Manager Training Programme: building global business contacts and new skills
How can a manager from Asia, Eastern Europe, North Africa or Latin America tap into opportunities for doing business with small and medium sized companies in Germany? One route is the Manager Training Programme run by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). More than 11,000 managers from around the world have so far benefited from the programme, with a further 900 enrolling each year. The managers selected to take part spend four weeks in Germany gaining insights into the country’s business culture and receive active support in making contacts with German companies. The programme has facilitated contacts with several thousand German companies, generating substantial numbers of business contracts. And it’s not just the number of participants that is increasing: more and more countries are benefiting, too. Georgia and Iran joined the programme in 2016, and Chile will become the latest country to be represented when the first group of Chilean managers arrives in Cologne in autumn 2017. That will take the number of participating countries to 19.
The second – and equally important – element of the programme is the continuing training it provides. Participating managers acquire skills in areas such as conducting negotiations. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH coordinates the programme on behalf of BMWi. One former participant who has benefited is Irina Matskevich from Kazakhstan; the training helped her modernise her company, which builds low energy houses and employs 100 people. ‘We’ve acquired a lot of new customers’, she says.
The programme also operates the other way round, though, with German managers having the opportunity to work outside Germany. Exchange arrangements are already in place with Russia and China, and in 2017, German managers will be travelling to Mexico for the first time. Following their stay in Germany, many participants stay in touch via alumni networks and also serve as contact points for German companies abroad. Business and economic exchanges between Germany and its partner countries are on the increase, ensuring that the programme lives up to its slogan, ‘Benefiting both sides’.