Research Activity

The research activities of the Chair for SME Research and Entrepreneurship are embedded in the Institute for SME Research and Entrepreneurship (ifm Mannheim). It is a central research institute of the University of Mannheim and carries out research projects on current and structural SME-related topics. The staff at the institute work under the direction of Professor Woywode in four research areas. The special strength of the ifm Mannheim lies in its interdisciplinary orientation and the bridging function between science and practice. Research projects are of national and international focus. Permanent tasks include advising political bodies in Germany and abroad on SME issues and providing key statistical data on SMEs, as well as knowledge transfer between science and the industry.

The Ifm Mannheim has three main foci: First, fundamental research in its four research areas. Second, teaching activities at the Chair. Third, science-based policy advisory. The ifm Mannheim strives for excellence in each of these domains and underlies continuous quality and performance appraisal.

The four fields of research at the ifm Mannheim

Family Firms

Interdisciplinary research group “family firms”: Organization, Behavioral Science, Entrepreneurship, Information Systems, & Public Policy.

New Self-Employment

New fields and new forms of self-employment, their stakeholders, and the opportunities and challenges that arise as a result.


Founder personalities and the founder teams, entrepreneurial opportunity recognition, the developing organization and the entrepreneurial environment.


Digitization and competitiveness in SMEs