- Support of business transfers
- Support of SMEs
- Territorial coordination
Nexxt-change business database
Targets small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
This instrument is an exchange mechanism for people interested in business start-ups and enterprise owners intending to sell their business. The aim of this instrument is to secure the transition of enterprises to new owners. In this way, it contributes to securing and maintaining jobs. It is especially relevant in the current context, when many enterprise owners are reaching retirement age. In practice, regional centres (branches of local savings banks, local Chambers of Commerce and Industry or other institutions at local level) publish offers and organise or consult on the matching process. Networking events are arranged for future enterprise starters and those enterprise owners who did not manage to find a suitable successor.
The amount of information on businesses that is publicly available in the database is restricted to a few facts in order to avoid a business being easily identified. The database can be searched by sector and location. The partners of the initiative organise seminars and other activities under the label ‘nexxt’. The aim here is to provide information about the generational change, business start-up and company formation and to show concrete ways of solving problems. Information on business succession, locating funds and financing a start-up are also available on the platform. General services are provided free of charge, although a fee might apply to additional services provided by intermediaries.
- National funds
Funding. This initiative is hosted by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in cooperation with its partners.
Employer or employee organisations
Partners to the initiative are: KfW banking group, the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH), the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), the central organisation of the cooperative banking group (BVR) and the German Savings Banks Association (DSGV). Regional or local members of the initiatives' partners also serve as regional centres as do other institutions.
Regional or local members of the initiatives' partners also serve as regional centres as do other institutions.
Approximately 5,396 (as of June 2020) enterprise owners are currently seeking successors who are willing to take on their enterprises, and capable of doing so. Roughly 1,598 (as of June 2020) people present themselves as interested in taking over an existing enterprise. About 800 local regional centres act as cooperation partners (as of June 2020). The Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK, 2019) reports that around 1,000 enterprises are being transferred each year through the platform.
Since 2006, nexxt-change arranged over 12,000 transitions of enterprises. According to IfM Bonn,150,000 enterprises will need a successor in the period from 2018 to 2022. However, DIHK (2019) points out that successors are particularly scarce in the East region of the country and call for better transfer and tax policies which can further support business transfers.
A study from IfM Bonn (Schlömer and Kay, 2008) highlights that nexxt-change involves a wide range of network partners. Offers are directed to both company owners looking for a successor and potential successors. Evaluation research (2013) shows that 'nexxt-change' gained in popularity and the number of users rose from around 80,000 in February 2011 to nearly 100,000 users in June 2012. The website was relaunched in February 2011. A usability test of the website showed positive results (concerning design, search tools and finding relevant information). Positive assessment of cost-benefit ratio in terms of published offers, successions and saved jobs as well as funds spent for the programme (also in comparison to similar publicly funded instruments).
A study from the IfM Bonn (Schlömer and Kay, 2008) shows that only 20.4% of company owners use online tools to look for a business successor; this compares to 46.8% who approach a consultant and 45.6% who approach a chamber of commerce or guild. Many company owners avoid publicity when looking for a potential successor.
Evaluation research on the platform nexxt-change (2013) shows that the number of monthly entries of new offers is decreasing. Since the total number of offers remained fairly stable, offers in the database get older. 61% of the platforms' clients seek more consulting support by regional partners on the topic of finding a successor for their business. In addition, the research shows that users wish for more information on offered companies. This would help the matching process. Around one in every five negotiations on business succession is successful. However, as the analysts highlight, the platform nexxt-change has only limited options to improve this rate. Negotiation failure are most often related to financing difficulties or different price ideas. This can only be improved by additional support instruments.