In the early days of the Steinbeis Network in the 1970s, the main focus lay in the state of Baden-Württemberg. Since the 1990s, the network has been expanding on an international scale. As the Single Market was established in the European Union, small and medium-sized enterprises developed a strong interest in collaboration with partners in other parts of Europe. Consequently, the Steinbeis experts started to adapt to the requirements of their customers and turned more to international markets. Initially Steinbeis focused primarily on technology-based business collaboration with companies in the United Kingdom, Italy, and France. Collaborative research projects in Europe handled by Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum play a major role till date in promoting research and innovation within Europe. At present, there are Steinbeis Enterprises in around 20 countries throughout the world. Expanding its footprints globally Steinbeis Enterprises are located in 20 countries across the globe today, covering all the five continents.
With increasing collaborative agreements and consequently the declining demand for support in Europe, Steinbeis identified the opportunity of growing demand for its services in countries outside Europe. To respond to this, Steinbeis set up a network of trusted and reliable collaborative partners beyond the borders of Europe. The partnership commenced with collaboration with the Kobori family in Japan, resulting in the foundation of Steinbeis Japan in 1999.
At the turn of the new millennium, the state of Baden-Württemberg evolved into the number one region for innovation in Europe. Interest grew in this region’s secrets of success, especially among newly industrializing countries (NICs). These were filled with ambition and the prospect of becoming industrialized countries, primarily by placing topics such as SME advancement, innovation, and collaboration between universities and industry on the political agenda.
Experience of its own development as an organization and the model of collaboration with the institutions in its immediate surroundings resulted in Steinbeis establishing a new field of consulting, which revolves around international projects. The majority of these consulting projects are financed through public development funds, on a national and international level. Many of our Steinbeis colleagues have been involved in such projects over the last 15 years, in countries ranging from India to Russia, South Africa, Turkey, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Tunisia, and Indonesia. The most common issues that are faced in these countries are the result of a tendency to focus on top-down approach (also called push approach) and the tendency to equate technology transfer to patent registration.
In 2010, the increasing interest among NICs in topics such as technology transfer, innovation management, SME advancement, and dual education resulted in the foundation of the Steinbeis Transfer Centre Economic and Technology Policy Dialogue. Work at the centre benefits strongly from Steinbeis’ own experience in Baden- Württemberg, the model of best practice, and successful technology and education policy not just in Europe but also throughout the world. This is especially the case when it comes to developing technolog based SMEs in the manufacturing industry, part and parcel of the German approach toward the social market economy. This is based on the principles of subsidiarity, social equality, and environmental responsibility. Technology transfer and innovation consulting revolves around the sometimes conflicting interests of the state, research, academic education, and industry. The aim of our work is to establish an independent market for technology services among small and medium-sized enterprises in each of the countries where we provide our services. Development collaboration projects at our Steinbeis centre always involve a large number of Steinbeis colleagues, who are involved as experts on a project basis. There is strong demand for these specialists due to their practical experience and the desire to see how technology transfer works under the real conditions of an industrial project at local companies. The specialist and practical know-how puts them in a good position to work outside Germany, as do their language and intercultural skills.
The emphasis of this latest edition of TRANSFER magazine lies in our international activities within the Steinbeis Network. I hope you gain plenty of interesting insights and enjoy reading about our international projects and services.
Dipl.-Ing. Jan E. Bandera
Jan E. Bandera is director of two Steinbeis Enterprises: International Technological Cooperation and Economic and Technology- Policy Dialogue. Working in collaboration not only with partners in the Steinbeis Network but also with transfer partners outside Germany, these centres offer consulting and project management services, concentrating on areas like Turkey, India, Latin America, South Africa, Malaysia, and Georgia.
To contact Jan E. Bandera, write to email@example.com.