The ifh Göttingen considers itself a competence centre for skilled crafts in the area of economic research. The institute compiles and publishes academically founded analyses and reports. In general the work interconnects theory and practice while at the same time applied research accommodates the needs of individual firms in the skilled crafts and deduces transferable and applicable results.
Founded in 1953, the "Institute for Small Business Economics" ("Volkswirtschaftliches Institut für Mittelstand und Handwerk an der Universität Göttingen", ifh Göttingen), is one of five research institutes integrated in the German Institute of Skilled Crafts e.V. (DHI).
Since early 2005, Prof. Dr. Kilian Bizer is the director of the ifh Göttingen. Mr. Bizer also holds the chair for Economic Policy and SME Research at the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the University of Göttingen.
The ifh Göttingen focuses on economic issues particularly arising from the following areas:
- Competitiveness, economic trends
- Labour market and employment
- Foreign trade
- Ecology and energy
- Financial and economic policy: Fiscal, social, labour, regional policy
- Cooperation, cooperation management
- Structure, perspective and regional analyses
Further work areas:
- Systematic collection of the German speaking literature relevant for small business, particularly for skilled crafts
- Hosting professional trainings for small business management consultants in the Chambers of Skilled Crafts ("economic seminars")
- Hosting the annual economist forum for economists of skilled crafts organisations
The institute’s research projects are based on proposals established by Chambers of Skilled Crafts, skilled craft associations, the German Confederation of the Skilled Crafts (ZDH) as well as ministries of economics on the federal and state level; the DHI research council passes on the proposals to the institute.
To a large extent, the ifh Göttingen is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics, the State Economic Ministries and the Skilled Crafts organisations. The remaining funds are acquired from different third parties.
The legal representative of the institute is the "Volkswirtschaftliches Institut für Mittelstand und Handwerk an der Universität Göttingen e.V". According to the statute, the presidency is executed by Dipl.-Ing. Peter Voss, Chairman of the permanent State Representation of the Lower Saxon Chambers of Skilled Crafts.
An advisory board with leading personalities from skilled crafts organisations supports the institute in its work. Frau Ass. Ina-Maria Heidmann, managing director of the Chamber of Skilled Crafts Hildesheim-Southern Lower Saxony, is the chairwoman of the advisory board.