Innovation for SMEs

Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum awarded prize by innovation network

The 600 international partners of the world’s most extensive technology network, Enterprise Europe Network, have voted an innovation analysis of small and medium-sized enterprises, which was developed by Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (SEZ), the winner of the 2013 Best Practice Awards in the category for technology auditing. The SEZ received the award at the network’s annual conference, which took place in Vilnius last October.

The SEZ innovation analysis is an opportunity for companies to collaborate with innovation consultants at the Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum in order to gain a closer understanding of their own position, as well as to plan and extend their own strategic potential to innovate on the European stage. The service also goes beyond the initial analysis in a joint process to define goals and key actions. The customer receives important information on new technology and developments, which is not only useful for the company’s competitiveness, but also for any technology or strategy partners inside or outside Europe.

“Our approach has proven itself over the years and has been updated regularly. It provides companies with a process for setting innovation in motion with an eye on the ultimate goal,” explains Dr. Petra Püchner, managing director of the Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum in Stuttgart. The SEZ experts have carried out around 400 audits. The European Commission and the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Finance and Economy make it possible for small and medium-sized enterprises in the state to make use of the innovation service at no extra cost.

During the innovation audit, the SEZ experts examine the research potential of the company with the client and identify strengths and weaknesses. Together, the two parties assess key technologies in the market and potential innovation projects. The underlying method is a combination of strategic planning, an analysis of requirements, goals and resources, a search for collaboration and funding partners, and support with project development and management.


Dr. Petra Püchner
Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (Stuttgart/Karlsruhe)

UNESCO award for sustainable education

Steinbeis project honored for sustainability

The German UNESCO Commission has honored the Energy Efficiency in Logistics plan developed by the Logistics and Sustainability Innovation Center in Sinsheim as part of a project under the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. The award is bestowed to initiatives that exemplify the principles of the United Nations’ worldwide education drive by imparting sustainable thought and action.

Jens-Jochen Roth, who is director of the Sinsheim-based Steinbeis Innovation Center, provides an impressive indication of the shape of education to come with his Energy Efficiency in Logistics concept. The jury of the UNESCO award praised the project for, “demonstrating in an understandable manner how people act sustainably,” explains Prof. Dr. Gerhard de Haan, chairman of the German committee and the jury of the UN Decade in Germany.

The now award-winning project revolves primarily around measures that support trainees, instructors and teaching staff in their efforts to achieve sustainable development by improving energy efficiency in the transportation and logistics industry. Implementation plans should focus closely on the aspects of sustainability (economy, ecology, social factors). The aim should be to promote the concepts of sustainable thought and action in such a way that key players are put in a position to make decisions regarding the future and to understand the impact of personal actions on future generations. Key players thus discover the consequences of their actions – not just for themselves and things immediately around them, but also others. The German Federal Foundation for the Environment (DBU) in Osnabrück is backing the initiative, which runs until January 2015.

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