The story behind the Steinbeis Foundation
Steinbeis today spans a worldwide network dedicated to the transfer of knowledge and technology. Our founding father also lent us his name: Ferdinand von Steinbeis, establishing the Steinbeis Foundation back in the 19th century. It was his commitment to economic development that attracted the rewards of industry, which in turn went into creating the first Steinbeis Foundation in 1868. Its aim: to foster the vocational training of young people.
The original foundation was dissolved during the 1923 German inflation crisis. It was reinstituted in 1971 as a non-profit organization constituted under civil law (“Stiftung bürgerlichen Rechts”). Its aim was to promote the interests of small and medium-size enterprises in the German State of Baden-Württemberg through what it called “Technical consulting services” at state universities. These universities acted as key points of contact for small and medium-size companies.
The Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg, Lothar Späth, appoints Johann Löhn (born in 1936) as the first Government Commissioner for Technology Transfer. At the same time Löhn assumes responsibility as Chairman of the Steinbeis Foundation Board. The foundation expands rapidly as Löhn forges ahead with the establishment of “Transfer Centers“ based at universities of applied science throughout Baden-Württemberg. The aim was to provide customers with advice and support on specific projects. Today these Centers are based at all types of universities and a variety of research organizations.
A separate operating unit – Steinbeis GmbH & Co. KG für Technologietransfer – is established to focus on the rapidly expanding area of business. Also in 1998, the Steinbeis University Berlin is founded. Its president since that time: Johann Löhn.
In 2004, Johann Löhn handed the chair of the Board of Directors over. The new Board of Directors, now made up exclusively of full-time members, also manages the Steinbeis-Stiftung and the Steinbeis GmbH & Co. KG für Technologietransfer.
The Steinbeis Beratungszentren GmbH and the Steinbeis Forschungs- und Innovationszentren GmbH, both founded in 2005 , consolidate our expertise in consulting and coaching with market and transferoriented research and development.
In 2008, Steinbeis looked back on the past 25 years since Johann Löhn restructured the Steinbeis-Stiftung. Also, Steinbeis University Berlin coped well with the challenges of its first ten years.
40 years have passed since the Steinbeis-Stiftung has been re-founded in 1971. Steinbeis Enterprises in the Steinbeis network number more than 800 all over the world. Today, about 5,000 people in employement are enrolled in SHB.
Detailed information on Steinbeis history and development you can find in “Steinbeis 1983–2008” (Steinbeis Edition, Stuttgart 2008).