Partnership BDO and Vlerick
BDO and Vlerick joined forces in 2012 in the Platform for Entrepreneurial Buyouts.
Making a name for BDO
Hans Wilmots, CEO BDO Belgium “We had one big handicap in the market: our name. People didn’t know us. We had a lot of work to do making publicity to let the world know what we do, how we do it, and why we do it. This is one of the reasons we wanted to work with Vlerick. The school has a good reputation and could help us build our brand, and besides it was a good way for us get in touch with students and the Vlerick network, and tell the marketplace what we’re capable of.”
Together with Professor Miguel Meuleman, Vlerick’s entrepreneurship professor, BDO has launched the Entrepreneurial Buyout Centre, a research and education facility focussing on management buyouts and buy-ins. Hans Wilmots explains why: “More than 80% of small and medium enterprises in Belgium will be facing the problem of generation transfer in the next few years. With Vlerick, we thought it would be appropriate and interesting to study the impact of private equity on buy-out and economic situations, as well as foreign investment. There is after all, a lot of money in Belgium, but people don’t spend it.”
The centre will provide seminars and courses for entrepreneurs who want to explore buyout opportunities, rather than setting up a business from scratch. By combining Vlerick’s academic reputation and BDO’s practical expertise, Hans Wilmots believes they can create something exciting that offers more than either could alone. “We’re working together, and they’re helping us come out with our knowledge. They have their network and a very good reputation. It’s a good cohesive story. They’re adding credibility to our project.”.
A Word from Vlerick
Professor Miguel Meuleman: "Since we’ve started the buyout initiative here at Vlerick in September 2012, BDO has shown itself to be very closely connected to its clients, many of which are owner-managers of entrepreneurial companies."
The people working at BDO clearly understand what’s going on in the mind of their clients and many of them are personally involved and like to share the successes of their clients, but at the same time, are right there when clients face difficult times. Their customer-centered approach has helped us come up with insights and best practices in the buyout process, and a number of entrepreneurs have provided testimonials to participants in our programs. It is certainly true to say that some of these entrepreneurs have become role models for the next generation of buyout managers.
One of the reasons why BDO is good at working with entrepreneurs is because they have a very entrepreneurial culture themselves. "They clearly walk the talk and understand that entrepreneurship is a way of thinking and acting."
Platform of Entrepreneurial Buyouts (PEBO)
The Platform for Entrepreneurial Buyouts (PEBO) is an initiative launched by Vlerick Business School, in collaboration with BDO Belgium, to run events and educational programmes that benefit entrepreneurial individuals with the ambition to undertake a buyout. Key activities are the Buy Your Own Company conference and the Entrepreneurial Buyout Academy which target individuals with significant management experience who have the ambition to perform their own management buy-out or management buy-in.
The platform has a private Group on Linkedin