Business Succession Workshop in Upper Austria

For several years now the research team “Global Business Management” of the FH Upper Austrian Campus Steyr and a project team from Business Upper Austria, focuses increasingly on entrepreneurship and pertinent processes such as change management and enterprise follow-up. As part of the transnational research project “ENTER-transfer”, which is funded by the CE Interreg Program of the European Regional Development Fund, Business Upper Austria and FH Steyr organized a workshop on the matter of business succession. As a successful example for business succession Mario Haidlmair, managing director of Haidlmair GmbH, was invited to speak together with his father Josef Haidlmair about their family business and the handover between father and son. Mario Haidlmair’s summed up the succession process: “For six years now I am the managing director of our company in Nußbach. The most important lesson I learned for a successful business succession is, that you have to let the previous generation go. As the successor I would not have worked under my father. Of course, there are always exceptions – but in our case it was important that only one person decides where the company is heading to and I decided to move forward”.

Besides personal experiences and insights of the handover process, there were also presentations by Sarah Radinger (WKO District Coordinator Steyr) as well as Robert Schernhuber, attorney of the Sparkasse Upper Austria. They offered technical and application-oriented information and advice for future business successions.

Furthermore, a draft of a new scientific model was presented. The model was developed in cooperation with nine international research partners and provides a structure for how to support business succession within a family or an external investor. The workshop participants agreed with the model, due to their personal experiences that they saw reflected within the model.

Sarah Radinger, District Office Manager WKO Steyr, mentions the advantage of a company transfer: "Takeovers are extremely valuable. They don’t only preserve existing companies with their Know-How and Jobs, but they also reposition the company through the implementations of new concepts and ideas. For many companies it’s like a breath of fresh air into possibly outdated structures. However, it’s crucial to put as much effort and care into a business succession as for a new company foundation. The Austrian Chambers of Commerce helps as much as possible by offering a wide range of information and comprehensive consulting services on the subject of business succession".

Margarethe Überwimmer, head of the "Global Sales and Marketing" program at the Upper Austrian University of Applied Sciences states: "We are researching how to quickly overcome innovation bottlenecks and how SMEs can take advantage of the opportunities offered by internationalization. This can be achieved through international cooperation in the research project with regard to assistance with international handovers”.