10 - Ensuring business succession

All successful owner-managed businesses in North Rhine-Westphalia need to find suitable successors for exiting business managers.

Where we are now

The Institute for SME Research Bonn estimates that, between 2018 and 2022, more than 150,000 businesses in Germany will be seeking a successor. However, handover is often anything but straightforward. This is because, in an overwhelming number of cases, prospective start-up entrepreneurs prefer to strike out on their own new path into self-employment. According to figures from the KfW Start-up Monitor, only 13 per cent of all newly established businesses result from the acquisition of an existing business. Business succession certainly offers some advantages: the business is already established on the market, there are existing customer and supplier relationships in place, as well as an experienced workforce.

Where we want to be

All successful owner-managed businesses in North Rhine-Westphalia need to find suitable successors for exiting business managers.

What we are doing

  • In the Netzwerk Unternehmensnachfolge (Business Succession Network), we bring Chambers, business promoters, bank representatives and tax advisers together, enabling them all to discuss ideas and developments on businesses succession with the people involved.
  • With our large-scale campaign, Neue Gründerzeit Nordrhein-Westfalen, and the measures detailed under these individual headings, we are broadening the field of potential start-up entrepreneurs in North Rhine-Westphalia, who are also essentially eligible for succession in an existing business.
  • The venture capital organisation Kapitalbeteiligungsgesellschaft NRW (KBG NRW) – supported by the Chambers and banks in North Rhine-Westphalia, as well as the NRW.BANK – assist business successions with appropriate finance. In comparison with a brand-new business, more capital tends to be invested in a business succession. Succession entrepreneurs rarely have the necessary equity to optimise their financial position from the outset.
  • The state’s chambers of trade have set up the special trade programme, known as the Sonderprogramm Handwerk jointly with the KBG NRW. This is specifically geared to business successions and acquisitions in the craft sector. One year after acquisition, business consultants from the Chamber of Trade will carry out a business check-up, free of charge. The KBG NRW has also introduced the Sonderprogramm IHK-Unternehmen (Special Programme for IHK companies), together with the Chambers of Industry and Commerce.