue their actions in
                                                                                   - Lobbying to the European Commission.            order to facilitate business transfer in their res-
                        The objective was largely achieved. The conference         - Raising awareness amongst sellers and           pective business areas. To this end sharing and
                        was as successful as we hoped, with more than                buyers, and also within the media.              disseminating good practices among public
                        200 participants from a number of different coun-          - Making the sector more professional.            and private professionals active in the business
                        tries.                                                     - Stimulating the economy (increase number        transfer sector is essential. This is a determi-
                                                                                     of transactions).                               ning factor to further strengthen and help pro-
                        In addition, there is a clear desire apparent among        - Bringing university researchers together, to    fessionalize the sector. good practices can only
                        the European transfer professionals who attended             go beyond the local level.                      be disseminated through contacts at the regio-
                        the conference to continue these efforts to create         - Providing support services to less-advanced     nal and national levels, and even more so at the
                        a network and to follow up this initiative. More             countries in terms of business transfers.       international level.
                        than 95% of the participants say they are willing to
                        attend a second conference of this type and 50% of      3. possible actions                                  The perpetuation of this kind of initiative is
                        them are considering becoming founder members              - Plan Transeo 2.                                 here at stake, and this through the creation
                        of a future European network.                              - Establish a quality certification (but who      of a European network bringing professionals
                                                                                     will grant this certification?).                together, that is if the project is able to federate
                                                                                   - INVIGORATE the network using tools such         a maximum of professional representatives of
                                                                                     as chat rooms and Internet forums for dis-      business transfer in Europe.
                                                                                     cussing different issues.
                                                                                   - Make certain existing tools available to eve-
                                                                                     ryone (example of the self-assessment tool
                                                                                     developed by Sowaccess).
34                                                                                                                                                                                          35

     19 May                                                                                                    20 May
     09.00                                               Welcome                                               08.15 > 09.30                             Working breakfast

                                                        Introduction                                           09.30 > 10.45              Lessons learnt from the workshops and comments
                              “Business transfer in Europe: a global issue, a local approach”
     10.00 > 12.00
                                                      Plenary Session                                                                                      Coffee break
                                                                                                               10.45 > 11.00
                                   “Business transfer issue: is it all about awareness?”

                                                                                                               11.00 > 12.00   Working groups on the setting up of the European SME Transfer Network
     12.00 > 13.15                         European Cafe - Roundtable discussion

     13.15 > 14.15                                         Lunch                                                                                  Conclusions & Closing Ceremony
                                                                                                               12.00 > 13.00                 European Business Transfer network project
                                                                                                                                                 (Presentation, debate, next steps)
                                                      Plenary session
     14.15 > 15.30             “The role of support services in the business transfer process”
                                                                                                               13.00 > 14.00                                   Lunch

                     Workshop 1               Workshop 2                                 Workshop 3
     15.30 > 17.30   “Strategies for          “Towards a synergy between                 “The matching
                     heightening the          private and public organizations,          platforms: the best
                     seller’s awareness”      to optimize and professionalize the        is yet to come”
                                              support services provided to sellers
                                              and buyers”

     19.30                                              Social Event

36                                                                                                                                                                                                     37
     List of participants
      Alié Béatrice             UCM                                                         Belgium     delflys Willy               Meusinvest                                                           Belgium
      André Cyril               Repreneur                                                    France     delloye Charles             AletheA                                                              Belgium
      Andrieux Jean-Louis       Cotarget                                                    Belgium     dembour Madeleine           Kalamos                                                              Belgium
      Antoine pierre-Emmanuel   Fidecem                                                      France     demenint Frits A.           Adtractum B.V.                                                The Netherlands
      Antonacchio Catherine     Cabinet d’avocats Ramquet-Pricken                           Belgium     depelssemaker Marie         dialectiq                                                            Belgium
      Arnould Raymond           Reforme                                                     Belgium     deplanque Christophe        PME Consult                                                          Belgium
      Arnould Sophie            HEC                                                         Belgium     deroover Alain              Wallonie développement                                               Belgium
      Barbot Marie-Christine    Université du Main, UFR Droit                                France     deschamps Marc              Exego                                                                Belgium
      Barredy Céline            Université Montesquieu Bordeaux IV                           France     deschamps Bérangère         Institut d’Administration des Entreprises de Grenoble (IAE)           France
      Barvaux patrick           Giconsult                                                   Belgium     deville philippe            SRIW                                                                 Belgium
      Beele Emmanuel            Actoria Conseil                                             Belgium     d’Hulstere delphine         Febecoop agence conseil Wallonie asbl                                Belgium
      Benoît Bouchard Cécile    Chambre de Métiers et de l’Artisanat de la Moselle           France     di Bartolomeo Jean-pierre   Sowaccess                                                            Belgium
      Bessemans yves            CEDIP Management                                            Belgium     dohogne Laura               Cabinet du Ministre Marcourt                                         Belgium
      Bobbe Ronald              Orangestone Corporate Finance BV                     The Netherlands    donem damien                Loyens & Loeff Advocaten                                             Belgium
      Bohez philippe            Alter finances                                              Belgium     dorte Heegard Johansen      Danish Enterprise and Construction Authority                        Denmark
      Bonnin Claude             Fidecem                                                      France     dramard Carole              AIG VIE ALICO                                                         France
      Boogmans                  Dirk                                                        Belgium     dufour Josette              Conférence régionale des élus de la Chaudière-Appalaches              Canada
      Boonen Jean-François      SIAGI                                                        France     duh Mojca                   Faculty of Economics and Business                                    Slovenia
      Boussaguet Sonia          Reims Management School                                      France     dumont Axel                 Moore Stephens RSP                                                   Belgium
      Bovy Vincent              Agence de Stimulation Economique                            Belgium     dumont Vincent              Groupe Sambrinvest                                                   Belgium
      Bronner Françoise         Aux Dames du Faubourg                                        France     dumortier Vincent           ECI Services                                                         Belgium
      Brulé gaspard             BMS Avocats                                                  France     dussart Olivier             UCM                                                                  Belgium
      Brunello Toni             Studiocentroveneto                                              Italy   duvillier Bruno             Plateforme                                                            France
      Bruyninckx Hugo           I.M.A.&Partners bvba                                        Belgium     Elarbi Ridha                Ouverture Internationale                                              France
      Cadieux Louise            Université du Québec Trois Rivières                          Canada     Engels Magali               Synapsis                                                             Belgium
      Canis Lionel              Groupe CESACQ                                                France     Engels Michel               C+ Investments                                                       Belgium
      Canù Isabelle             KFW Bankengrüppe                                           Germany      Fabrice Lobet               Ernst & Young                                                        Belgium
      Carré Nathalie            Assemblée Française des Chambres de Commerce et              France     Feldbusch Jean-paul         Namur Invest                                                         Belgium
                                                                                                        Fiorano Emmanuel            PDG Sapinvert                                                         France
      Catabelle Jean-Marie      Cédants et Repreneurs d’Affaires                             France
                                                                                                        Foidart Marc                Cide-Socran                                                          Belgium
      Catrice Amaury                                                                         France
                                                                                                        Fonzé Alain                 Propage-s asbl                                                       Belgium
      Cevirgen Sevkan           Kamer van Koophandel Nederland                       The Netherlands
                                                                                                        Franc Hugues                Réseau Entreprendre Paris                                             France
      Chaniotou Ninetta         Kainuun Etu OY                                               Finland
                                                                                                        Fromenty Eric               Infine Transactions                                                   France
      Clement Roger             Moore Stephens                                       United Kingdom
                                                                                                        gabay Bernard               AFFIX Corporate Finance sprl                                         Belgium
      Collinet Stéphanie        Sowalfin                                                    Belgium
                                                                                                        gaspar Antonio              SPGM - Sociedade de Investimentos, SA                                Portugal
      Coquard pierre            Industria                                                    France
                                                                                                        gavroy Tanguy               CBC                                                                  Belgium
      Crahay Stéphanie          Meusinvest                                                  Belgium
                                                                                                        gheza daniel                Field / Eurefi                                                   Luxembourg
      Curavic Marko             European Commission                                          Croatia
                                                                                                        giroux pierre               Desjardins                                                            Canada
      dalkiaer peter                                              Denmark
                                                                                                        gourmet Jean-pol            Hermes, Ressources et Synergies                                      Belgium
      de Rochechouart Aimery    Plateforme                                                   France
                                                                                                        gustin pierre               ING                                                                  Belgium
      de Waha pierre            Nivelinvest                                                 Belgium
                                                                                                        guyot Jean-Luc              IWEPS                                                                Belgium
      degive philippe           SRIW                                                        Belgium
                                                                                                        Halbardier daniel           Dexia Banque                                                         Belgium
      delbrouck Brigitte        UCM                                                         Belgium
                                                                                                        Hall Annika                 Jönköping International Business School                              Sweden
      delcourt Christian        Conseiller Ecolo                                            Belgium
38                                                                                                      Hamende Valérie             Sowalfin                                                             Belgium    39
     Hatert Johan            CBC                                                                  Belgium    Matser Ilse             Centrum van het Familiebedrijf                   The Netherlands
     Herrera Antonia         PME CONSULT                                                          Belgium    Mayer Hugues-Arnaud     MEDEF                                                    France
     Herve Luc               scrpl L.Herve                                                        Belgium    Mercier Sandrine        OCE - UCM Liège                                         Belgium
     Hoche yannick           APCE                                                                  France    Meurs Freddy            Meusinvest                                              Belgium
     Houba Edith             HEC                                                                  Belgium    Michel philippe         Fortis Banque                                           Belgium
     Houben Thierry          Management Science Consulting                                        Belgium    Mirkovic Rosana         Association of Chartered Certified Accountants   United Kingdom
     Hublet Etienne          AFFIX Corporate Finance sprl                                         Belgium    Monami dominique        Mentally Fit Institute                                  Belgium
     Jaegers Thomas          European Commission                                                  Belgium    Murphy Jane             Lydian                                                  Belgium
     Jan Jaap dijkman        Enterprise Ireland                                            The Netherlands   Nagelhout Michel        Consento Corporate Finance BV                    The Netherlands
     Jarosinski delphine     Agence de Stimulation Economique                                     Belgium    Neuprez Florence        Cible                                                   Belgium
     Jauhernik Ernst         j.i.m.                                                                Austria   Nothnagel Ilja          Association of German Chambers of Industry             Germany
     Jehin Bernard           Sowalfin                                                             Belgium                            and Commerce (DIHK e.V.)
     Jeurissen geert         Coforce                                                              Belgium    Oberling Jérôme         Actoria Conseil                                          France
     Jochem van der Veen     Leeman Verheijden Huntjens Advocaten                          The Netherlands   Oikarinen Sakari        Confidentum Ltd                                          Finland
     Jordan daniel H.        AWEX - Office for Foreign Investors                                  Belgium    pansaers Xavier         Actoria Conseil                                         Belgium
     Joslet Valérie          Sowalfin                                                             Belgium    paquet Jean             BCF Paquet                                              Belgium
     Juha Tall                                                                                     Finland   paulis Nadia            Cible                                                   Belgium
     kegels Rita             MK Base                                                       The Netherlands   pechou Jean             CRA                                                      France
     kieken Thierry          Agence de Stimulation Economique                                     Belgium    pereira Roger           Cabinet du Ministre Michel Daerden                      Belgium
     kilesse André           BDO Atrio Réviseurs d’entreprises                                    Belgium    pertti Linkola          Ministry of Employment and the Economy                   Finland
     klinkenberg Nathalie    WFG OSTBELGIEN VoG                                                   Belgium    peter Birlouet          Delta Mas                                               Belgium
     koener Laurent          Chambre de commerce du Luxembourg                                Luxembourg     peters Martijn                                                           The Netherlands
     krings Henry            Altheas sprl                                                         Belgium    philippe Rooeleer       Fibiz Partners                                          Belgium
     kronenbitter Iris       Wirtschaftsministerium Baden-Württemberg                            Germany     piek Sandra             Consento Corporate Finance BV                    The Netherlands
     krzewinski Christophe   Awex                                                                 Belgium    pirotte Nicolas         Sowalfin                                                Belgium
     kummer Christopher      The Institute of Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances (IMAA)            Suisse   pirotte Isabelle        EMPORES                                                 Belgium
     kyelem Clarisse         Maison de l’entreprise du Burkina Faso                           Burkina Faso   pivetta Frederic        McKinsey & COmpany                                      Belgium
     Lambrecht Johan         EHSAL K.U. Bruxelles                                                Germany     prignon Anne            Groupe Sambrinvest                                      Belgium
     Lazard philippe         KPMG Advisory                                                        Belgium    pruvost Benoît          Chambre Régionale de Commerce et                         France
     Le Strat Mary           Aux Dames du Faubourg                                                 France                            d’Industrie Nord Pas de Calais
     Lebèque Julie           Sowaccess                                                            Belgium    Querinjean Christophe   Sowalfin                                                Belgium
     Lejaer Christiane                                                                            Belgium    Ramakers Clarisse       UCM                                                     Belgium
     Lerat Anne-Marie        SIAGI                                                                 France    Raman Chris             Ventures4Growth                                         Belgium
     Lernoux Frédéric        Cefip asbl                                                           Belgium    Rasqué Tom              Luxembourg Banker’s Association                     Luxembourg
     Lescrenier Benoît       CCILB                                                                Belgium    Remit Jacqueline        PME-KMO                                                 Belgium
     Lesne Véronique         Agence de Stimulation Economique                                     Belgium    Rizzo Sylvain           Copilot                                                 Belgium
     Loverius Frédéric       Copilot                                                              Belgium    Roy Marcel              AECM                                                    Belgium
     Marbehant Alain         ING                                                                  Belgium    Rutten Benoît           Cible                                                   Belgium
     Marcelle Jean-pierre    Awex                                                                 Belgium    Sancristoval Cristina   High Council of Spanish Chambers of Commerce            Espagne
     Marcourt Bernadette     Spi+                                                                 Belgium    Schets Luc              Fibiz Partners BVBA                                     Belgium
     Marcourt Jean-Claude    Walloon Minister of Economy, Employment, Foreign Trade               Belgium    Servais gaëtan          Meusinvest                                              Belgium
                             and Heritage                                                                    Siemes Hubert           Awex                                                    Belgium
     Marcq Fabian            Meusinvest                                                           Belgium    Smal geneviève          Si-Trouille                                             Belgium
     Marly Nathalie          Marly Production                                                     Belgium    Sorbet Maria            Camara Navarra                                            Spain    41
     Steur Etienne           MK Base                                    The Netherlands
     Stucki Christian        Actoria Conseil                                Switzerland
     Tassiaux Nicole         Gré Liège                                         Belgium
     Teepen Robert           Lynxbedrijvenmakelaars                     The Netherlands
     Toussaint Frank         Intraco Consulting                                Belgium
     Trevisan Mario                                                                Italy
     Trinon Thierry          Trinon et Associés                                Belgium
     Upfold Arndt            Wirtschaftsministerium Baden-Württemberg         Germany
     Vaesen Henri            Moore Stephens RSP                                Belgium
     Van de kimmenade        De Familiebedrijven Adviesgroep            The Netherlands
     van der Bijl Fabienne   MK Base                                    The Netherlands
     van der Ven patrick     MKB Nederland                              The Netherlands
     van Rijk Rosalie        MK Base                                    The Netherlands
     Van Teeffelen Lex       HogeSchool Utrecht                         The Netherlands
     Vandermeersch Eric      Actoria Belgium                                   Belgium
     Vanderveken Vincent     Comase                                            Belgium
     Vandevenne Julien                                                         Belgium
     Vangysegem Virginie     Sowalfin                                          Belgium
     Vanparys Claude         Tradecorp sprl                                    Belgium
     Vereecke Olivier        Partners PME                                      Belgium
     Von Buxhoeveden                                                           Belgium
     Vryens Jean-François    Indufin                                           Belgium
     Wattelier Frank         Ouverture Internationale                           France
     Weerts Laurent          Deloitte                                          Belgium
     Westerlaken Martijn     MK Base                                    The Netherlands
     Willockx Olivier        BECI                                              Belgium
     Winnen Eric             dialectiq                                         Belgium
     Withnack Bryan          Synapsis                                          Belgium
     Wuidard Jean-Luc        Cabinet d’avocats Ramquet-Pricken                 Belgium
     Zemann Maarten          MKB Nederland                              The Netherlands

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