The trade sees increasing problems with business succession. “It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find successors or masters who want to become self-employed or start a company,” said Jörg Dittrich, President of the Central Association of German Crafts, the German Press Agency. The German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) reported a reduced interest in business start-ups.

“Many young people are apparently less and less aware of the opportunities of their own company, but feel downright deterred by obstacles, patronage and stumbling blocks,” said DIHK President Peter Adrian of the dpa.

Bureaucratic dilemma

Referring to the problems, Dittrich said: “It has a lot to do with the image of self-employment and entrepreneurship that is conveyed. And that has to do with the excessive bureaucracy that deters many from taking the step into self-employment. It creates the concern getting caught in the bureaucratic dilemma of not being able to comply with the multitude of regulations and being exposed to great personal risks as a result.”

According to the association, at least 125,000 family businesses will be looking for a business successor in the skilled trades alone over the next five years. There are around 1 million craft businesses in total.

Dittrich, who is a master roofer, continued: “As a practitioner, I can tell you: An entrepreneur can only be successful to the extent that he is given the freedom to act economically successfully, he is not tamed with excessive specifications and regulations, and he Don’t bring tax and social security burdens to the brink of performance. If entrepreneurship is to be worthwhile and if companies are to be able to work economically successfully, they need growth-promoting and competitive-enhancing measures.”

Adrian: Business and politics have to “work together”

“We have teams everywhere in the chambers of industry and commerce in Germany that advise and support young people in starting a business or taking over a company,” said DIHK President Peter Adrian.

“Never before have our consultants reported such a lack of interest in founding or taking over a company. Even if this may be partly due to the currently attractive job offers for employees, this feedback should shake us up,” says Adrian. “If fewer and fewer young people set up a company or take over a business, our country will soon be lacking in creativity and a start-up mentality. We, as business and politicians, have to work together.”