B&C Private Foundation

Fostering Entrepreneurship in Austria

2023 Houska Prize

Submissions open until 30 November 2022

The B&C Private Foundation

The purpose of the B&C Private Foundation is to foster entrepreneurship in Austria. All of the decisions taken by the B&C Group are weighed against this overarching goal.

The Austrian Private Foundations Act (Privatstiftungsgesetz, PSG) enacted in 1993, provides the legal basis for setting up private foundations in Austria. The legislature’s primary goals for the act were as follows:

      • Keeping Austrian wealth in the country
      • Preventing estates from being broken up
      • Creating incentives for investment of foreign wealth in Austria
      • Securing jobs in Austria

 

In line with the legislature's intentions, the B&C Private Foundation offers long-term ownership and secure development opportunities for Austrian industrial companies in which it holds or acquires direct or indirect investments.

This approach allows the B&C Group to make a significant contribution to the long-term commercial success of its core investments and, in turn, play an important role in fostering the development of Austria as a location for industry, while also helping to retain the future of corporate headquarters in the country – irrespective of any changes in ownership and other third party business or political interests.

B&C family mourns the loss of Mariella Schurz

It is with great sadness that we bid farewell to Mariella Schurz, our long-time colleague, General Secretary of the B&C Private Foundation and Managing Director in the B&C Group. Mariella’s passing on 4 November 2022 spells the loss of an exceptional individual. She was highly committed to the B&C Group, to her employees and to building a better society through her courageous and rousing dedication, and a great deal of warmth and understanding.

Mariella Schurz
Mariella Schurz (†)

Mariella shaped B&C for more than 10 years after joining the Group in mid-2012. She took on increasingly important tasks and demonstrated an exemplary sense of responsibility in each of them. Mariella is credited for the diligent new design of Palais Ephrussi, the funding activities of the B&C Private Foundation, the structure of the holding group and her prudent management of human resources. She also significantly developed the Houska Prize and turned it to her own masterpiece. Mariella was the face of the B&C Group to the public and played a decisive role in shaping B&C's image.

Both inside and outside the Group, it is well known how important the continuous development and improvement of the Houska Prize was to Mariella. She also deeply cared about fostering financial literacy. She expanded the Houska Prize to include three categories and focused on recognising the people and personalities behind the research, as well as their unique achievements. Her active engagement in the still young MEGA Foundation for Education sent out highly visible – and impressive – signals. The purpose of MEGA is to create equal opportunities in education and increase economic financial literacy with the specific aim of enhancing general business know-how and life skills among future generations. Many initiatives and programmes designed to promote equal educational opportunities were and will be continued to be supported by the MEGA Foundation for Education. For the B&C Group, Mariella played a pioneering role in fostering broad-based economic education, which is essential for the welfare of a mature society.

Above all, Mariella Schurz stood out for one thing: courage. The courage to address issues and put ideas into action. With her openness and warmth, she was always able to inspire people with her ideas and bring them on board. Her hard work and unwavering commitment, both inside and outside B&C, was always coupled with a high degree of empathy, absolute conviction, single-minded persistence and, above all, a great deal of humour.

She leaves a gaping hole in our lives. As a treasured colleague and friend, Mariella will always be remembered with deep fondness.

Our sympathy and deepest condolences go to her family, life partner and friends.

The Board of Directors and the Management on behalf of the entire team of the B&C Group

Duties of the B&C Private Foundation

Fostering entrepreneurship in Austria

The B&C Private Foundation’s core objective is to foster entrepreneurship in Austria. This primarily takes the form of long-term investments in Austrian industrial companies. The B&C Private Foundation exercises its function as a core shareholder through its subsidiaries.

They provide their core investments with planning security at shareholder level, while exercising shareholder rights responsibly and in the interests of the respective companies. The subsidiaries also support the members they nominate to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the supervisory boards.

The B&C Private Foundation fosters Austria’s development as a business location through numerous initiatives aimed at improving the commercial and legal framework, with a specific focus on the Houska Prize, law and economics, endowed professorships and raising economic literacy.

 

Funding activities

Improving conditions for business

Houska Prize: awarded annually by the B&C Private Foundation, the Houska Prize is given in recognition of outstanding business-related research projects. With a total prize money of EUR 500,000 shared between the winners, the Houska Prize is Austria’s largest private research award.

Law and economics: the B&C Private Foundation has been a supporter of the annual Wiener Unternehmensrechtstag, an event that focuses on current business and capital market developments, since 2012.

Endowed professorships: the B&C established two endowed professorships to promote innovative research at life science universities in Austria: Autonomous Systems at TU Wien, partnered by TTTech, and Non-Ferrous Metallurgy at the University of Leoben, partnered by AMAG.

Economic literacy: following the establishment of the MEGA Bildungsstiftung (MEGA Foundation for Education) in partnership with the Berndorf Private Foundation, the B&C Private Foundation has sharpened its focus on fostering economic literacy with the specific aim of enhancing general business know-how and life skills among young people in Austria.

Beneficiaries

Permanent beneficiaries are R2B MEGA Bildungs-Privatstiftung (MEGA Foundation for Education) and Commitment Privatstiftung. Furthermore, one-off benefits are granted to specific projects and initiatives on an ongoing basis, especially to the winners of the annual Houska Prize.

In pursuing B&C Private Foundation’s purpose, the beneficiary is the Austrian general public insofar as anyone could be concerned by the fostering of Austrian entrepreneurship, therefore in particular Austrian enterprises and entrepreneurs.

Schur Flexibles

B&C acquires Schur Flexibles - nicht sichtbar

The B&C Group has acquired an 80% share in the international packaging company Schur Flexibles Holding GmbH. The remaining 20% will be retained by the current owner, US private equity company Lindsay Goldberg. The B&C Group prevailed against several prospective buyers, and its investment means that Schur Flexibles, an international packaging specialist based in Wiener Neudorf in Lower Austria, will have an Austrian majority owner going forward. This also ensures that the company headquarters will stay in Austria.

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