Business Generator is a model for managing innovation and growth in SME´s, with a structured method on how to use external expertise and give concrete results.
Business Generator as a new model for supporting SMEs was initiated by Anette Rhudin by using results from the researcher Hans Lööf and Börje Johansson. The solution tested departed from the challenge facing SMEs not having enough of external expertis and development support to be able to grow. The model involve the role of the local Bank in supporting with investments when the external expertise is in place. The external expertise always consists of four people, gender balanced, with different skills, networks and competence chosen to match the needs of the specific enterprise. They all give coaching accordingly to a designed plan, meeting 10 times over three years. The focus is on identifying the keys to success for each business. Acting as coaches, they ask the challenging questions that result in new decisions and tangible change. The new model was launched by a regional based Foundation, named Inova and tested through an ERDF-funded project in the region Värmland. The results, consisting of growth for the participating companies, also led to the result that the Business Generator was selected as the most successful project in the European Enterprise Promotion Award 2017. Today the model is used in different adapted forms, by different actors in Sweden, led by Anette Rhudin in the name of Navigator Scaleup. A national steering committe have been established, with actors representing funding agencies, business support, universities, and banks.

Resources needed

One full time project manager and one project assistant.
Financial officer 10 %.
Four people around 20 companies, not the same in every group, in total 55 persons.
The financiers participated in the meeting and Business Generators board.

Evidence of success

Twenty companies increased their sales on average by 29 % (EUR 5 443 357) and profitability with 272 % (EUR 799 674 in total) over two years. 45 new jobs. They also bought more external service when they started to scale-up. Tax revenues climbed by EUR 860 361. Gender equality in the group adds perspective to the development process. The attitudes of local banks are crucial for development opportunities for businesses. Follow-up has included collection of statistics after two years with a BG.

Difficulties encountered

Hard to attract SME´s to invest in entrepreneurial skills. Difficulty describing their process - what it costed. It´s impossible to scale-up, if you don´t think strategic thoughts. “With my BG I am running a business for real. I went from being self-employed to a business leader.”

Potential for learning or transfer

Business Generator won EEPA 2017. After the ceremony the jury expressed that there has never been such an easy decision, BG is easy to adopt all over Europe and scalable SME´s are Europe´s future. Using the model tested in the BG project serves as a verified tool to implement the ambitions stated in The Small Business Act (SBA), the overarching framework for the EU policy on SMEs. It aims to improve the approach to entrepreneurship in Europe. One identified barrier is the difficulty in accesing finance. Other areas of the SBA in which the regions can support SMEs include upgrading skills and innovation and facilitating access to knowledge. The findings from the BG project can be used by regional authorities when implementing SBA and through the usage of ERDF-funding. Many companies disappear today because they took the wrong decision, without talking to others. With a professional BG they are a team with one goal; support that makes a difference and fulfil dreams!

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Main institution
Norra Mellansverige, Sweden (Sverige)
Start Date
January 2015
End Date
December 2017


Erica Åkerberg Please login to contact the author.

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