Professor Miguel Meuleman: Since we’ve started the buyout initiative here at Vlerick in September 2012, BDO has shown itself to be very closely connected to its clients, many of which are owner-managers of entrepreneurial companies. The people working at BDO clearly understand what’s going on in the mind of their clients and many of them are personally involved and like to share the successes of their clients, but at the same time, are right there when clients face difficult times. Their customer-centred approach has helped us come up with insights and best practices in the buyout process, and a number of entrepreneurs have provided testimonials to participants in our programmes. It certainly is true to say that some of these entrepreneurs have become role models for the next generation of buyout managers.
One of the reasons why BDO is good at working with entrepreneurs is because they have a very entrepreneurial culture themselves. They clearly walk the talk and understand that entrepreneurship is a way of thinking and acting.
Today, entrepreneurship has evolved beyond the classic start-up notion to include companies and organizations of all types, in all stages – in firms that are old and new; small and large; fast and slow growing; in the private, not-for-profit, and public sector. The buyout initiative we have started together therefore is not only beneficial for future buyout managers, it also has wider economic implications.
Research has confirmed that mature companies benefit considerably from this kind of change, as very often new owners will come in with a new vision for the company. Furthermore, transferring a company through a buyout or other type of acquisition, as compared to liquidating it, sustains more economic wealth in terms of continued customer relationships, continued supply-chain, or continued employment. We hope together we can foster an environment where entrepreneurship can prosper and where entrepreneurs can contribute to solving some of today’s pressing problems.