A healthy economy needs successful domestic family businesses

by Andrea Sachtleben, Founder of the Koikai Stiftung


I am German and grew up and one of the richest, safest and stable countries in the world. I took it for granted because I didn´t know anything else. I had a happy childhood, I had access to the best education and I live a life free from sorrow. I know that many many parts of the rest of the world are far away from such a situation.

As an economist and while I was an entrepreneur in my own country I more and more started to ask questions about the essential differences and how I can contribute my knowledge and experiences to countries to create wealth for the whole nations.

When I started to ask about business in so called developing countries I only heard about corruption, exploitation and the survival entrepreneurs. Although people more and more get access to education they stay unemployed on the street or they try to leave their countries and then working as cheap workers somewhere in the first world. What is missing? Exactly what strengthen Germany – the “middle” (There is no real word in English to express the German Mittelstand). And this “middle” in Germany was built and created by family businesses over decades and centuries. Interestingly, all this companies were fasten rebuilt after the war and become the engine for the acutal strong German economy

Facts, numbers and examples about the ecomomy of Germany

The so called „Mittelstand“ (medium sized companies) in Germany includes

  • around 99,7 % of all tax paying companies in which nearly

  • 65,9 % of all employees are employed

  • which realize around 38,3 % of all sales and

  • which train 83,0 % of all trainees.

The Facts of the family businesses are

  • Nearly 95% of all businesses in Germany are run as family businesses

  • They contribute around 41,5 % to the sales of all companies and

  • they provide 57 % of all jobs

(Source: Wikipedia)

There was a overview of the richest families in Germany in the newspaper. They all own billions and billions of Euros. They employ a lot of people. Maybe the big difference in comparison to the richest people in Africa is they made they money with a family business. They started somewhere with a small unit and they created big companies who do global business.

Here are some examples

The richest family in Germany is the family Albrecht. They created out of their little grocery store in Mühlheim .a.d.Ruhr one of the biggest discounter in the world. This company still belongs to the famiily. They employ around 50.000 employees. (www.aldi.de)

Also another discounter called Lidl started with one fruits and vegetable shop called Südfrüchte Großhandel GmbH in Heilbronn. Today Lidl employs nearly 100.000 employees. (www.lidl.de)

Another very successful family business is Liebherr which is a producer of household appliance started in 1930 with one construction material shop in a very small place in Germany called Biberach. Although the place of business is in Switzerland and they employ 37000 employees.

I can go on and on. Even my name stands for a businesses which started as a family business which my grand grand father found. (www.sachtleben.de)

(Source: Wikipedia)


Wealth needs domestic familydriven mediumsize companies (the “middle”)

The key to the wealth of Countries like Germany are the Family businesses owned by German families not the big companies and not the one-man or one-woman companies.

Family is a profound value all over the world. Strong and good families can create wealth and sustainability.

My experience and observation is that in Africa in particular people think that richness is only possible by corruption, exploitation and fraud and especially many governments and the “high society” of the countries proof that right. And women are not playing a role at all. The consequence is that some people are very very rich by bad business and the rest of the country stays very very poor. And for the poor there seems no way out. And this is given from parents to children.

What is needed? Create new philosphies and attitudes that there is a way to create wealth without corruption, exploitation and fraud but with smart ideas and hard work in a family team.

Why I focus so much on the family aspect? Because when you look deeper into the story of the successful businesses you always can recognize strong couples.

Vision and Program

My dream is to create local family businesses all over the world to create the middle of country. The program for that vision is the family entrepreneurship program. is to find couples all over the world who allow me to train them in entrepreneurship, leadership and real teamwork. If you look deeper into the history of successful family businesses there were always strong couples who stand for the

actually create a real business at their place. Within the first part of the program the couple will find out what their business will be regarding to their talents, passion and market needs.

The program includes the theory of business and economy as well as the practical part of runing a business like marketing, sales, financing and projectmanagement. One of the very unique parts of that training is to train couples to become a successful businessteam.

The coaching part is that the couples will be supported in the actual process of starting their own company to guide them through the ups and downs of the starting process.

Details of the Entrepreneurship Program in Africa