Welcome to IfM Bonn


The Institut für Mittelstandsforschung (IfM) Bonn was established in 1957 as a foundation of private law on the initiative of Ludwig Erhard, then Minister of Economic Affairs (and later German Chancellor). Founders are the Federal Republic of Germany and the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia. The institute's task is to analyse the status-quo, development and problems of Mittelstand companies and small and medium-sized enterprises, to develop recommendations for SME policies and to disseminate its research results to the general public.

IfM Bonn accomplishes its tasks by adopting an application-oriented approach in its research activities. As a starting point, it provides comprehensive statistical information on small and medium-sized enterprises in Germany, based on official and semi-official data as well as on its own, survey-based data. Furthermore, the institute investigates SME-related research topics by applying state-of-the art (empirical) research methods and provides expertise on current policy issues relevant to small and medium-sized enterprises.

Research activities

IfM Bonn is independent in carrying out its research activities. It focuses its activities on four main (broadly defined) areas of research:


  • Statistical Data on SMEs and continuous Economic Monitoring

  • Mittelstand (SMEs),Society and Government

  • Lifecycle of SMEs    

  • Strategic Corporate Management

The research activities are based on a multi-annual research programme. Every year, the progress and results of the research projects are documented in an annual report. In addition to its institutionalised research activities, IfM Bonn also carries out research assignments on behalf of external institutions.


IfM Bonn communicates its research results in press releases, on the institute’s website, in its own and external publications as well as in newspaper articles, lectures and public presentations. In addition, some of our researchers hold a lectureship or teaching position at a university or college.


The research activities of IfM Bonn are financed partly by the Federal Republic of Germany (represented by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy) and partly by the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia (represented by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy and Industry of North Rhine-Westphalia).

Management/Institutional Bodies

The institute is managed by a president. Supervision is provided by a board of trustees. In consultation with the president, the board defines the institute’s research programme. A scientific advisory board supports the development and realisation of medium-term research projects.