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The Business Support Professionals Career pathway


Business Enterprise Support (United Kingdom)


Business Enterprise Support Limited (BES) is a company limited by guarantee which has been registered with the BERR as a local Enterprise Agency since 1983 although it was not until 1997 that the company repositioned itself as BES.  One of its priorities is the promotion of selfemployment to those who would not normally consider this option as a career and they do this through a whole range of products and services delivered across the West Midlands. Their mission statement is “To promote, develop and enable an enterprise culture.”


BES holds quality and continuous improvement at the forefront of all of its activities.  Their business systems incorporate a range of recognised standards which includes Customer First, Matrix, the principles of Investor in People, and the Adult Learning Inspectorate Common Inspection Framework (ALI), all of which are driven by a system operated through ISO 9001:2000. Following their ALI inspection in 2004, BES had the distinction of being awarded the highest level of grade one, being one of only two self- employment providers to hold this grade in the country.  They have recently achieved the Prowess Flagship status for women’s enterprise development.


BES has supported people setting up in business for over 24 years, working with Business Links since their inception.  They currently deliver enterprise support services for Business Link in South Staffordshire, Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin areas.  Through this contract, and the LSC funded Regional New Entrepreneur Scholarship Programme, BES has supported in the region of 1,200 individuals interested in starting their own business or becoming self-employed.  Of these clients, they have helped start 400-600 new enterprises each year throughout the West Midlands. Their focus is towards the further embedding of the enterprise culture in under represented groups and they work closely with the West Midlands Centres of Enterprise Expertise for Ethnic Minorities, Women, Young People and Social Enterprises to achieve their mission and vision.



Birmingham City University (United Kingdom)


BCU is represented in the project by its business faculty, Birmingham City Business School. The university mission is to be a practice-based university and all of the faculties undertake professional development programmes on behalf of professional bodies. The Business School has undertaken professional programmes for over thirty years on behalf of UK bodies including, ACCA, Chartered Institute of Marketing, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Institute of Public Relations, Financial Services Institute. More recently it has secured accreditation for European provision e.g. European Foundation for Management Development.


The Business School benefits from a clear focus in its research and commercial activities. It has established expertise in enterprise and innovation development. Under the septennial review of UK university research published in December 2008, all of its enterprise and innovation development work was deemed to be of national significance, with the majority of international significance and a high proportion of world class standard.  Its established expertise in this area has led to the Business School leading projects under the EU Asia programme (with partners in India, China, Spain, Poland, and Germany) to identify postgraduate approaches and programmes to the development firstly of entrepreneurship, and then in a separate application, of innovation management and technology transfer. 


The Business School has worked throughout this period to undertake policy research upon enterprise development on behalf of regional, national, European and international government and agencies. It has a team of academic staff members who research, consult and teach business and enterprise support. 



Syntrawest (Belgium)


Syntra West is a not for profit organisation set up in 1960 in the Province of West-Flanders, Belgium which is providing 3,5 million training hours every year for about 55,000 trainees. They are working with 2,000 part-time trainers and a staff of 250 persons. There are 6 training campuses. Their target groups are start ups, company managers, senior staff and employees of small and medium-sized companies. Besides, they are making their know-how and structure available towards non-profit organisations and public enterprises.


The offer is made up of short term and long term training sessions, initiation, rush courses, broken down into 4 groups: technical training sessions in 200 professions, management training, IT training and specific language courses by which they are mostly working with native speakers as trainers.

They also developed their own training and didactical material.

Syntra West is acknowledged for receiving training cheques and is ISO 9001-certified. The departments Management and Informatics are also Q*For-certified. 


Syntra West provides specialised training programmes for starting businesses and plays as such a determining role in the success rate of starting businesses. Personal advice can be of utmost importance and can play a determining role in the success rate of starting businesses. Many starters have problems in translating the acquired knowledge into their own business plan or into a real business. These starters are in need of professional business support which was only fractionally present in different organisations. This is one of the main reasons why Syntra West created a branch called Syntra Consult who offers consultancy and trainings towards SME’s. They work with a network of associated trainers so they can provide expertise on all the disciplines of management.



The Retail Business Confederation of Andalusia (CECA – Confederación Empresarial de Comercio de Andalucía) (Spain)


CECA was created in 1979 in order to defend and improve the interests of retailing  businessmen/-women. Since then, the Institution has been working very hard in order to maintain traditional commerce in the region of Andalucía by adapting this sector to the market new politics. Many efforts have been made indeed in order to influence the structure and contents of business politics, especially in a regional level and make them be more egalitarian and easy to follow for men and women.


The CECA represents more than 30.000 retail shops and around 68.000 workers. The institution is developing new politics aimed at promoting training and improving competitively of small businesses. Among them, the institution gives special importance to the activities focused on the improvement of new technologies and actions related to R&D + Innovation, changes, and market new features. 


The CECA is made by eight smaller representative organisations in Andalusia. Furthermore, it has representatives in wider (national) institutions, such as the CEOE (Spanish Confederation of Business Organisations), CEPYME (Spanish Confederation of Small and Medium Enterprises), and the CEC (Spanish Confederation of Trade). Finally, the CECA is also represented within the FORCEM (National Tripartite Foundation of Training) and collaborates in several projects with this national training institution.


The CECA has been stressing its activities within the following points:

-          Training of both businessmen and workers

-          Creation of new urban retailing figures

-          Community Engagement

-          Integral trading support

-          Business Support Professionals Qualifications, Assessment and Accreditations 



Gospodarska Zbornica Slovenije, Center Za Poslovno Usposabljanje (Slovenia)


The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, Institute for business education is one of the education and training providers for adults with the longest tradition and experience in expert seminars, training courses, workshops, short- and long-term courses and other events for the needs of business subjects. Their mission is to supply businesses with high-quality, contemporary and applicable knowledge together with national and international experiences and good business practice examples according to the ‘’practice to practice’’ principle.

An important part of the institute’s activities is the validation and certification of national vocational qualifications. For that purpose the institute established examination centres within its organization structure which is in charge of technical, administrative and professional validation and certification.

IBE has therefore several public authorizations for providing preparatory courses as well as for assessment and certification of qualifications for exams obtained from several Ministries.

In addition to public authorizations IBE organizes and administrates exams in accordance to the CCICS Regulations on assessment and confirmation of qualifications. Regulations were confirmed by the Board of directors of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia.

Knowledge, years of experiences of their staff and cooperation with domestic and foreign experts enable them to develop and provide high-quality short-time education and training programmes as
well as post secondary non-university technical part-time programmes for adults.


Main goals of education and training of management and experts are:


-          Higher productivity

-          Increasing of rationalisation and quality of business practice

-          Higher quality of products and services


International cooperation and project management is an important organization part of IBE. We have a wide international business network and several ongoing international and national projects focused on education, training and different economy sectors. 



The European Management Centre (Bulgaria)


EMC is working since 2001 in the field of VET and services offered for SME’s – especially Strategic Management - Company Development, Modern Marketing and Customer Relationship Management, Cost Efficiency Strategy, Team Motivation, Logistics Management etc.


The EMC works with the objective to assist companies, non-commercial organizations and individuals to maintain a level of professional skill enabling them to compete in the ever more challenging global market place.


EMC adopts a strictly practical approach, identifying and developing the intrinsic strengths of the client's organisation. EMC works closely with clients in order to identify the essential requirements for the achievement of objectives and indeed the identification of those objectives. EMC provides a Training Centre using up-to-date equipment.


Up to year 2008 managers from around 800 Bulgarian organizations have received training in a variety of programmes at the Centre.


-          Vocational education and training

-          Continuing education

-          Management

-          Other fields

-          Social competences

-          Consulting 



Servicekontoret for Næringslivet  City Oslo (Norway)


Norway Servicekontoret for Næringslivet is a division of the City of Oslo Agency for Business Development; An agency founded on 1 September 1997 by a decision of the City Council on 6 June 1997, as a merger of the former Restaurant and Licensing Office and the Oslo Municipal Secretariat for Business and Industry. The Agency is organised under the Municipal Department of Business Development and Cultural Affairs. One of their priorities is the help and guidance to those who wish to start their own business in the City of Oslo. They do this through a whole range of products and services.  Their mission statement is “Kompetanse for et godt næringsliv” which translates roughly to: “Competence for a quality business community”

The Agency for Business Development Services provides coordinated information and advice to companies and entrepreneurs in all industries in Oslo. The Service has a separate advisory division for setting up businesses: The Business Development Division. They also provide start-up
help for companies in English language, including a free introductory course in how to set up a business in Norway. The Agency for Business Development Services holds quality and continuous improvement at the forefront of all of its activities.  Their business systems incorporate a
range of recognised standards which they call BRER, Brukerorientering Redelighet Engasjement Respekt which mean Customer focus, Accountability, Commitment, and Respect. The Agency has supported people setting up in business for the past 10 years, working closely with other government agencies.
Servicekontoret for Næringslivet receives more than 10 000 inquiries a year, and has supported several thousand individuals interested in starting their own business or becoming self-employed. They strive towards reaching as many clients as possible with their budgeted means. This leads to innovating solutions and new ways of thinking when it comes to customer service. Especially the concept of 24 hour accessibility has caught on, and they are developing several different
tools for use on the internet.

 Servicekontoret for Næringslivet works in close cooperation with the neighbouring county (Akershus) and the Norwegian federal government through a program called RIP (Regionalt Innovasjons Program) – Regional Innovation Program, a comprehensive program to assist all business upstarts and entrepreneurs. Funds are funnelled from federal, county and municipal sources to benefit the program.