VISEGRAD PROJECT 2018: HOW TO PREVENT SMEs FROM FAILURE (Actions based on comparative analysis in Visegrad countries and Serbia)



24.05.2019 – 26.05.2019. Round table: “The failure of SMEs – how to prevent it” ?

The Round table with the topic “The failure of SMEs – how to prevent it” was organized in accordance to the project plan in the period 24.05. to 26.05.2019, in Hotel Jezero at Bors Lake, in Bor, Serbia.

The participants of the Round Table, from the Obuda University (Hungary) were Rebeka Szucs; Cyntia Velocikova; Aniko Keleman Erdos; Melinda Majlath; Ferenc Katona and Andras Kastelay. From Tomas Bata University in Zlin (Czech Republic), the representatives were: Petr Novak; Petr Briš and Gentyan Cera. From University  University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava (Slovak Republic) representatives were Lenka Labudova; Denisa Janoševa and Rudolf Rybansky. Representatives of the The Managers of Quality and Production Association  (Poland) were: Renata Stasiak-Betlejewska; Joanna Rosak-Szyrocka; Justyna Zywiolek and  Adam Idzikowski. Representative of foreign academic institution, outside Visegrad countries, was Ollala Diaz Yanez from University of Eastern Finland. Representatives from academic institutions Serbia were: Sanja Marinkovic – expert in the filed of entrepreneurship, from the Faculty of Organizational Sciences- University of Belgrade; Uglješa Bugarić from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering – University of Belgrade; Slobodan Aćimović from the Faculty of Economy of the University of Belgrade;+. Representatives of SMEs owners and entrepreneurs from the Bor’s region were Ivana Milivojević, Danica Aleksić and Željka Zdravković. Representatives of the technical Faculty in Bor – University of Belgrade, who were the organizers of this event, were: Ivan Mihajlović ; Isidora Milošević; Anđelka Stojanović; Đorđe Nikolić; Enisa Nikolić and Milica Veličković.

During this round table, the participants from all partner institutions of the  project have presented the obtained results of the conducted research on potential SMEs failure, that were collected during the interviews with entrepreneurs in their region. The reports that were presented on this meeting are actually presenting the chapters which are published in the monograph MONOGRAPH_final. Also, representatives of the partner institutions received the hard copy of the Monograph, during this meeting and remaining material published for the project.

Participants of this event, also had opportunity to participate and present their manuscript in adequate sections of the International May Conference on Strategic Management IMCSM 2019 (IMCSM 2019). The publications and presentations, of all project participants on this conference, will be published in the Book of Proceedings of the IMCSM2019.

In frame of this project event, organized in Bor, also the social events also were organized. The social events included the Banquet dinner, organized on 25th of May. During the banquet dinner, participants had chance to communicate with each other and to work on further networking. Also, Serbian traditional music and customs were presented to Visegrad county representatives. Another cultural event was the excursion to near bay touristic location “Zlot’s cave” and “The canyon of the Zlot’s river”. The excursion was organized on 26th of May.

Another important thing that was discussed on the Round Table is the possibility to publish the most important results of this project in the special issue of Serbian Journal fo Management ( Namely, considering that the project resulted with high level of quality results, which can be additionally analysed and processed in high quality publications, the plan is to prepare this special issue in November 2019.


PRESS RELEASE: Usually it is not so difficult to start new SMEs. What is the major problem is how to keep it going and eventually grow. During this round table, that will be organised in Bor, Serbia, representatives of project partners from Visegrad countries and Serbia will discuss the potential factors that can cause the failure of SMEs. The experience from this meeting will be shared with local entrepreneurs and will be used for further research on this project.

Also, at this meeting, the project partners will discuss the directions for analysis and processing of the data collected during he survey, organised in previous stages of the project.

The idea is that based on this project research results, one special issue of the Serbian Journal of Management ( will be prepared. This will be the issue 14 (2) 2019, that will be published in November 2019.  The details will also be discussed on this round table.


04.02. 2019 – 20.05. 2019. Preparing monograph with the title “How to prevent SMEs from failure”, based on the reports of the meeting in Zlin and subsequent research.

During this stage of the project, all partners from the Visegrad countries and project coordinator from Serbia were actively involved in preparing the reports of the survey for publication in the Monograph: “How to prevent SMEs from failure”. The monograph will contain the chapters, prepared by all the project participants, that will describe present situation in SMEs sectors in their regions. Also, the reasons for SMEs failure will be addressee here. The online preliminary version of the monograph, is available HERE: MONOGRAPH_final

The hard copy of the monograph will also be available to project partners on the Round table in Bor.

The template for the Monograph, that was used by the project partners during preparation of the chapters, is available here: V4 Monography How to prevent SMEs failure

17.12.2018–25.03.2019. Testing entrepreneurs from SMEs through survey methods and the measuring scale

After successful development of the measuring scale, and putting it online HERE , all partners of the project started interviews with local entrepreneurs. During this phase, the reasons for SMEs failure are collected. This data will be used in the subsequent phase to analyse the most important factors and to do comparative analysis between EU and non EU economies. This results will be the base for joint publications and discussions at the round table event, that will be organized in Bor (Serbia) i the period 26-26th of May 2019. The details will also be presented here.

27.10 – 16.12. 2018. Report presenting the measuring scale that can be used to assess the present health of SMEs

After successful initial meeting in Zlin, representatives of research teams from all partner institutions started to work on development of the measuring scale, that will be used to assess the reasons for SMEs failure. The initial measuring tool was prepared by representatives of Technical faculty in Bor, and was based on their previous research on this topic, organised in the frame of International Resita Network for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The initial results of previous assessment of entrepreneurs failure of Serbian SMEs was also available in the form of the report  Presentation SMEs failure Serbia. Based on this, after intensive online discussions and participation of all members of the research team, modified measuring scale was developed, which is available here: 4 1 Final Questionnaire 2018

Based on developed questionnaire, online tool was also developed, to be used to collect all the data from all research teams. The online tool is available here

The agreement is that all the teams from V4 institutions and Serbia, should translate the questionnaires in their own language and to start collecting the responses from the entrepreneurs. It is agreed that each research team should collect minimum 100 responses. In this population, there should be approximately equal number of micro, small and medium sized firms. Deadline for this activity i agreed to be April the 30 2019. Collected responses, should than be entered in the joint database (online tool).

After collecting the responses and forming the database, statistical analysis will be done and reported created, which will enable detection of the most important factor for SMEs failure. This factor will than be used to develop the measures to be offered to active entrepreneurial ventures, to avoid potential failure.

23-26.10.2018. The initial meeting of the representatives of partner institutions

The initial meeting of all project participants was organized in Zlin in the Czech Republic. The meeting was organized in the period 23 – 26 October at the University Tomas Bata in Zlin.

The representatives of academic institutions (up to 3 teachers and one PhD student) from all partner countries (V4 countries and Serbia) have visited the Tomas Bata University in Zlín in Czech Republic.

The list of participants, with their contact details, is available here: list of Participants

This city  is the pioneer of entrepreneurship of this region of Europe. The representatives from Tomas Bata University have introduced the history of entrepreneurial development in this region. Also, the potentials of development of the Entrepreneurial Incubator have been presented, which is representing an environment predominantly intended for innovative business start-ups. Also, professors from Tomas Bata University and all representatives from partner universities have presented the level of entrepreneurial development in  their countries and influence of Universities in SMEs development. The agenda from this meeting is available here: Final schedule in Zlin

Than, the reasons for SMEs failure and potentials for recovery have been discussed. This was presented in the form of the report, prepared by the delegates from Serbia. Based on the opinion of the entrepreneurs from Serbia, who suffered from failure, this initial report was prepared. This was done through the project activity planed for the period 01/10 – 27/10/2018. This activity was listed with the name: Report on potential factors on SMEs failure. The presentation of this report is available here: Presentation SMEs failure Serbia

The following topics of meeting and the workshop were dedicated to discuss the main reasons for the SMEs failure. There have be some examples of failed and recovered SMEs from V4 countries and Serbia.

All presentations, from all project partners will be available here soon.

As the next activity of the event, the framework for future research have been defined.

Here is the list of future research steps of the project that were agreed, in the form of the Meeting memo: Meeting Memo The initial Questionnaire tool to be used as the base point to develop the final measuring scale, is presented here: Initial questionnaire 2018

On the second day of the meeting, 25th of October, the following activities were organized:

  • Elsevier training . This training was facilitated by Katarzyna Gaca-Zając PhD Eng, Customer Consultant for Central and Eastern Europe, ELSEVIER | Research Solutions Sales. This training was important for the project participants, having in mind that the final results of the project will have to be published in some high quality journals and monograph. The traininbg was organized by the host university from Zlin.
  • After the training, the project participants visited the Tomas Bata museum in Zlin. This museum is very important for the project because there are some relay important evidences about development of one of the most important entrepreneurial ventures, the Bata factory in Zlin



Contact person for this event, from the Project coordinator institution is:

Prof. dr Ivan Mihajlovic, from Technical Faculty in Bor, Serbia (

Contact person, from the host University:

Dr. Denisa Hrušecká, from University Tomas Bata in Zlin (

Some photographs and detailed report from the event, will be available here, after the meeting in Zlin.


International research project “How to prevent SMEs failure (Actions based on comparative analysis in Visegrad countries and Serbia)” is financially supported by the Visegrad Fund – link. The serial number of the project is 21820267.

Background: The project is organised under leadership of the Engineering management Department – EMD ( of Technical Faculty in Bor, University of Belgrade. The project includes  analyzing the present situation of the failures of SMEs and their potential recovery in Visegrad countries (Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland) and in Serbia. In well developed countries, failure of previous businesses is usually taken as positive experience of entrepreneurs. This way, it doesn’t influence the ability to receive new grants and/or credits from adequate financial institutions. In case of Balkan region, especially in Serbia, entrepreneurs who fail usually are limited in potential monetary sources for new business. Once they fail, nobody wants to invest in their future ventures. This way, they cannot learn from their own previous experiences. Realizing this fact, this project is focusing to assess the factors influencing the failure of other entrepreneurs, and based on that, to develop the measuring scale, that will help existing business to avoid potential failure. Analysis of the factors influencing SMEs failure and the possibility of their enhanced recovery has not been enough investigated in the region of Serbia. Through this project, we will analyze the reasons for SMEs failure in V4 countries, but also the potential for their recovery. Such obtained knowledge we will compare with situation in Serbia and then to developed useful model that will be of help of existing entrepreneur.

How specifically does this project contribute to improve the SMEs climate change in the region

Considering that the V4 countries are included in European region,and that their market conditions are far more developed compared to Serbian,we think that they will be valuable partners. Besides this,all those countries have passed through the transition process, similar to one which is still ongoing in Serbia.Experiences from V4 countries SMEs will be good example to SMEs in Serbia,for their future development targeting future inclusion in the EU market.To be able to collect the factors influencing failure and potential recovering of SMEs in Serbia and V4 countries,there will have to be clear connection in between representatives of academic institutions and SMEs.The main goal of project is promotion of the knowledge concerning new and original solutions existing in everyday business processes in SMEs from Visegrad countries that will be transferred to Serbian SMEs by defining the future activities of all partners and proposes solution for preventing SMEs failure.The specific goals are: exchange of experience and knowledge in the field of entrepreneurship and SMEs business and factors that can influence the failure,including external and internal factors in Visegrad countries and Serbia;exploring the possibilities of recovery after failure of the entrepreneurial business in Visegrad countries and Serbia;learning from successful entrepreneurs and developing the business model that can be of help for new SMEs;exchange of cultural experience between partners of V4 and other countries; exchange of students experience and workshops, as potential for their future cooperation.

Why is it necessary to address the issue on a regional level?

Entrepreneurs, teachers and students, as well as the entire region to which the project refer to will have benefits. Professors and students researchers will get in touch with SMEs from their regions and investigate if they have failure of their business activities in the past. Most important factors will be selected,which will assist in development of potential scale that will be used in prevention of active SMEs from failure. Based on estimated identified factors that have had an adverse effect on SME performance and that leaded to business failure, as well as factors having an effect of the level of recovery of SMEs after failure,the representatives of this project develop a measurement scale for assessment of probability of SME failure and offer a business model to solve this problem.

The role of EMD, TF Bor in the project

Considering that EMD of TF Bor is located in the region where entrepreneurship is underdeveloped, one of our missions is to increase entrepreneurial spirit among youth and to increase the success rate of new established SMEs in the region.The results achieved in the last 15 years are justifying our mission,which referred to spread the scope and level of international cooperation as well as the knowledge transfer.These results oblige us to be even better,while future results will depend on our commitment to teaching,research,realization of project and in particular on the dedication to our students.Knowledge transfer is the main purpose and intention of the EMD, therefore the department’s mission is closely connected with the main goal of the project that through the promotion of the knowledge concerning new and original solutions propose preventive actions against SMEs failure.

Members of EMD have necessary experience gained during implementation of the international projects. In 2007,the Department of Engineering Management was included in the HP GET-IT (Graduate Entrepreneurship Training Through Information Technologies) program. This program was originally developed by MEA-I from Switzerland, under support of HP. Technical faculty in Bor was the first institution that launched this program in Serbia. During 2011, the GET IT program has grown to a higher level-the LIFE program for the development of entrepreneurship. EMD of TFB still remained the partner institution of this program. Also, significant international cooperation experience was achieved by participating in international academic network: “Resita Network-Entrepreneurship and Innovation”, sponsored by the DAAD Foundation. In May 2014, a project was approved: “Possibilities for development of business cluster network between SMEs from Visegrad countries and Serbia”, financed by the International Visegrad Fund. During April 2016, the project “Environmental awareness as a universal European Value”, financed by the International Visegrad Fund, was also approved. Through this international activities, mostly dedicated to development and growth of entrepreneurial ventures, representatives of EMD gained necessary experience in this practical field of operations management. Also, it was a solid base for research projects on this topic.

Project Coordinator: Prof. dr Ivan Mihajlovic from University of Belgrade, Technical Faculty in Bor, Engineering Management Department

Partners: Official V4 partners that will participate in the project activities and the events are:

  1. University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava; web-page of the partner institution:
  2. Óbuda University, Keleti Faculty of Business and Management – Hungary; web-page of the partner institution:
  3. Tomas Bata University in Zlin – Czech Republic ; web-page of the partner institution:
  4. The Managers of Quality and Production Association  – Poland; web-page of the partner institution:

Implementation period of the project: 20/09/2018–26/06/2019

Planed project phases:

Phase Description of the phase
20/09/2018–23/10/2018 Prior preparation of the project, logistics, equipment, promotional activities
23/10/2018–26/10/2018 The initial meeting of the representatives of partner institutions
01/10/2018–26/06/2019 Development of the web platform that will contain all the tools, methods and reports generated through the project
05/11/2018–05/12/2018 Report presenting the measuring scale that can be used to assess the present health of SMEs
17/12/2018–25/03/2019 Testing entrepreneurs from SMEs through survey methods and the measuring scale
26/03/2019–29/04/2019 Data processing and gaining results of the study
04/02/2019–20/05/2019 Preparing monograph with the title “How to prevent SMEs from failure”, based on the reports of the meeting in Zlin and subsequent research. The template for the Monograph is available here: V4 Monography How to prevent SMEs failure
24/05/2019–26/05/2019 Presenting the obtained results of the conducted research on entrepreneurs, which are published in the monograph on the round table
27/05/2019–26/06/2019 Final report to be submitted to the Visegrad Foundation

All important news considering this project will be available here, until beginning of October. During October, new web platform will be developed that will also be dedicated to all result of the project.


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