On May 3, 2011, Germany’s president Christian Wulff took time out of his state visit to Mexico to attend the signing of the agreement that officially founds Steinbeis Mexico. With its Neo-Mudéjar architecture, the famous theater in the colonial-era city of Guanajuato was the perfect backdrop for the signing. The founding of the Steinbeis technology network in Mexico is a first for the German international technology and business partnership.
The signatures on the declaration of association are the result of a wide-ranging process of building consensus – and building on existing foundations. It all started when Wolfgang Wolf (State Association of Baden-Württemberg Industry, or LVI), Jan Bandera (Steinbeis), Joachim Elsässer (LVI) and Günther Schmid (Baden-Württemberg Ministry for Economic Affairs) went to Mexico on a fact-finding mission sponsored by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation to explore the possibility of a business and technological partnership.
Encouraged by the LVI and with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a delegation of top-ranking business representatives was assembled in November 2010 and flew to Germany. At a ceremony on November 11, the Federation of German Industries (BDI) saw the German BDI and LDI representatives sign an agreement with Mexican representatives of COPARMEX and USEM, two business and economic associations. Besides fostering bilateral collaboration between companies and business clusters, the partnership focuses on strengthening ties between technology, business and education. This particular aim prompted the Steinbeis Foundation, LVI and COPARMEX to sign a secondary agreement parallel to the main one.
The initiative is already bearing fruit. As part of their planning workshop, the Mexican technology council CONACYT commissioned the Steinbeis Foundation to evaluate ways of applying Steinbeis experience and structures to the situation in Mexico. Mexican business associations are particularly eager to embrace the Steinbeis model, so it makes sense that they are the co-founders of Steinbeis Mexico along with three German partners: Steinbeis, LVI and the German Chamber of Commerce for Mexico.
The Steinbeis Network in Mexico will be responsible for: