From the European Commission report on Transfer of Ownership it is estimated that around 70,000 companies per year will have to change hands over the coming decades in Germany.

In Italy more than 3 million Italian entrepreneurs are aged 50 or older and at least 480,000 Italian companies are facing a transfer over the next 8-10 years (about 50,000 each year).

50% of Belgian business owners are over 55 years old and 70% of them do not have a successor.

Of the 2.4 million SMEs in France, 600,000 will have to be transferred during the next ten years as 86% of small companies are owned by someone over 50 years old with 55% over 60 years old.

In 2003 there were around 748,100 entrepreneurs in the Netherlands, 21% of whom were aged over 55. It is estimated that in the next ten years there will be a transfer potential of 18,000 businesses per year.

To effect a successful transfer of ownership the following recommendations were made by the UK Government and the sponsoring accounting institute the ACCA.

The Acuity Fund has adopted each. ‘’Acuity’’ – the acuteness of vision and thought...

Report on Encouraging Successful Business Transfers

The UK Government, following academic research, suggest the following key outcomes for the strategic policy framework for SME Retiring Owners:

  • Building an enterprise culture and encouraging entrepreneurs to acquire an existing business is lower risk than starting a new one
  • Encourage a more dynamic market place for the SME by growing an established business
  • Encouraging more enterprise by ensuring that businesses which are commercially viable and critical to the fabric of the community, find new owners and continue to trade
  • A significant benefit of a change of ownership can be innovation – ranging from changes in organisational structure and management practices of a business through to the introduction of new processes and products
  • To maximise chances of success, the owner and his successor should have similar value systems, and their relationship should be based in mutual respect and trust. Communication between both parties, and all other stakeholders in the business, overcomes stumbling blocks. The owner must be prepared to ‘let go’ of the business, and co-operate with, and delegate to, his successor

The Acuity Fund has adopted each “Acuity”
– the acuteness of vision and thought