For 25 years, the Manager Training Programme has been bringing together decision-makers from the business community to build long-term partnerships. The initiative, which is financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), has now been renamed Partnering in Business with Germany.
The programme, founded in 1998, is constantly being taken forward and brought into line with conditions on the ground. Since 2022 it has increasingly offered activities for specific branches or areas, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, the circular economy, industry 4.0 (the digitalisation of manufacturing) and smart farming. It helps drive climate action and resolve problems with the supply of natural resources and energy.
Global support for small and medium-sized businesses
There is a high level of demand for Partnering in Business with Germany. Some 17,000 managers and decision-makers from 21 countries have taken part in the programme over the last 25 years. Every year an average of 3,000 German companies get involved – and the success is plain to see.
The main element of the programme is training, both online and in-person, in small groups or through learning tandems. During a two-week stay in Germany focused on practical experience, participants have direct contact with small and medium-sized businesses. 10 per cent of them conclude contracts for future cooperation during the programme term. 75 per cent of programme participants also devise proposals for restructuring their own businesses.
Ramirez Guiterrez, project manager at Membranas Los Volcanes, outlines the advantages offered by the programme.
Achieving more through partnerships
The programme gives participating businesses access to the home market of their partner company. Business partnerships promise benefits for both sides and often forge lasting links.
One example is the successful cooperation arrangement between the Egyptian businessman Ahmed Fathelbab, managing director of the El Fatah steel company, and the German company Loesche GmbH. The two companies realised several projects together, including the establishment of two cement factories in Africa. Fathelbab managed to significantly increase El Fateh’s exports. Five years after the programme, exports accounted for 100 per cent of sales, up from 10 per cent. He also worked with an environmental engineer to establish another company, Bidaya, which produces bio-fuels. It is one of the first plants in Egypt to manufacture bio-ethanol and produces 5,000 tonnes of the alternative fuel every year.
In 2023 an innovative cooperation arrangement was launched in the field of renewable energy by the Mexican company Membranas Los Volcanes and the German company Bert Energy GmbH. The goal was to collaborate on the development of a revolutionary mobile biogas plant that used a new technology. The planned product development and worldwide distribution will represent a huge leap forward for the biogas industry.
Many of the 17,000 or so programme graduates remain in touch through alumni networks. They share experience and pass it on, acting as multipliers. This lays the foundations for a global, Germany-focused business network, which will be available in the long term to SMEs from Germany seeking to engage in foreign trade.
As at: October 2023