EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

The Business Emergency

Phase: Management
  • Advice
Last modified: 03 August, 2021
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The Business Emergency


The helpline is available to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are facing insolvency and have fewer than 20 employees. It started in 1997 in the Gothenburg area and ever since more regions have started their own Business Emergency, too.

Coverage extends to the following regions: Västra Götaland, Värmland, Mälardalen, Norrbotten, Västerbotten, Östergötland and Jönköping. 




Main characteristics

The Business Emergency (Företagsakuten) is a company helpline that provides an established and well-functioning method for helping enterprises facing insolvency. It offers advice and negotiation assistance to SMEs that are suffering a crisis. It is mainly of an economic or legal nature. For example, expert advice can help SMEs to avoid bankruptcy. The helpline gives five hours of consultation free of charge. In some cases, it is sufficient to get them back on track. If not, companies can request further assistance from consultants who are experts in a restructuring of companies and auditors that belong to the network of the helpline service. Each case is treated confidentially. 


  • Local funds

Involved actors

National government
Regional/local government
Employer or employee organisations
This instrument was initiated by the Secretariat of Industry in the municipality of Gothenburg and the former National Business Organisation.
Run by Business Region Göteborg AB; several partners (including Almi Företagspartner Väst AB, Ackordscentralen, Öhrling PriceWaterhouseCoopers) in the Region Västra Götaland.


The Business Emergency was established in 1997 and since then over 1,600 companies have received economic counselling (Business Region Göteborg, 2020). 

During 2017, 41 companies received help from insolvency, for a total of 121 jobs (Business Region Göteborg, 2018). In 2019, this number of companies who received help was 137. These companies employed 137 people (Business Region Göteborg, 2020). 

In 2017, 71% of the companies who applied for help avoided bankruptcy (Business Region Göteborg, 2018). In 2019 the success rate had increased by 19 percentage points - the percentage of companies who had applied and avoided bankruptcy in 2019 was 90% (Business Region Göteborg, 2020). 

Assessments regarding long-term effects are also available. Between 2014 and 2016, a total of 169 companies received help through the company helpline. Six out of 10 companies who applied for help were still active in 2018 (Business Region Göteborg, 2018). Between 2016 and 2018, the number of companies was 127. Five out of 10 of these companies remained active in 2019 (Business Region Göteborg, 2020). 


The helpline is being led and driven by qualified and competent staff. All cases are treated confidentially and anonymously. Up to five hours of consultation are provided free of charge (Business Region Göteborg, 2020).


According to an evaluation by Västra Götalandsregionen, the Business Emergency helpline had problems reaching troubled companies at the right moment and often support has been provided too late, making it more difficult to save companies (Västra Götalandsregionen, 2014).


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