To date, more than 14,000 executives from 21 countries have taken part in the Manager Training Programme initiated by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). Every year, several thousand German companies participate in the programme, which began in 1998 with Russia as the first partner country. The most recent additions to the list of countries are Ethiopia and South Africa, which joined the programme in 2019. The aim is to facilitate mutual access to the other country's market for the executives and companies taking part, thus benefiting both sides. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is coordinating the programme on behalf of BMWi. Participants go on a four-week trip to Germany to improve their management skills, business conduct and negotiating techniques. Through visits to German companies, they also learn about work processes and marketing strategies – and develop solutions for restructuring their own companies.
The programme thus helps to forge business contacts, mainly between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the partner countries and Germany. Each group of 20 participants has contact with an average of 60 German SMEs. Many of them stay in touch through the alumni networks that they set up and become partners for German businesses. The alumni act as multipliers by sharing and disseminating their experience, thus playing an important role in their countries’ economic development and promoting cooperation with German companies.
Ravindra Mahadeokar, a mechanical engineer from India, is one of the programme’s alumni. 'I could have come to Germany on my own initiative. But who would have shown interest in me and believed in my company?' he remarks. The programme put him in touch with Strama-MPS Maschinenbau GmbH, and in 2014 the partners set up a joint venture in India. Fifty-five people now work for Mahadeokar – almost twice as many employees as he had back in 2011 when he took part in the programme. The company's turnover has been rapidly increasing since then too.
The BMWi programme does not just arrange for foreign managers to come to Germany, however. For the past few years, German entrepreneurs have been able to go to China and Russia to find out about the market conditions and business opportunities there. Financed by the relevant national government, these trips include training elements and contact with authorities and local companies. GIZ prepares the executives for their two-week trip abroad.
Last update: June 2020