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Under a new name at the Foreign Trade Days

During the Foreign Trade Days, which took place from 11-13 October at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK) and to which numerous German entrepreneurs were invited, the Manager Training Programme was presented for the first time under a new name: Partnering in Business with Germany.
Establishing successful business partnerships is at the heart of the Programme. In the form of a panel discussion entitled “Successfully finding business partners in new markets”, examples of the Programme’s successes were presented to the audience by former participants.

At the beginning, Ulrich Niemann, Head of Division in the Foreign Trade Policy Department of the BMWK responsible for the Programme, emphasised how strongly the idea of partnership is reflected in networks. Partnering in Business with Germany is an interplay between many players in Germany and forms company networks “from Hamburg to Stuttgart, with 17 business partners”. The success stories of the Programme speak for themselves and it is “reassuring to see the good relationship between effort and output”, which is reflected in the evaluation results of the Programme. “Partnerships grow and further contracts are often concluded over time,” says Mr Niemann.

Anne Jach-Kemps, head of the Programme at GIZ, which implements the programme on behalf of the BMWK, then went into more detail about the Programme’s target group: “Our participants are owners, managers, family entrepreneurs, decision-makers in any case”. As part of the Programme, they acquire skills relating to “How to do business with Germany”. Sandra Käfer, Senior Consultant at AHP International, a business partner that implements parts of the programme on behalf of AHP, added that the German companies “come into contact with a foreign market without barriers that they may not have previously considered as a target country.”

From left to right: Anne Jach-Kemps, Werner Eirich, Ulrich Niemann, Sandra Käfer © GIZ/Anna Halfmann

Three entrepreneurs then described very clearly how this works in reality:

Avirmed Mendbayar was part of the pilot group that was carried out with Mongolia in 2009. His company produces liquid foodstuffs, from milk to beer and vodka. As part of the Programme, a deal was signed with Krones AG for the delivery of a can filling line. Since then, numerous other joint projects have been realised, from brewery equipment to automated high-bay warehouses. Turnover in Mr Mendbayar’s company has increased and new jobs have been created as a result. Only recently, he signed another contract with Mr Stefan Babeck, Sales Manager for China and Mongolia at Krones AG.

Stefan Babeck (on the left) and Avirmed Mendbayar ©GIZ/Anna Halfmann

Babeck described the co-operation as a “special experience”. Krones has a turnover of 4.2 billion in 150 countries. “Without Mr Mendbayar, it would only be 149.” The contact, which was established through Partnering in Business with Germany, ultimately paid off for another German company: König Ludwig Brauerei has since been selling its products under licence in Mongolia.

On the other hand, Partnering in Business with Germany also enables small and medium-sized German companies to access markets for which foreign subsidiaries are less likely to be considered due to their staff size. Mr Werner Eirich, Managing Director of Framence GmbH, a family-run company that creates AI-supported software with 92 employees, is a real “fan” of the Programme. Since 2019, he has already had 21 company delegations visit his company: “400 of the 17,000 entrepreneurs that the Programme has made fit for the German market so far have been with us. There are around 20 entrepreneurs in each group, they come for two hours and then it’s clear what they can do, what we can do and how we can match them.” From these company visits, Mr Eirich has identified successful business partners in India, Brazil, Chile and Mexico “with practically no effort and without us having to fly.” The delegation is often in Germany for longer, so that contracts can be concluded shortly after the company visit.

Questions from the audience focused on the new countries and markets that Partnering in Business with Germany would like to include in its Programme in the future. Mr Niemann confirmed the programme’s forward-looking approach: “We want to expand further from 2024 and target countries with market potential that many German SMEs may not yet be considering.”