On 27 May, 2019 the SEED Foundation hold an event organized in the frame of Personal Entrepreneurship Mentor Program at the headquarters of the Vas County Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Szombathely with the participation of several entrepreneurs' organizations. There was a lively discussion on the characteristics of Hungarian micro and small businesses, the spill-over effects of shortage profession as well as on the opportunities offered by mentoring role.
Károly Balogh, Secretary General of Vas County Chamber of Commerce and Industry outlined the importance of such programs for entrepreneurs and especially for businesses operating in Vas County. He promised to spread the message of the Personal Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program on every possible forum.
László Németh, President of the Hungarian Association of Craftmen’s Corporations, pointed out that the survival rate of enterprises was very low in Hungary: 45.1 percent of the businesses founded in 2010, while only 27.1 percent of the individual entrepreneurs having started in the mentioned year were active in 2015. The survival rate of cooperatives is even lower, it is only 26.4 percent. That is why the Personal Entrepreneurship Mentoring Program is just needed. Micro and small businesses have to be helped in order to increase their competitiveness and efficiency being conditions of their survival. In this process, communication is of great importance, it should be explained in detail what can a mentored entrepreneur get in such a program. László Németh also pointed out a very interesting aspect: Generation change must also mean the transfer of professions. Wine culture is developing in vain in Hungary, if we do not have the right wine coopers, we can’t develop the equestrian culture in the absence of saddle makers or how we have internationally known shoe makers, if shoe-last makers are not available. This is mainly true for entrepreneurs working in a particular profession, and they can only pass their client base developed over decades to their children if they are capable for similar performance like their mothers and fathers.
Zsuzsanna Lakatosné Lukács, Managing Director of the SEED Foundation, during the presentation of the Personal Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program, besides the technical details, highlighted that one of the very important elements of such a program is that the mentor and the mentee can further develop their relationship system facilitating so the creation of new businesses as well. For this purpose, in the frame of the Personal Entrepreneurship Mentoring Program, several events have been organized offering possibility to mentors and mentees and mentors to meet each other. For being able to build relationships an existing extensive network of contacts is one of the main conditions of mentors’ application enabling them to promote the successful activity of their mentees.
In his interesting performance, Péter Bedővári, head of the Szombathely branch of Budapest Bank, was dealing with exciting and current issues. The main statements of his lecture were based on a survey conducted by Budapest Bank, which was carried out by the credit institution among small and medium enterprises employing 10-49 people with a turnover higher than HUF 500 million and HUF 200 million. For the vast majority of these enterprises, no separate management functions have emerged, so almost all of the management tasks are assigned to the company owner. This is due, among others, to the fact that most of the businesses are characterized by the progressive development of daily work. This is due, among other things, to the fact that most of the businesses are characterized by the progressive development of daily work. 52 percent of the managers of the surveyed companies do not consider themselves consciously organized: that is, the current structure has gradually developed during the daily work, not as a result of conscious organizational development.
More than half of businesses are less structured, so they often do not create or fulfil separate management positions in some areas. These tasks are carried out by the owner or by the number one leader, who is thus assigned several exclusive tasks at the same time. For example, economic and financial managers can be found only in about 40 percent of the businesses, while only 5 percent of the companies are employing HR managers. Conscious organizational development can improve the efficiency of enterprises, giving more attention to strategic issues such as retention of workforce or digitalization.
The Head of the branch office said about the change of generation as one of the biggest challenges facing family businesses: The majority of Hungarian small and medium-sized enterprises were founded in the years after the change of regime, i.e. 20-25 years ago, so their managers reached or slowly are reaching the pension age. Nonetheless, a relatively small proportion of SMEs keep this issue on the agenda. Mainly, 100% family-owned businesses are dealing with the problem: it is on the agenda of around 30%, of which 17% have already started the process. In terms of sector breakdown, agricultural enterprises are at the forefront: the issues have been raised in 37% of these enterprises and the handover is in progress in 15% of these businesses.
Zsuzsanna Bácskai, an entrepreneur from Székesfehérvár who participated as a mentor in a former mentoring program and having intention to take part in the Personal Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program, talked about what the mentor gets in such a process. She began her speech with a deep-set sentence: "I believe we are always teaching what we need to learn." That is, at the beginning of the mentoring process, the mentor must look at his own company, think carefully about his own business, as the mentor will guide the mentee on this basis. The mentor has to put important questions to himself in connection with his company. The last question is the following: Who I am? That is, the mentoring process can be understood as a process of self-knowledge. She worked together with two mentors earlier and, as a result of the process, both of her "disciples" have changed a lot humanly and professionally as well. In the mentoring process, she herself has received many ideas and has established a relationship with his mentors and mentees until today. She emphasized that these relationships could also result in businesses as well.