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




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 at , 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 will be 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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