April 18th 2017

World Café for family businesses at MCI

Interesting exchange between business and university – change of perspectives and dialog produce creative impulses and exciting insights for family-owned businesses and students

Together with her team Anita Zehrer, head of the MCI Family Business Center, has created a special format to facilitate productive dialog and exchange between the business world and university. Within the framework of a World Café, selected family businesses met with 60 students from the master program in International Business & Management and Entrepreneurship & Tourism.

The aim was to inform students about the peculiarities of family-owned enterprises, which are especially important for the local economy. In addition, Anita Zehrer intended to give entrepreneurs the opportunity to actively discuss current issues. Upon conclusion of the event, both entrepreneurs and students agreed that the World Café offered a great format that must be repeated. The participants appreciated in particular the mutual openness and the clever student questions, which brought up interesting ideas and new perspectives for discussion.

The students were divided into nine groups, each of which discussed one topic that is particularly relevant to family enterprises, and prepared specific questions they wanted to ask the entrepreneurs. The topics discussed included internationalization, succession, innovation, entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial action, conflict management, and growth. Each group was given 15 minutes to interview the individual entrepreneurs and to ask the questions they had prepared. A summary was presented at the end of the event. The students will share their experience and personal findings with the entrepreneurs involved in the form of a written reflection.

MCI would like to thank the following entrepreneurs for their participation: Thomas Auer (Auer Woodwork Manufacturers and Cabinet Makers), Andrea Berghofer (ADLER), Mario Gerber (Gerber Hotels), Elisabeth Hauser (Hotel Stanglwirt), Susanne Neuhauser (Idealtours), Wolfgang Sief (SIKO), Andrea Speckbacher (Eurogast), Harald Ultsch (Hotel Schwarzer Adler, Harry’s Home Hotels) and Martin Wetscher (Wetscher).


Mario Gerber from Gerber Hotels, Kühtai: “It was a great evening with highly motivated students.”

Harald Ultsch from the Family Ultsch Hotel Group: “A very successful format – it was important to see which questions students are interested in.”

Andrea Berghofer from ADLER, a Tyrolean family business specialized on wood protection and wood paints: “It was great fun! I am impressed by the professional questions that were raised by the students. Congratulations!”

Organizer Anita Zehrer: “I am absolutely delighted with the students’ enthusiasm as well as the extraordinary willingness of the family business owners to answer our students’ questions. Providing new impetus for the future, the forum is practically oriented and only one of the many innovative formats offered by MCI’s center for students and family businesses.”

Press contact
Mag. (FH) Ulrike Fuchs
+43 512 2070-1527