With market requirements changing, inter-company cooperation is becoming more and more important as an instrument, especially for small businesses, to assert themselves on their traditional markets. Very little empirically based knowledge exists about the dissemination, actual forms and structural preconditions of cooperation between small businesses. Theoretical concepts are also in short supply. Taking the example of a special group of small businesses – small and medium-sized suppliers – and the example of a particular company function – further training – we shall examine the opportunities for implementing inter-company cooperation and the possible consequences for employees in terms of the value of the resulting qualifications on the labour market.