Young successors : A Two-Sided Story in Renewing SMEs

Authors Karin Kleingeld , Lex van Teeffelen
Publication date 2 June 2016
Type Book


Entrepreneurship is often used as a synonym for starting up a new business. Existing SMEs — from purchasing to succession — are all too often left out of the picture. This booklet tells the stories of those involved in handing over their businesses to the next generation. It’s an honest and straightforward account of incumbents and their young successors. Ten case studies show the complexity of the succession process from a range of perspectives. The new generation of business owners show that they are go-getters who aim for growth and are eager to renew the firm. With some support they are capable to run the business — often to the surprise of the incumbents. Being better educated the successors bring in new abilities, like digital skills, recognize new opportunities and markets and seem to have a stronger strategic orientation. Incumbent often value their contributions, but sometimes the new ideas lead to tensions. It seems special programmes and graduation projects on business acquisitions and family succession help to ensure hand-overs more quickly. The first step though is to start a dialogue with the current owner — that will often be the current boss or the parents. Incumbents often give their successors some freedom, but they expect initiatives to come from the younger generation and a strong commitment. Because running a business isn’t just a part of your life — it is your life.


  • Lex van Teeffelen
    Lex van Teeffelen
    • Professor
    • Research groups: Financial-Economic Advice in Innovation

Language English
Key words smes, small businesses, succession