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Welcome to the IfM

The Institut für Mittelstandsforschung (IfM) Bonn was established in 1957 as foundation of private law at the initiative of Ludwig Erhard, then Minister of Economic Affairs (and later German Chancellor). Founders are the Federal Republic of Germany and the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia. The institute's task is to analyse the status-quo, development and problems of Mittelstand (SME) enterprises, to develop recommendations for SME policies and to disseminate its research results to the general public.

IfM Bonn adopts an applied research approach. The institute provides comprehensive statistical information on small and medium-sized enterprises (Mittelstand) in Germany, based on official and semi-official data as well as on own, survey-based data. Furthermore, the institute investigates SME-related research topics by applying state-of-the art (empirical) research methods and provides expertise on current policy issues relevant to small and medium-sized enterprises.

The institute applies the „Guidelines for Safeguarding Good Research Practice“ of the DFG.

Research areas

IfM Bonn is independent in carrying out its research. It focuses on four main research areas

  • Statistical Data on SMEs and continuous economic monitoring
  • Mittelstand (SMEs), Society and State
  • Enterprise development
  • Strategic Management

Research activities are based on a multi-annual research programme. Project progress and research results are documented in an annual report. Additionally, the institute also carries out contract research.


IfM Bonn communicates its research results in press releases, on the institute’s website, in its own and external publications as well as in newspaper articles, lectures and public presentations. In addition, some of our researchers hold a lectureship or teaching position at a university.


The Institute's research work is financed two-thirds by the federal budget, represented by the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Acion, and one-third by the budget of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, represented by the Minister for Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalisation and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Management and committees

The institute is managed by a president, and supervised by a board of trustees. In consultation with the president, the board passes the institute’s research programme. A research council advises on the institute‘s research activities and research themes.

Cooperation University of Siegen - IfM Bonn

In 2013, the institute and the University of Siegen signed a cooperation agreement, to regulate the joint appointment of the president. The current president, Prof. Dr. Friederike Welter, also holds the Chair of Management of SMEs and Entrepreneurship.

University of Siegen