Partners in practice

The Wittener Institute for Family Business (WIFU) cooperates with the following 16 institutions via different projects, publications and awards:

Alpha Zirkel

Promote networking, provide stimuli for new ideas, establish and cultivate contacts: these are the aims of the Alpha Zirkel, founded as a platform for family entrepreneurs in November 2005. Numerous activities such as the regular entrepreneur evenings in Munich and the publication of specialist articles and studies demonstrate that this vision has come to life as a well-received forum for decision-makers from small and medium-sized companies. The WIFU is scientific impulse generator und gives lectures on events of the Alpha Zirkel on a regular basis.

Link: AlphaZirkel


CampdenFB European Family Business Awards

campdenFBIn order to recognise the dynamic and vital sector of family busniesses, CampdenFB, in association with Societe Generale Private Banking, is holding the annual European Families in Business Awards. The selection process will be made by firstly offering our readers the opportunity to propose top companies/leaders for each category. A team of five experts in family businesses will then decide a shortlist, which the eventual winners will be selected from. The judges for the European Families in Business Awards, in association with Societe Generale Private Banking, are: Dr. Tom A. Rüsen (WFU), Guido Corbetta (Professor of strategic management in family business, Bocconi University), Leif Melin (Director and head of the Centre for Family Enterprise & Ownership, Jonkoping International Business School), Jozef Lievens (Head of the Family Business Network in Belgium) and David Bain (Editorial director Campden Wealth).

Link: CampdenFB European Family Business Awards


Deloitte & Touche GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft

Within the program for small and medium sized enterprises „Partners of the Region“ Deloitte awards SMEs for excellent performance with the Axia-Award. The ancient Greek term ‘Axia’ stands for ‘Value’, ‘Skills’ and ‘Success’ and connects central aspects of the work and challenges of small and medium sized enterprises. The annual award is granted by an independent panel of experts to which also the WIFU belongs. Additionally, the WIFU is the cooperation partner regarding the accompanying scientific study.

Link: Deloitte & Touche GmbH
Link: Axia Award


Die Familienunternehmer-News – Das Portal des Mittelstandsmagazins DIE NEWS

Die NewsFamilienunternehmerNews is the internet portal of the entrepreneur magazine THE NEWS. Entrepreneurs will find current news about family businesses, but also background articles, company profiles, event reports and a calendar with entrepreneurial events. The website is managed by the editors of the SME magazine THE NEWS. The monthly magazine has been around for over 30 years and is buplished by Dr. Breitsohl Verlagsgesellschaft mbH in Stuttgart. The WIFU is a scientific source for ideas and inspiration for the magazine.

Link: Die Familienunternehmer-News



EQUAEQUA stands for “EigentümerQUalifizierungsAkademie” (“Owner training academy”) – which expresses the foundation’s central aim. The work of the foundation focuses on airing the taboo topic of shareholder conflicts in family businesses. It is important to discuss this topic in its many facets and it is certainly encouraging as an entrepreneur to find out that one is not the only one facing this type of problem – and that the solution is often not so far removed. The WIFU is a research partner of the foundation and joint events are organized on a regular basis.

Link: EQUA-Stiftung


Hennerkes, Kirchdörfer & Lorz
The office Hennerkes, Kirchdörfer & Lorz specialises in conceptual consultation and support for family enterprises and their proprietors. The joint practice provides consulting services for companies throughout Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The area of work in particular includes creating and supporting successor concepts, corporate transactions and corporate finance. Regarding family business related topics the WIFU and the practice are in a constant and active exchange.

Link: Hennerkes, Kirchdörfer & Lorz


IIFE – The Owners Forum

The Owners Forum has evolved into the premier platform for owners of family businesses from German-speaking Europe to explore joint business opportunities with their counterparts from the world’s growth regions. The sixth annual Owners Forum Middle East will be held from 29 to 31 October 2013 in Muscat, Oman. Family business owners from German-speaking Europe, the Middle East, and India will gather to connect in a private atmosphere and exchange knowledge and experiences. In workshops and conversation rounds, renowned academics from universities such as Harvard, Yale, and the Wharton School will join owners to discuss issues of specific relevance to family businesses. Attendees will participate in closed-door sessions related to macro-economic conditions and opportunities for cooperation in the Middle East. In addition, family businesses from a range of growth industries will present their latest projects and technological innovations.

The Owners Forum is organised in close collaboration with the Wittener Institute for Family Business and the Stiftung Familienunternehmen. Participation at The Owners Forum is limited and by invitation only.For further information please contact Julia Simon (phone  +49 30 609895550, email

Link: The Owners Forum


osb – Systemische Organisationsberatung
The osb international Consulting AG is one of the leading systemic consulting companies in the German-speaking region with a history now stretching back over 20 years. The customer base includes large-scale international corporations as well as small and medium-sized companies and non-profit organizations. Regarding family business related topics the WIFU and the osb are in a constant and active exchange.

Link: OSB


Private Wealth

Six years ago, the members of the Private Wealth Network – entrepreneurs, wealthy individuals – had the idea to create a magazin. A magazine that only orientates itself to the needs of the upper crust – from the target group for the target group. With topics that support the readers in their rolls as entrepreneurs, investors and socially responsible connoisseurs. The WIFU cooperate with Private Wealth regarding a regular column in which important family business specific topics are discussed.

Link: Private Wealth


PricewaterhouseCoopers AG WPG

PwCPwC advises groups and family-owned companies, industrial and service companies, global players and local heroes, the public sector, associations and NGOs. Because they are able to rely on us, we are the leading auditing and consultancy company in Germany. And because every one of our 448 partners and around 6,800 specialists at 28 locations in Germany is working every day to ensure that this trust is justified. The WIFU and PwC cooperate in the context of a joint, Germany-wide study with the topic shareholder competences in family businesses.

Link: PricewaterhouseCoopers


Stiftung Familienunternehmen

The Foundation for Family Business pursues exclusively and directly charitable goals. The support, information and education, as well as the scientific exchange of experience, are the main purpose of the foundation in the field of the family businesses in Europe. The foundation focuses on the following goals: 1. Public perception of family businesses: The perception of an adequate public image of family businesses and their economic significance is one of the goals. 2. Political recognition of the interests of family businesses: Awareness for the needs of family businesses shall be raised throughout the political system. The special conditions of family businesses are to be underlined through a dialogue with relevant decision makers. 3. Exchange of experiences: Society and political-economic topics shall be discussed by a personal exchange of experiences from businessman to businessman and with representatives of science, media and politics. 4. Enthusiasm and support of young people: Qualification and enthusiasm of young people for employment in a family business shall be promoted, and their entry into the development in a family business shall be supported. Regarding family business related topics the WIFU and the Foundation are in a constant and active exchange. Additionally, the Foundation is a sponsor of the WIFU and there are joint events on a regular basis.

Link: Stiftung Familienunternehmen


WGZ Bank

The WGZ BANK is the central bank of the Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken in Rhineland and Westphalia as well as corporate and commercial bank. Prof. Dr. Arist von Schlippe from the WIFU is a constant member of the jury for the initiative award of the WGZ BANK that is annually rewarded to innovative business in NRW. Achievements in the following fields are honored:  renewable energy and     environment protection, generation of new jobs in NRW as well as corporate citizenship.

Link: WGZ Bank


Wittener Unternehmergespräche

For several years, students at Witten/Herdecke University have organised the Witten Entrepreneur Talks (“Wittener Unternehmergespräche”). Every semester, exceptional entrepreneurial personalities are invited for this purpose to participate in discussion with students and professors at Witten/Herdecke University. The aim is to reflect on and scrutinise experiences, concepts and ideas drawn from entrepreneurial practice. The platform provides a stimulating source of mutual inspiration and fascinating impressions for students and guests alike.

Link: Wittener Unternehmergespräche