It’s been 25 years since Hermann Schaufler, the former Minister of Finance and Economics of the State Baden-Württemberg, decided more money from the European Union should be channeled into small and medium-sized enterprises – the famous German Mittelstand. So he set up a department for a Commissioner for Europe and established a link between its office, the Steinbeis-Europa- Zentrum (SEZ), and the Steinbeis Foundation for Economic Development. Managed by three Commissioners for Europe – Prof. Dr. Hans J. Tümmers, Prof. Dr. Peter S. Niess, and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. h.c. Norbert Höptner – the SEZ has undergone successful development and this year it looks back on a quarter of century as an organization.
As an institution of the state of Baden-Württemberg, SEZ acts as a lynchpin between business, science, and academia in all fields of technology across Europe. Its focus lies in involvement in research and innovation programs in order to foster innovation in the state. SEZ supports SMEs, research organisations, universities, and public bodies in Baden- Württemberg, providing support preparing for and conducting European research projects, activities related to technology transfer, and networking.
It now employs over 50 people to work on behalf of companies, researchers, and politicians in Baden-Württemberg. Their core task it to help SMEs involved in European innovation projects and EU funding programs, a role that has not changed over the years. SEZ also helps companies with innovation management and internationalization strategies. Seventy-five percent of the funds that SEZ lines up are acquired directly from EU projects. Around 25% of funding comes from state coffers. For consultations given to SMEs, especially if they involve SME instruments related to the Horizon 2020 EU framework program for research, support comes from the Ministry of Finance and Economics; for universities of applied sciences, support comes from the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts.
SEZ has been a partner of the European Consulting Network since 1993 and since 2008 it has been part of the Enterprise Europe Network alongside roughly 600 organisations in over 50 countries. This network helps SMEs bolster their competitiveness and potential to innovate in Europe. To mark its anniversary year, the SEZ has issued a brochure featuring 25 shining examples of European collaboration. Titled “25 cooperations from Baden-Württemberg - Researchers and Entrepreneurs succesful in Europe,” the publication contains good practices of the Enterprise Europe Network. The brochure in German and English language is available online.
Companies are defi ned by the people who work there, individuals with their own personal goals, needs, and motives. Every individual has contributions to make at work each day, based on their talents, abilities, and commitment, bringing socio-psychological and industrial- psychological benefi t to others. It is not always possible to avoid personal and commercial confl ict during such interactions. The Steinbeis Transfer Center for Economical Psychology has now set up an industrial psychology website for managers working at companies and people working at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to explore issues relating to business psychology.
The website features a character called Naetty who draws on an expert team of intercultural and international experts with experience in consulting on business psychology and social psychology matters, as well as international corporate management. The Naetty team helps with issues relating to leadership, business confl ict, stress, burnout, anxiety, and occupational health care. The experts examine correlations and suggest training strategies.
The aim with Naetty is to provide a fi rst port of call for issues relating to business psychology stemming not only from individual and personal times of crisis, but also from issues encountered in teams, which potentially result from tension or workplace bullying. Personal problems, emergencies, and help issues can disrupt business and even bring it to a halt, so it makes sense and is often necessary to draw on psychological support.
Prof. Marieluise Salman
Steinbeis Transfer Center Economical Psychology (Ludwigsburg)
The Natural and Medical Sciences Institute (NMI), a research institute at Tübingen University and member of the Innovation Alliance Baden-Württemberg, is involved in application-oriented research at the interface between the life sciences and material sciences. Its services are delivered through NMI Technologie Transfer GmbH (NMI TT), supporting all kinds of innovation activities from initial developments to product launches by drawing on suitable technology offerings and services. After many years of close collaboration between the NMI and Steinbeis, Steinbeis is now becoming a shareholder of NMI TT.
At the NMI, an interdisciplinary team of scientists works on accessing and developing emerging technology on behalf of companies and public research sponsors in the areas of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, biomedical technology, and surface and materials technology.
To expand the services offered by the NMI, a wholly owned subsidiary was set up in 2002 under the name NMI TT GmbH. This company currently spans three divisions: pharmaceutical services, a testing laboratory for medical products, and microsystems. The institute draws on know-how gained through its research projects in order to develop services for local and international clients in industry.
The alliance between the NMI and Steinbeis is built on a common desire to work in partnership and exploit specifi c experiences and synergies in order to generate the desired added value. As part of this collaboration, support will be given to investments made by NMI TT GmbH into the expansion of its NMI TT pharmaceutical services division, which set up a new subsidiary at the beginning of this year in the CoLaborator complex on the Bayer HealthCare campus in Berlin. This involved an investment in new lab equipment, technical infrastructure, and staff at the new unit in Berlin, whose aim is to keep raising the professional profi le of NMI TT as a respected international service provider. The move will also help expand NMI TT activities aimed at pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients.
Steinbeis will also support NMI TT with its experience, skills, and instruments in the fi eld of knowledge and technology transfer.
The Baden-Württemberg Competence Prize for Innovation and Quality will be awarded for the ninth time in 2016. The award goes back to 2008, when its initiators – the Steinbeis Enterprise TQU Business GmbH and the trade show company P. E. Schall GmbH & Co. KG – started recognizing companies for successfully overcoming the exciting challenges that come with dovetailing innovation with quality.
Despite many hurdles and obstacles, it is no coincidence that more and more companies enter the competition each year. “This proves once again that the Baden-Württemberg Competence Prize for Innovation and Quality has not just fi rmly established itself, it has become one of the most important honors of outstanding entrepreneurial contributions to business in the state,” explains Helmut Bayer, CEO of the TQU Group and co-initiator of the award.
The Baden-Württemberg Competence Prize for Innovation and Quality honors entrepreneurs, companies, and other establishments in the state of Baden-Württemberg for their outstanding ability to bridge sometimes challenging gaps between innovation and quality within their fi eld of business, resulting in measurable and sustained business success. To ascertain whether these criteria have been fulfi lled, a jury consisting of selected experts go through submissions and documents on-site at the businesses.
Applications for the 2016 Baden-Württemberg Competence Prize can be requested since September 2015 and submissions must be fi nalized by February 8, 2016. As is tradition, the award ceremony will take place at the International Control trade show in Stuttgart on April 26, 2016. The prize is sponsored by Steinbeis and is awarded in cooperation with the Südwestmetall Employers Association, the Association of Industry in Baden-Württemberg (LVI), and the Association of the Chemical Industry (VCI).