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Family business definition of the IfM Bonn

The IfM Bonn defines family businesses as those companies in which the ownership and management rights are united in the person of the entrepreneur or the entrepreneur's family. The terms "medium-sized business", "family business", "owner-operated business" and "family-run business" should therefore be regarded as synonyms.

Overall, the IfM Bonn classifies all companies as family-run businesses where

  • up to two natural persons or members of their families hold at least 50% of the shares of a company and
  • these natural persons belong to the management.

The overlap between family businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is naturally very large. At the same time, however, companies with more than 500 employees or an annual turnover of more than €50 million are also considered to be family businesses if they meet the above criteria.

Small and medium-sized enterprises which are dependent on another company, on the other hand, do not meet the definition.


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Project manager - Researcher Hans-Jürgen Wolter

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