EWE Mentor Academy: Workshop 3 – findings

30 January 2023

Financial diagnosis was the main focus of the third workshop of the EWE Mentor Academy that took place on 17 and 19 January, 2023.

Financial diagnosis was the main focus of the third workshop of the EWE Mentor Academy that took place on 17 and 19 January, 2023. It was attended by 82 experienced and new business mentors from 29 countries who will be working to support struggling SMEs across EU and third COSME countries.

Mentors working with smaller companies are not necessarily best served by the sometimes overly complex tools used by large corporations. Often, they will do better to focus on simple, agile tools that can help micro companies and SMEs in times of crisis. This workshop discussed specific tools used by Early Warning Europe Network (EWEN) mentors in Poland and Denmark. And case studies were used to stimulate discussion on ideas of how to best assist companies at risk of failure.

Once again a range of methodologies, including case studies, videos, checklists, exercises and group discussion ensured a lively learning experience and exchange of ideas. Participants were encouraged to explore a number of practical and effective mentoring tools and methodologies to structure the mentoring process and to address specific case studies. This provided an opportunity to develop skills in applying the tools in a practical and systematic way.

Working on a European project which incorporates all EU Member States and third COSME countries is always a challenge, given the legal and cultural contexts of their countries. To support a country-specific approach the EWEMA team has developed a National Context Checklist for new mentors to initiate research into their national norms and regulations. This checklist can also help experienced mentors to check their own expertise and stimulate further reflection on their knowledge and experience from European best practices.

Some important areas covered by the National Context Checklist include

  1. Role and resources from public authorities
  2. Financial assistance (private & public)
  3. Restructuring debts
  4. Legal framework for insolvency
  5. Business norms and practices
  6. Cultural aspects related to failure, gender and age

Since realities vary from country to country, participants have much to gain from working with colleagues from their own or similar countries when it comes to adapting the various methodologies to their local context. Using the insights gleaned from these exchanges, the EWEMA team will finalise the national context checklist to guide future mentors.

Looking forward, it was noted that there was a lot of interest in the segment about insolvency law practices and that participants would appreciate more information about legal frameworks. Commercial and marketing strategies were also deemed very important. The mentor group recommended a presentation about the possibility for developing a 360-degree overview to inform a company’s outreach, from commercial strategies to social media.

During the next workshop, the main focus will be on the personal communication and psychological challenges faced by the mentor supporting a person and company in crisis. There will also be a chance to work with case studies, which is the mentors’ favourite form of learning and exchange of best practices.  The workshop will take place on 7 and 9 of February.

« Back