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INSEAD and CBS partner on new research project addressing ownership change in Danish SME'S

March 27, 2014 - London



DKK 22.8m (around 3 million Euros) grant from the Danish Industry Foundation to pave way for
new research partnership between INSEAD and Copenhagen Business School;
promoting the successful transfer of ownership in Danish owner-managed businesses.

Fontainebleau (France), Singapore and Abu Dhabi - March 27, 2014 - INSEAD, the leading international business school, announced today that it will enter into a joint research partnership with Copenhagen Business School (CBS) to develop a world-leading knowledge centre addressing ownership change in Danish small and medium enterprises. With the objective of maintaining jobs and production in Denmark, the new research will facilitate knowledge and tools supporting successful business ownership transitions. The Danish Industry Foundation (DIF) has awarded the joint grant of DKK 22.8m (around 3 million Euros) to INSEAD and CBS to address rising demands for help and knowledge around ownership change in Denmark. Owner-managed companies make up nearly eighty percent of businesses in Denmark but, in the coming decade, ownership of approximately 25,000 businesses will be transferred to a new owner or group of owners.

Professor Morten Bennedsen, Academic Director at The Wendel International Centre for Family Enterprise at INSEAD, which will lead the research, said: "Long-term planning is a key challenge for many owner-managed SME's around the world. What is so exciting about this research project is that we are able to roll out the topic of ownership change at a country level - something which has never been done before - and with the input and insights of a large pool of SMEs. We are extremely grateful to the Danish Industry Foundation for its support, without which this level of unique research could not happen."

Using the new grant, INSEAD's world-leading research centre on family businesses, The Wendel International Centre for Family Enterprise, will work with CBS to provide the knowledge and research direction for a new centre opening in Denmark, the CBS Centre for Owner-Managed Businesses (COMB). The five-year research project will generate new intelligence around Danish family-led SMEs, economic consequences of ownership, successful transfer of ownership and the challenges faced. From this knowledge, INSEAD will work with CBS to develop new tools that owner-managers of Danish SMEs can use to ensure successful change of ownership. Tools will include a 'Family Business Map' and an online platform for benchmarking.

Danish Industry Foundation's CEO, Mads Lebech, explained: "Denmark currently has no research-based knowledge or specific tools for guaranteeing the successful transfer of ownership. Sixteen thousand owner-managers are over the age of 65 and some of them have not yet considered the most suitable exit strategy for the transfer of ownership of their company that will take place within a short time. As a result, the goal of the Foundation's grant is to provide Danish owner-managers access to individually tailored knowledge, tools and training in order to devise a suitable strategy for the change of ownership, regardless of whether that is to happen in one, five or ten years". 

"This significant grant given to CBS by the Danish Industry Foundation is a welcome opportunity to create a strong impact in an area of great importance for business. A large number of Danish companies are manager-owned and this will provide us with the opportunity to help them with some of the tough decisions they face," says CBS President Per Holten-Andersen.

INSEAD's Professor Morten Bennedsen added: "We intend for this research to lead to the development of new tools and methods that will help thousands of Danish owner-managed firms as the country moves into a period of transition, with more and more founders of small and medium businesses looking for effective exit strategies in the coming years. But even beyond Denmark, there will be many gains to be shared with firms around the world."

The grant from the Danish Industry Foundation will cover the research projects' initial activities for the next five years, including development of the CBS Centre for Owner-Managed Businesses which will begin operations in the spring of 2014. Meanwhile, INSEAD's globally-recognised Wendel International Centre for Family Enterprise, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, will also benefit from the grant. Findings from the in-depth study of 3000 to 5000 SMEs in Denmark - which by nature are, in the large part, family owned businesses - will provide the centre with new insights and tools addressing the constantly evolving challenges associated with long term planning in family firms around the world. Research will be based on the analysis of registry data covering all Danish businesses as well as surveys undertaken among a large number of companies.

The Danish Industry Foundation supports innovative, inspirational and sustainable projects that can strengthen the competitiveness of Danish business.


Notes to editors:

About The INSEAD Wendel International Centre for Family Enterprise
Founded in 2004 as a Centre of Excellence, The INSEAD Wendel International Centre for Family Enterprise promotes family businesses as sustainable business models largely representing the backbone of the world's economies. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the centre will run a series of special family business events which will be held across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East to commemorate the Centre's first successful decade. For more information visit:

About INSEAD, The Business School for the World
As one of the world's leading and largest graduate business schools, INSEAD brings together people, cultures and ideas to change lives and to transform organisations. A global perspective and cultural diversity are reflected in all aspects of our research and teaching.

With campuses in Europe (France), Asia (Singapore) and Abu Dhabi, INSEAD's business education and research spans three continents. Our 146 renowned Faculty members from 34 countries inspire more than 1,300 degree participants annually in our MBA, Executive MBA, specialised master's degrees (Master in Finance, Executive Master in Consulting and Coaching for Change) and PhD programmes. In addition, more than 12,000 executives participate in INSEAD's executive education programmes each year.

In addition to INSEAD's programmes on our three campuses,INSEAD participates in academic partnerships with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia & San Francisco); the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University near Chicago, andJohns Hopkins University/SAIS in Washington DC. In Asia, INSEAD partners with Tsinghua University in Beijing and with CEIBS.INSEAD is a founding member in the multidisciplinary Sorbonne University created in 2012, and also partners with Fundação Dom Cabral in Brazil.

INSEAD became a pioneer of international business education with the graduation of the first MBA class on the Fontainebleau campus in Europe in 1960.  In 2000, INSEAD opened its Asia campus in Singapore. And in 2007 the school began an association in the Middle East, officially opening the Abu Dhabi campus in 2010.
Around the world and over the decades, INSEAD continues to conduct cutting edge research and to innovate across all our programmes to provide business leaders with the knowledge and sensitivity to operate anywhere. These core values have enabled us to become truly "The Business School for the World."

More information about INSEAD can be found at


INSEAD Press Contacts:
Sophie Badré
Media relations Director, Europe and Asia
Tel +33 (0)1 60 72 45 26,
Mobile: +33 (0)6 86 07 33 75

INSEAD Europe campus 
Boulevard de Constance
77305 Fontainebleau Cedex, France  
Tel: +33 (0)1 60 72 40 00
Fax: +33 (0)1 60 74 55 13

Julia Irrgang
Tel +33(0)1 60 72 93 34

INSEAD Asia campus
1 Ayer Rajah Avenue, Singapore 138676
Tel: +65 6799 5388
Fax: +65 6799 5399

Aileen Huang
Tel +65 6799 5552

INSEAD Abu Dhabi campus
Muroor Road - Street No. 4, P.O. Box 48049
Abu Dhabi UAE
Tel: +971 2 651 5200
Fax: +971 2 443 9428

Joe Chedid
Tel +971 2 651 5329

About Danish Industry Foundation -
The purpose of the Danish Industry Foundation is to develop and support innovative, inspirational and economically sustainable projects and initiatives that strengthen the competitiveness of Danish business and industry.

The Danish Industry Foundation develops and supports initiatives and projects within the following areas:

  • Knowledge and competences 

  • Entrepreneurship and innovation 

  • Internationalisation and openness 

The Danish Industry Foundation is etablished in 1898 and is a registered business foundation and reports its annual accounts to the Danish Commerce and Companies Agency. In cooperation with the secretariat, the board of directors governs the Foundation's equity of almost € 540 million (4 billion DKK).

The Foundation supports innovative projects that generate new knowledge for the benefit of the Danish industry. Through inspiration and project development the Foundations means must help bridge cooperation between science and business. The Danish Industry Foundation engages actively in projects and seeks to share findings and outcomes for the benefit of applicants, companies, the scientific community and other stakeholders.

For further information, please contact:

Head of Development Charlotte Kjeldsen Krarup, phone: +45 33 37 62 04 or mail:, website:


About Copenhagen Business School

Copenhagen Business School (CBS) was established in 1917 and became integrated as an institution of higher education in the Danish education system in 1965. Today CBS is regulated by the Danish Universities Act 2003 under the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education.

CBS is one of the largest business schools in Europe with close to 20,000 students. CBS offers world-class research-based degree programmes at undergraduate, graduate and PhD levels as well as executive and other post experience programmes. CBS creates and provides original and relevant knowledge through publishing, participation in the public debate, consultancy and our expert database Experts@CBS. CBS develops and shares knowledge in partnership with other universities, enterprises and organisations and contributes to the development of business and society.

CBS is the Danish member of CEMS, The Global Alliance in Management Education, since 2000. CBS has been accredited by EQUIS and since 2007 also by AMBA. On 1 August, 2011 CBS was accredited by AACSB, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, as the first school in Scandinavia. CBS has thus acquired "The Triple Crown", an acknowledgement only shared by 59 business schools worldwide.


Copenhagen business School Press contact

Patrick S. Gram
CBS office of external affairs  
Career Centre / Communications / Alumni
Solbjerg Plads 3, B1.19, 2000 Frederiksberg
Tel.: +45 3815 5752
Mob.: +45 2993 4491 <>


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The issuer of this announcement warrants that they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and originality of the information contained therein.
Source: INSEAD via Globenewswire



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