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Training SME managers/owners in strategic management

Life-long learning programme



Within the lifelong learning programme

Project title Training of managers/owners of SMEs in strategic management
Project number CZ/12/LLP-LdV/TOI/134004
Project duration 12/2012 - 02/2015
Total budget EUR 260 742

Disclaimer: Project was financed from the support of the European Commission through the National Agency for European Educational Programmes (NAEP) of the Czech Republic, Leonardo da Vinci Call "Innovation Transfer 2012". This web page reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. Minimum required participation of the project holders in financing is 25 %.

Project outline

Small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) represent a pillar of EU economies, where they represent more than 90 % of the number of registered firms, create more than 65 % of job opportunities in the private sector, and over 54 % of the total value added (see Eurostat). Their sustainable develoment, competitiveness, and growth therefore represent one of the top economic priorities of the EU (see the Innitiative for SME support adopted by the European commission in 2008). Research (Beaver,2002; Laveren et al., 2002; Mazzarol, 2004), though, shows, that SMEs have some natural weaknesses, which negateively influence their long-term competitiveness - their managers and/or owners do not manage their firms strategically. One of the key reasons for this fact is that managers and/or owner of SMEs do not have sufficient theoretical knowledge in order to be able to do so.

Through transfer of know-how from the Leonardo da Vinci project "Business Transfer Project II" realized by the Jönköping International Business School (Sweden; JIBS) focusing on online training of managers of these businesses this project also results in creating training portal, which enables owners/managers of SMEs to gain new, practically focused knowledge from the field of strategic management. Innovation transfer was mainly based on implementation of the approach of so called online scoring (in the BTP II project called online screening tool), which enables identification of the training needs of particular users and offers peronalized online courses. Users are directed to the particular modules according to the result of scoring.

The platform is available in four languages: Czech, Slovak, Swedish, and English, making it available for managers/owners of SMEs in the particular countries, and thanks to English also in the United Kingdom and other EU and world countries.

Project consortium consisted of the following partners, who continue in cooperation also after the end of the project funding:

Role Name Country Type of organisation
Coordinator from May 2014 Mendel University in Brno Czech Republic Public university
Parner Jönköping International Business School Sweden University
Partner School of Management in Trenčín Slovakia Private school
Associated partner Association of small and medium sized enterprises of the Czech Republic Czech Republic Non-profit organisation
Associated partner POPAI Central Europe Czech Republic Non-profit organisation
Applicant and original coordinator until April 2014,
withdrew from the project
B.I.B.S., a.s. Czech Republic Private school

Main results of the project

Web portal aiming on strategic management of SMEs

At the end of October 2014 there was opened a test version (and full version started at the end of November 2014) of the portal for owners and managers of small and medium size enterprises, who can use it for testing, whether they manage their companies strategically, compare their score with those of other SMEs in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden and Finland, and in practically focused eLearning sessions they can learn, how to create a strategy fro their company, and manage it through a well thought-thgrough strategy. The portal includes all results mentioned below, and is continuously updated.

International comparative research report on strategick management of SMEs in four EU countries

In the period of May-July 2014 the STEM/MARK agency has done a research on the attitudes of managers/owners of SMEs in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, and Finland towards strategic management, which served as the basis of the scoring model used by the project portal to evaluate the training needs of the users, and their subsequent redirection to appropriate modules of the eLerning elaborated within the project. Data from this research was also used for elaboration of international comparative research report, which is available on the portal

The comparative research report concludes that in spite of the seeming similarity of results in all countries, statistical analysis shows a number of differences. The expected similarity of Czech and Sloval companies was actually confirmed only in considerations of sufficiency of financial resources for a new project, realisticity of plans, taking corrective measures in case of not keeping plans, monitoring general societal trends, and in the internal harmony of particular units of the company. All other issues were seen differently, in these two countries. Also the assumed similarity of Swedish and Finnish companies was not really confirmed - answers were similar only in setting objectives, evaluation of advantages over competition in profitability, realisticity of plans, internal communication of plans, monitoring performance, following societal trends, and in the harmony of company structure with the desired objectives.

Maximum overall similarity among the particular sountries was found in following the general societal trends, where the only difference was identified in the opinions of Slovak and Finnish respondents, whereas in all other country-couples (CZ-SK; CZ-FI; CZ-SW; SK-SW; FI-SW) the evaluation was similar (based on the chi-square test).

Whole report is available here.

On-line scoring/benchmarking and eLearning platform,

On-line system enabling its users to evaluate their approach to strategic management, and compare it with the data on strategic management of SMEs acquired through the quantitative research in the above-mentioned countries. The result is available on the main project portal after a  free registration here.

eLearning material (outline and training materials),

The main result of the project are the eLearning materials guiding the user through the process of strategic management. The most suitable way of the ir use is undergoing the scoring evaluation after which the user is directed to particular chapters of the whole coplex of modules, nevertheless the users can also go through the course contents as a whole (not only through the "recommended" chapters). The result is available on the main project portal after a  free registration here.

Final report

Final report summarizing these and other results of the project solution and other required documentation was submitted to the NAEP on April 29, 2015.

Particular activities focused on personal address of SMEs representatives

Conference on practice of doing business - January 29, 2015, 9-17, FBE MENDELU

Free, practical conference for enterpreneurs, owners and managers of SMEs, family firms, and business start-ups with 150 registered participants.

Practical workshops: How to create a strategy for a small or medium-sized company?

Within solution of this project there were organized three free workshops on SME strategy fromulation in Prague, Brno, and Bratislava. Using the suport of the Swedish know-how and European project the workshops focused on presentation of principles of strategic management, and an effective procedure of strategy formulation based on a practical methodology. Workshops were jointly organized by all project partners.

Terms of the workshops

PragueJan 8, 2015AMSP ČR
Sokolovská 100/94
(Meteor Centre Office Park B)
186 00 Praha 8 (Karlín)
BrnoJan 20, 2015FBE MENDELU
Zemědělská 1
613 00 Brno
Building Q
BratislavaFeb 10, 2015Vysoká škola manažmentu/City University of Seattle
Panónska cesta 17
851 04 Bratislava

Duration of workshops: 10:00 - 16:00

Except the above-mentioned activities organized directly by the project team, there were a number of other activities related to project publiity and dissemination of results (participation in conferences, publishing press-releases, press conferences, publishing papers in expert and scientific journals etc.).

Further information about the conference in January 29, 2015

CONFERENCE on practice of doing business: How to create a strategy in small, medium-size and family companies?

    Term and place: 29. 1. 2015, Faculty of Business and Economics, MENDELU, Zemědělská 1, 613 00, Brno, Building Q.

    Conference programme

    8.15 - 9.00Registration
    9.00 - 9.05Official opening and wellcome
    Assoc. Prof. Pavel Žufan, Ph.D.
    Project coordinator, MENDELU
    9.05 - 9.35SMEs and strategy. Why should they have it?
    Assoc. prof. Karel Havlíček, Ph.D., MBA
    Chairman of the Czech SMEs association
    9.35 - 10.15Successful family firm and strategy -- How to develop successful strategy?
    Ing. Libor Musil
    Chairman of the board of directors of LIKO-S, a.s. Slavkov u Brna
    Winner of the Czech family firm of the 2014 award
    10.15 - 10.55How to define strategy in SMEs? A practical strategic management method for SMEs.
    Tomáš Pyšný, Ph.D.
    10.55 - 11.10Coffee break
    11.10 - 11.35Results of SMEs research in CR, SWE, SK, FIN.
    Assoc. Prof. Pavel Žufan, Ph.D., Alena Hanzelková, Ph.D., MBA
    Project coordinators, MENDELU
    11.35 - 12.20Possibilities of exploiting the EU funds for development of entrepreneurship -- new calls for support of SMEs
    Patrik Reichl
    12.20 - 13.00Lunch
    13.00 - 13.30Strategic procurement management as a course of competitive advantage in SMEs.
    Ing. František Němeček, MBA
    Purchasing Core Manager Industrial Turbomachinery Siemens,
    founder of procurement server
    13.30 - 14.15How to manage family firm succession successfully?
    Prof. Matti Koiranen
    Professor Emeritus of the Finnish University of Jyväskylä, entrepreneur
    14.15 - 14.45Corporate governance -- when and how to use it?
    Prof. Juha Kansikas
    University of Jyväskylä
    14.45 - 15.00Break
    15.00 - 15.35Small firms and external management
    Dr. Massimo Bau
    Jönköping International Business School, Sweden
    Member of the Swedish CeFEO, one of the forefront, globally recognized centres of research and training in the field of family firms management
    15.35 - 16.05Human resources and strategy in SMEs
    Dr. František Hroník
    Owner of successful SME Motiv P, MBA lecturer
    16.05 - 16.35Leadership in fast growing SMEs
    Christian Fuchs, Ph.D., MBA
    Engrepreneur (Germany), graduate of Ph.D. studies at MENDELU
    16.35 - 16.45Introducing online e-learning platform in support of strategic management in SMEs
    Alena Hanzelková, Ph.D., MBA
    Researcher, MENDELU
    16.45Discussion and end

    Disclaimer: Project was financed from the support of the European Commission through the National Agency for European Educational Programmes (NAEP) of the Czech Republic, Leonardo da Vinci Call "Innovation Transfer 2012". This web page reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.