The vast majority of family businesses want to get along with the corona crisis as possible without cutting jobs. 40 percent of the entrepreneurs surveyed want to make up for losses caused by the crisis or lack of money in the company with their private assets, as the survey of 136 larger family businesses by the University of Duisburg-Essen published on Monday showed. The client was the Family Business Foundation in Munich. This is partly about ensuring liquidity, partly about increasing equity, but also about increasing the short-time allowance for employees.
The Corona survey was part of a larger study on the social and societal commitment of family businesses. Apart from the survey, the employees of the Chair of Internal Audit also analyzed the publicly accessible documents of the 500 largest German family businesses, of which almost two thirds achieve annual sales of more than 50 million euros.
Accordingly, a good 80 percent of family businesses spend money on good causes, the majority in their own home region. “A large part of their commitment is received locally, by associations, social and cultural institutions and environmental protection,” said Stefan Heidbreder, the foundation’s managing director. Apart from that, almost 60 percent of the companies examined also operate in-house care, for example in the form of emergency funds for employees.
Almost half (48 percent) of the 500 largest family businesses run their own foundations, most of which serve charitable purposes. The majority of these foundations deal with education and research (61.8 percent) as well as social causes (45 percent), with many foundations active in more than one area.
The motives for social engagement are therefore not only selfless: “In addition to altruistic thoughts, self-interest in motivated employees who are connected to the company also plays a role,” write Professor Marc Eulerich and his colleagues. “But self-interest does not reduce commitment.”
The definition of family business was broad in the study. Eulerich and his employees included companies in which a private entrepreneur exercises significant influence. This also includes stock corporations in which a private entrepreneur holds a quarter or more of the shares.