Benefiting both sides

Executives from Asia, Eastern Europe, North Africa and Latin America are immersing themselves in German business culture and learning about the technology and equipment in use in German companies. They make contact and initiate modernisation processes in their own firms – all thanks to a programme which aims to promote foreign trade through the provision of continuing training.

Since 1998, more than 11,000 executives from 18 countries have participated in the Manager Training Programme in Germany, commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) and coordinated by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The purpose of the programme is to promote foreign trade. The numerous executives who participate in the programme undergo four weeks of practical training in Germany to improve their management skills, business manner and negotiating techniques. Through placements in German companies, they learn about work processes, business interests and marketing strategies – and develop solutions for restructuring their own companies.

Economic development through continuing training

In this way, the programme helps to forge business contacts, mainly between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the partner countries and Germany. The participants make contact with three German companies on average and most of them stay in touch through the alumni networks which participants set up.

They thus become partners for German businesses. The alumni act as multipliers by sharing and disseminating their experience, and thus play an important role in their countries’ economic development. Former participant Irina Matskevich heads a company which manufactures building components for low-energy houses in Kazakhstan, with 100 employees. The training and insights into the German market helped her to modernise her own company. ‘We achieved a 70 per cent increase in our turnover in 2010 compared with the previous year and acquired many new customers,’ she says.

The exchange is a two-way process: in 2006, BMWi launched a training programme for German executives in conjunction with the Russian Federation. GIZ prepares them for their placements in Russian companies. For these managers, the programme opens the doors to the Russian market. As of 2012, the programme has been extended to China as well.