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There is no doubt that the global economy is currently facing major challenges and upheavals. But no matter how global trade and economic relations develop: For all companies with plans for growth, internationalization is on the agenda sooner or later. Opening up new markets is as exciting as it is challenging. A smart approach is the key here. We have already supported many companies in their internationalization and know the enormous opportunities. And also the hurdles.

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Succession is everything. Sooner or later, every company will have to face it. And for many SMEs in this country, in the not too distant future. According to estimates by the Bonn Institute for SME Research, around 190,000 company successions are due to take place between 2022 and 2026 because the management is leaving. The figures vary greatly from state to state – Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg are most affected. Due to demographic factors, the number of handovers per year tends to increase. Since most companies are family businesses, the internal family handover is the number one succession solution. But what happens if there are no competent descendants willing to lead the company? Then there are two options: Management buy-in (MBI) and management buy-out (MBO). What sounds complicated is actually quite simple: In an MBI, the company is sold to an external management, i.e. to a third party. And in the case of an MBO, the company is sold to management from within the company, for example to the management or employees. Whether the succession can be arranged within the family, within the company or outside the company, and which succession solution is best in each case, depends on the individual factors of the company.

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ESG is not a trend, but the way to responsibly shape the future. But what about ESG compliance in your own company? ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance and medium-sized companies are confronted with this in many areas. A sustainable ESG concept helps a company to define and achieve its sustainability goals, to be attractive to banks and to increase the value of the company. When developing and implementing such an individual concept, many questions arise that need to be clarified. A systematic and structured approach ensures the necessary transparency here.

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THE MAK’ED TEAM combines its SME expertise with teaching

In the North Baden region, two strong partners with a clear focus on medium-sized businesses have come together. At the beginning of the month, we sealed our cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences for Management (HdWM) in Mannheim.

This means that teaching is now even more closely linked to practice – for more competence for SMEs. We are convinced of the efficiency of small and medium-sized enterprises and would like to help shape this efficiency by empowering young people.

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Our office – a mini-campus for a few hours: We were delighted to welcome five students and their course director Professor Dr. Stäudner from the Mannheim University of Applied Sciences for Management (HdWM) to our Karlsruhe location on Thursday, 3 February 2022. The occasion was the presentation of a project that the students had worked out according to the task of THE MAK`ED TEAM.

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What was previously very good for SMEs, but not mandatory, is becoming a “must have”: CSR reporting is moving into the SME sector and will be given a permanent place in the management report as of 1 January 2024. This puts non-financial, i.e. sustainable reporting, on the same pedestal as financial reporting.

The EU Commission’s planned changes to the extended reporting obligation are not surprising; after all, the sustainable contribution of all companies plays an important role in Europe’s sustainability transformation. Here, reporting is the toolbox to ensure the implementation of these sustainable economic measures.

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The implementation of the EU Whistleblower Directive is on the agenda of many small and medium-sized companies. Managing directors and compliance officers immediately think of lawyers and software, but it takes a lot more to implement the guideline not only in a legally secure way, but also in a motivating and profitable way.

Our expert Karin Scherer puts it in a nutshell: “Many managing directors would like to receive information from the staff when the company is damaged, whether negligently or intentionally, internally by employees or by external persons. Our experiences range from reaching into the till, theft of goods to sexual harassment at the workplace. All incidents in which those in the know or affected did not know how to act, looked a way as a precaution – and in which the management would have liked to have been informed at an early stage, to protect the employees affected and the company.”

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Most small and medium-sized companies feel it clearly: the necessary employees are harder to find than ever before! In certain sectors or regions, the shortage of skilled workers has been painfully noticeable for some time, but finding and retaining well-qualified candidates is now a real art. It is not the employer, but the potential employee who holds the scepter. This paradigm shift in the labor market is one of the great changes of our time. Consequently, so-called employer branding, i.e. the development of an attractive employer brand and its marketing to the outside world, is increasingly coming into focus. No matter what size company and what budget it has available: If it wants to secure its own future, it must adapt to the requirements of potential employees with suitable marketing and recruiting strategies.

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Personnel development – some entrepreneurs don’t like to hear this word. In most cases, it is closely linked to expensive seminars, training courses and further education. And these expensive measures haven’t brought the success that the company expected, often. “No wonder”, the expert thinks, and we show what personnel development means and why personnel development is more important than ever for the success and growth of companies.

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