1. Austrian FB-Symposium – Family Businesses in the Spotlight 

As a competence centre for family businesses (FBs) at CAMPUS 02, FB Research Austria has organised the 1st Austrian FB Symposium together with Deloitte Wirtschaftsprüfung Graz, Raiffeisen-Landesbank and Kleine Zeitung on 10 May 2016.

Opening the event, Josef Herk, President of the Styrian Economic Chamber and successful FB entrepreneur, called FBs the silverware of the Styrian industry.

Keynote speaker Nadine Kammerlander, Head of the Institute of Family Business at the Otto-Beisheim School of Management in Vallendar, Germany answered the question ‘Talent, will or family – what counts when choosing a successor?’ by advising ‘Don’t look for a superman, but for talent, commitment and understanding for the family business. Introduce your company to your children at an early stage and in a positive light.’ She also recommended that owners should not stay in the business after transferring ownership.

Speaker Tanja Knapp, member of the supervisory board at Knapp AG, said the recipe for success of her company is loyalty and a culture based on mutual trust.

In parallel, four workshops were moderated by Friedrich Möstl and Gottfried Spitzer (Deloitte) and who discusses tax strategies for a successful company succession. Martin Duque, R&D coordinator and lecturer at CAMPUS 02, reported on FB succession and fields of conflict that can have a positive or negative outcome for businesses owned by a single person, brothers and sisters, cousins or generations in his speech. While Hannes Meixner (Raiffeisen-Landesbank) showed new ways to fresh capital, the results of the workshop held by Georg Jungwirth, researcher and lecturer at CAMPUS 02, were that despite the important role of tradition in FBs, innovation is an essential and inevitable factor for a healthy future for all FBs.

After a humorous laudatory speech by actor August Schmölzer, Karin Madenberger, Head of the Degree Programme in International Marketing & Sales Management at CAMPUS 02, and CEO of Styrian Economic Chambers Karl-Heinz Demoscheg presented the FB-Award to the Gaugl family as the oldest FB in Styria – Landmaschinen Gaugl, Vorau, Styria, founded in 1628, family-run for 388 years – and to the Gmachl-Hirnböck family as the oldest FB in Austria – Romantikhotel Gmachl, Elixhausen, Salzburg, founded in 1334, family-run for 682 years.

Impressions of the event: