June 25th 2015

MCI to Establish Center for Family Enterprise

Entrepreneurial School® to strengthen mainstay of Austrian economy  I  Joint project together with the Tyrol Chamber of Commerce  I  Speech by Harvard professor John A. Davis sets the ball rolling

The illustrious Harvard professor John A. Davis, Faculty Chair for Families in Business and Chairman of the Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise, has launched a highly promising new initiative at the MCI. “Family businesses are the mainstay of the economy and possess some special strengths,” he said in his widely acclaimed speech at the Entrepreneurial School®. “These include outstanding dedication, solidarity, loyalty, a long-term vision, and a commitment to their local community. We need to focus our work on expanding these strengths in particular. At the same time, family-run companies need to be protected against potential risks and made more competitive.”

“That is precisely what we’re aiming to do,” confirmed MCI Rector Andreas Altmann. “We’re working toward establishing a center for family enterprise that will support this key pillar of the economy with professional expertise in research, teaching, and continuing education, create a focal point and meeting place for family businesses, and promote networking, exchange, and dialog between them,” he said, outlining his vision for the new center, which will be set up in stages in partnership with the Tyrol Chamber of Commerce. Its President Jürgen Bodenseer welcomed the joint project: “In Tyrol especially, family-owned enterprises are the lifeblood and driving force of economic growth, employment, and social responsibility. Having the Tyrol Chamber of Commerce and the Entrepreneurial School® work together in this area in particular is an obvious move and allows us to pool the forces of both institutions.”

Someone who has played a starring role in the preparations is Harvard graduate Dr. Bernhard Baumgartner, himself an accredited expert on family businesses and a longstanding friend of Harvard professor John A. Davis, who brought him to the MCI to support the creation of the Center for Family Enterprise with his expertise and his contacts. “That some 90 percent of the companies in Austria are family-owned says all you need to know about the importance of this sector, which generally receives far too little attention.” He continued: “We need to do all we can to make these businesses stronger. If I can do my bit in this regard, then I’m happy,” said Bernhard Baumgartner, a keen supporter of the joint undertaking.

The center will commence its activities in the 2015/16 academic year, before going on to add new services according to a set plan. Alongside traditional issues relating to family businesses, it will focus on matters of innovation, strategy, globalization, leadership, and growth. The center will thus take on national significance and will gradually expand the scope of its activities to cover other Austrian Federal States and neighboring countries. Companies, politicians, and associations have already expressed a genuine interest in working together.

Cooperation enquiries:
Mag. Bettina Stichauner
Büro des Rektors
+43 512 2070-1710

Press contact:
Mag. (FH) Ulrike Fuchs
Marketing & Communication
+43 512 2070-1510