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The IfM Bonn adopts an applied research approach and examines Mittelstand and SME-related research topics by applying state-of-the-art (empirical) research methods. Moreover, the institute provides expertise on current policy issues relevant to SMEs, entrepreneurship, self-employment and family businesses. Though the main focus is on the Mittelstand in Germany, the scope of the institute is international, which is reflected by collaborations with international experts and institutions. The IfM Bonn also conducts third-party funded projects and writes expert and evaluation reports.

Projects in the programme area "Economic monitoring" focus on the general situation, development and macroeconomic importance of Mittelstand enterprises, while those in the programme area of "Mittelstand (SMEs), society and state" analyse the interaction between these three groups. Studies in the programme area "Enterprise development" deal with the various phases in the life cycle of a company (e.g. start-up, growth, reorganisation, business transfer and insolvency). Finally, within the programme area "Strategic management", studies focus on various management aspects and company-specific issues.

Please visit the following websites for further details (in German).

29 Results


Enterprise management | 2022 Adapting to climate change: exploring the specific challenges for SMEs

The effects of climate change increasingly represent a challenge for companies concerning their business and value creation models. This is particularly true for SMEs, whose business models are often based on specialised products, target groups, and/or regions embedded in closely networked supply and value chains.


Enterprise management | 2022 The impact of SMEs' innovation activity on their economic development in times of crisis

Companies typically respond to an external shock like the COVID-19 pandemic by adjusting, including innovating. However, companies were affected to varying degrees and in different ways by the constraints imposed by the pandemic.


Enterprise management | 2022 SME Financing in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are predominantly financed from their own funds, followed by bank loans, and only then finance instruments such as trade credits, leasing, or factoring.


Start-up research | 2022 Start-ups by minors - their prevalence, characteristics, and as routes to employment

Start-ups founded by minors only play a minor economic role. At the same time, for many years, various initiatives sought to introduce schoolchildren to the idea of entrepreneurship and encourage them to (later) start a business.


Mittelstand (SMEs) and society / government | 2022 Development trends of global value chains from the perspective of Mittelstand companies

In 2016, IfM Bonn researchers examined the challenges and opportunities for Mittelstand companies arising from their involvement in (global) value chains. At that time, a trend toward advancing globalisation became apparent.


Ongoing economic monitoring | 2022 The volume and distribution of company sales

To date, business succession took place mainly within the family, while sales to members of the company's workforce, executives of other companies, or companies have been of lesser importance.


Ongoing economic monitoring | 2021 Updating of data and facts relevant to the Mittelstand

One of the permanent tasks of the programme area Current Economic Monitoring is to determinate and prepare data and facts specifically considering start-ups and enterprise sizes


Zukunftspanel Mittelstand | 2021 Zukunftspanel Mittelstand

In 2014, 2017 and 2020, the IfM Bonn surveyed both entrepreneurs and experts on the challenges facing the Mittelstand in Germany as part of its Future Panel. These surveys will be continued at regular intervals.

Cross-sectional projects | 2021 Entrepreneurship during the Corona Crisis

In times of crisis, the Mittelstand can have a stabilising effect, even though they themselves come under pressure. It is, however, yet not possible to assess the intensity and scope of the consequences of the Corona pandemic on and for the Mittelstand in their entirety.

Mittelstand (SMEs) and society / government | 2021 The determinants of regional start-up activity - a feasibility study

The NUI regional ranking issued by the IfM Bonn annually clearly shows that the regions in Germany can differ greatly in terms of start-up activity. However, little is known about the determinants of start-up activity and what makes a good regional start-up ecosystem.

Enterprise management | 2021 Development of digitization among SMEs in the manufacturing sector (follow-up study)

The spread of digital value creation activities and the (internet-based) integration of all parties involved in the value creation process has gained considerable dynamism in recent years.

Mittelstand (SMEs) and society / government | 2021 The societal impact of German Mittelstand

Oftentimes, the societal contribution of Mittelstand companies is linked to concepts such as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or Corporate Citizenship (CC).

Mittelstand (SMEs) and society / government | 2021 Challenges and opportunities of climate change for Mittelstand

The consequences of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, and calls for greater efforts in climate protection are growing louder and louder.

Ongoing economic monitoring | 2021 Business succession Business life cycle Family business

Due to the lack of official statistics, the IfM Bonn has been estimating the number of forthcoming business transfers in Germany in regular intervals since the mid-1990s.

Mittelstand (SMEs) and society / government | 2020 Offensive Mittelstand

Theoretische Erkenntnisse praktisch umsetzbar gestalten, um so kleine und mittlere Unternehmen zu stärken – unter dieser Prämisse agiert seit 2006 das deutschlandweite Netzwerk "Offensive Mittelstand".

Entwicklungsverläufe von mittelständischen Unternehmen - Unternehmensnachfolge | 2020 The continued existence of enterprises in the context of corporate transfer

In an earlier project, the IfM Bonn showed, that entrepreneurs reduce investment activity, R&D activities and further training measures as a planned transfer approaches.

Enterprise management | 2020 Aktuelle Herausforderungen der Berufsausbildung in Kleinstbetrieben

Ältere Forschungsergebnisse zur Ausbildungsbeteiligung von Kleinstbetrieben zeigen deren besondere Schwierigkeiten bei der Besetzung von Ausbildungsstellen auf.

Enterprise management | 2020 FinTechs: Opportunities for the German Mittelstand

In recent years, investments in German FinTechs have increased continuously. The mostly young enterprises combine innovative technologies with financial services in the areas of financing, wealth management, payment transactions and insurance.

Start-up research | 2020 Gründungserfolg von Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftlern an deutschen Hochschulen - eine Längsschnittuntersuchung

Innovative, wissensintensive Gründungen gelten als Motor wirtschaftlichen Wachstums und technologischen Fortschritts. In diesem Zusammenhang spielt der Wissenstransfer aus Hochschulen durch Unternehmensgründungen von Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftlern eine bedeutende Rolle.


Ongoing economic monitoring | 2019 Weiterentwicklung der Gründungsstatistik des IfM Bonn

Die Gründungsstatistik des IfM Bonn ist in Hinsicht auf Zuverlässigkeit und Deckungsgrad eine der wesentlichen Datenquellen zum Gründungsgeschehen in Deutschland.