Development of a European risk management internet portal for SMEs

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    In small and medium sized enterprises, there is a need for easy-to-use risk management tools. The risks threatening SMEs emerge as tangled problems involving the surrounding society as well as business operations. Risk management requires vision and experience. The shortening life span of technologies, customer-oriented production, company networks, as well as new products and operations place new challenges on risk management in small companies.

    SMEs are a diverse group. Unwieldy and mechanical models and practices narrowly restricted to specific types of risk are not sufficient. Companies need practical tools that cover a wide range of risks, readily adaptable to specific needs and quickly applicable. Besides the tools, basic skills in risk management are required along with the adoption of a risk management way of thinking. With SMEs own resources, and through co-operation with experts and authorities, it is possible to bring in the required new viewpoints and a variety of approaches.

    In Finland, an extensive project was implemented to develop risk management tools and information for the SMEs. The project was carried out in two phases during the years 1996–2000. The research and development work was carried out by four leading Finnish research institutes in the field of risk management: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland; the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health; Turku School of Economics and Business Administration; and Tampere University of Technology. The project was funded by the European Social Fund, the Finnish Work Environment Fund and Finnish insurance companies. The project had large support from different fields of Finnish society. Several governmental bodies, insurance companies, the Finnish Federation of Enterprises and trade unions contributed to the project, whose aim was to promote the overall knowledge and skills in risk management and business risks.

    The results of the development work were first compiled into a printed risk management toolkit. The toolkit covers the risks found to be most critical for SMEs. The first phase of the project (1996–1998) included the development of tools for the assessment and management of personnel, product and business risks [1]. During the second phase (1999–2000), tools covering environmental risks, information security and agreement and liability issues were developed and a risk management website was published [2].

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-6
    Number of pages6
    JournalSafety Science Monitor
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2003
    MoE publication typeD1 Article in a trade journal


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