Page 16

Questionnaire The questionnaire revealed interesting and innovative future solutions to how SME business advisory services should look like. In essence the answers converged to one important point – collection of different types of business information from all Baltic Sea region countries in one place and faster access to this information. Another crucial aspect that is emphasized by all the participants is a need for greater collaboration among the business advisors from different countries, as this pool of collective knowledge is far better than a single advisor with information from only one country. There were five groups made randomly out of 28 participants from four countries namely, Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Estonia. Only three groups answered the questionnaire. One of the groups suggested the establishment of a ‘one-desk service’ for consultation of entrepreneurs, first on the national level and then scaled up to the Baltic Sea region. This group highlighted the importance of international network of consultants, their communication and sharing of information and best practices. It was suggested that face-to-face advisory services should exist for more complicated and long-term issues. Their idea behind this ‘one-service desk’ is to have the issue resolved at once without any delay or then it is sent for a detailed analysis if complicated. The need to have an electronic database containing information about national legislation, business registry and relevant necessary information from all the Baltic Sea region countries has been expressed by almost every group. Access to this database should be available to all concerned parties and stakeholders for faster information access whenever it is needed without much bureaucracy in the way. Most common issues of internationalization and their solutions, what worked and what did not work, should be freely available through this database. This information can be gathered from SMEs and business advisors and then compiled in an easily readable and accessible manner. It is also suggested that the business advisory services should be monitored for quality control and satisfaction of all the stakeholders should be evaluated. Suggestions for the improvement of services should be taken into account and implemented wherever necessary. The issue of training of the staff in English language has also been brought up in the questionnaire and their information regarding international legislation. Cooperation between national level authorities and business advisory services is greatly desired to share experiences and information, to identify strengths and weaknesses and to provide a joint service with faster and easier access.

Summary of basis book