Skip to main content

Information on Mittelstand enterprises

  • practice-oriented
  • interdisciplinary
  • applied research

Dossier Mittelstand (SME) policy

Mittelstand (SME) enterprises are diverse: We observe a considerable heterogeneity in business models and industries, including crafts enterprises, service providers, liberal professions and industrial companies. Besides, the Mittelstand ranges from solo selfemployed to large (family) businesses. Also, the Mittelstand includes tech start-ups as well as established (innovative) firms. Therefore, the Mittelstand is not just a label for a few firms, but describes a heterogeneous and diverse universe of firms. The following documents have the objective to present ways to cope with this diversity when designing policy measures.


IfM Bonn News

NUI regional ranking: Munich rural district remains at the top

For the third time running, the rural district of Munich takes the top spot in the NUI region ranking in 2020. The following ranks are held by the city of Leverkusen, the rural district of Miesbach, the city of Rosenheim, and the rural district of Starnberg.


What characterises the Mittelstand

Even if the government has initiated numerous instruments to reduce bureaucracy in the past, many Mittelstand companies feel that the bureaucratic regulations are too high. As a result, one in four entrepreneurs consciously decides not to comply with individual bureaucratic obligations.


IfM Standpoint

Challenges and perspectives of the (North Rhine-Westphalian) Mittelstand

17.11.2021 In the face of the Corona crisis and sector crises such as in the motor vehicle industry and retail trade, businesses in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and Germany as a whole proved to be unexpectedly robust in 2020. However, the number of business start-ups in trade and the liberal professions declined slightly in 2020, but this cannot be attributed solely to the economic consequences of the pandemic.

The construction industry, for example, was little affected by the pandemic but showed declining start-up figures. This is probably also due to the reintroduction of compulsory master craftsman training in some trades. However, the number of business start-ups decreased even more than the number of business closures.


Figure of the months



transfers are due to take place each year until 2026.


Policy Brief "Entrepreneurship in Focus"

Why there are fewer business successions than generally expected

In the public discussion on business succession, it is generally assumed that the number of companies is larger than the number of companies actually affected by the succession question. This has to do with an unsatisfactory data situation, but also with a number of misconceptions.


Cooperation with University of Siegen

Zukunftspanel Mittelstand

NUI region ranking

Offensive Mittelstand

Data of the IfM Bonn

Contract research