Steinbeis opens the door to Russian SMEs

Building a network of partner firms in Russia

To be successful in the Russian market, working with the right partners is everything. Often, though, the only partners available to German SMEs are large Russian firms – which may have very different interests and operating principles. But there is a solution: the Steinbeis Transfer Center for East-West Joint Ventures helps German firms find the perfect partner in Russia.

The Steinbeis Transfer Center for East-West Joint Ventures allows German SMEs to forge ties with over 4000 SMEs and over 450 R&D institutes in Russia. This is thanks the center’s close cooperation with the Russian Agency for SMEs.

Russia is brimming with enticing business opportunities in practically all areas of industry – but almost all business models require a local partner. It’s easy for German SMEs to make contact with large firms – as they still dominate the Russian market. But however globally successful German SMEs may be, even those with years of international experience under their belt can still find it hard to launch partnerships with large Russian firms. Experience has shown that large Russian firms simply don’t take suggested partnerships with German SMEs seriously. So for these SMEs to be successful in Russia, they need to work with companies of a similar size and structure.

Now is a better time than ever: the number of SMEs in Russia is booming, as the Russian government has spearheaded a range of economic development measures aimed at strengthening the SME sector. However, most Russian SMEs have no international presence, making it difficult for German firms to contact them. To help German firms find the perfect partner, the Steinbeis Transfer Center for East-West Joint Ventures has intensified its cooperation with partner agencies in Russia.

The center works closely with the Russian Agency for SMEs. This agency maintains strategic partnerships with other key organizations such as the Russian Technology Transfer Network and the Russian Union of Innovation and Technology Centers. Together, they form Gate2RuBIN – the Gate to Russian Business Innovation Network, a consortium that acts as official coordinator of the Enterprise Europe Network in Russia. Its mission is to encourage partnerships based on technology transfer between companies in Europe and Russia, as well as between companies and R&D institutes.

The Steinbeis Transfer Center for East-West Joint Ventures believes this area is key for German firms to successfully enter the Russian market. The German government also encourages German-Russian R&D partnerships and innovation projects by providing firms with subsidies. Although Russia is not a typical “outsourcing” country in the conventional sense, such as Romania or China, it offers excellent R&D potential and an attractive market for German products, even in times of economic downturn. Not only that, it consistently offers a broad spectrum of partnership opportunities for joint production.

The Steinbeis Transfer Center for East-West Joint Ventures and its partners in Russia do much more than arrange initial contact between firms. They assess potential partners on-site, hammer out and prepare partnerships, and supervise the implementation of projects. Staff at the center are also experts in cultural differences and ready to advise firms in this area.

The network of partner firms in Russia is growing every day. It already includes key regions of the Russian Federation, and will soon include even more. SMEs in both countries recognize the practical benefits of working together beyond borders – to the benefit of all.

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