How is Succession supported locally in Germany?

Succession planning is a critical issue for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany. According to a survey conducted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, almost 90% of SMEs in Germany are family-owned, and around 50% of their owners plan to retire within the next 10 years. However, only a small percentage of these SMEs have a succession plan and a successor in place, which poses a significant risk to their continuity and survival.

To address this issue, various local initiatives and programs have been established in Germany to support SMEs in their succession planning efforts. These initiatives aim to provide SMEs with the necessary knowledge, tools, and resources to facilitate a smooth transition of ownership and management.

One such initiative is the “Nexxt-Change” program, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action and implemented by the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce. The program offers a range of services and tools to help SMEs plan and execute their succession strategies, including workshops, webinars, individual coaching sessions, and an online platform that connects potential buyers and sellers of SMEs.

Additionally, various local Chambers of Industry and Commerce (IHK) in Germany offer support and guidance to SMEs on succession planning. For example, the IHK Frankfurt offers a succession management program that helps SMEs develop a tailored succession plan based on their individual needs and circumstances. The program includes workshops, coaching sessions, and networking events to help SMEs identify potential buyers or successors.

Those looking for successors can also register for the “Succession Pool”. This is a database containing profiles of potential successors, including their qualifications, experience, which helps to find suitable candidates for succession planning.

Since the lack of a successor is one of the main reasons for a failed business succession, a very special initiative has been launched in Brandenburg: The Succession Bus. This bus tours from city to city, providing information on the topic of succession and bringing entrepreneurs together with potential successors. Universities are especially keen to take up this offer.

In addition to all these offerings, many local banks and financial institutions in Germany also offer services and funding to support SME succession planning. Some banks even provide a comprehensive succession planning service that helps SMEs plan their succession strategy and identify potential successors or buyers. They also offer financing solutions to support the transition process.

In conclusion, SME succession planning is a critical issue in Germany, and various local initiatives and programs have been established to support SMEs in this area. These initiatives provide information and assistance to strive for a smooth transition of ownership and management. Nevertheless, it is important to note that succession planning is a complex process involving legal, financial and emotional considerations, and that timely planning is crucial. If you are interested in more information on this topic or are looking for inspiration for good practice, we recommend you take a look at the other e-zine articles accessible through our homepage.

Succession-Bus, Photo: BTU Cottbus