Impulse Centre “Growth Management for Medium sized Enterprises” (iGMO)

Why this Impulse Centre “Growth Management for Medium sized Enterprises”?

Entrepreneurship and management nowadays find themselves in a "raplex" (rapid + complex) environment: globalisation, technological revolutions, political upheavals, new value patterns in the workforce, shorter product lifecycles, market liability, etc.

These developments pose new requirements on management which go far beyond "try it out in the store". The success of an organisation in the future will be determined in even larger measure by the quality of its interaction. Problem-solving capability, the capacity for change and the ability thereby to act as a team, will become more and more important. This also leads to a new model of the cultivation and transfer of knowledge. The solution does not lie in short-circuiting the process, but rather, as we learn from the study of technological innovation, in the deliberate overlapping of the diverse steps. The concept of Impulse centres fits into such a model. Theory formulation and diffusion, conception and implementation happen in parallel and simultaneously.

Objectives of the Impulse Centre “Growth Management for Medium sized Enterprises”

The objective is to develop solution oriented knowledge and to diffuse it in the specific entrepreneurs’, c.q. owner-management field. Of vital importance is the open dialogue between the various partners: academic (Vlerick Business School), Foundation partners and entrepreneurs. The research members are actively involved by bringing in own business experiences.

Expertise within the Impulse Centre “Growth Management for Medium sized Enterprises”

The first strategic choice is whether the enterprise wants to grow or not. Internal growth is realised through the enlargement of its own business volume, with existing or new products, in existing or new markets. With external growth, the enterprise will take over other entities.

Alliances between several enterprises can be seen as a merging of the former systems; by means of external partnerships, one becomes stronger and bigger itself.

Special attention is paid to the internationalisation process in internal as well as external growth scenarios.
Financial management needs to be sure that the necessary means are always available to support the growth. Creative financing techniques such as venture capital, mezzanine-financing, private investment and/or introduction on the Stock Exchange can be a solution for this.

A problem that arises in many growing family concerns is the question of who will succeed the entrepreneur/manager. Possible solutions are: to hand on the torch to another family member, the professionalization of the management team, the take-over of the enterprise, or, lastly, a management buy-out (whereby an external management team buys the concern). The several options are situated on a continuum of more or less family involvement in the enterprise. Each choice needs, at the same time, to be legally and fiscally structured.

Some of the topics on the research-agenda are:

  • strategic dimensions of growth
  • learning practices in growing companies
  • the entrepreneur and his/her organisation
  • financing the growth of the company
  • marketing, internationalisation and growth
  • innovation and growth
  • new forms of organisations
  • external growth through acquisition and strategic alliances
  • passing entrepreneurship to the next generation
  • stress management
  • business ethics and the entrepreneur
  • negotiations with stakeholders
  • control systems and responsibilities in growing companies

Knowledge in Action

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