When the going gets tough, you need the right skills, and an ability to adapt. You also need plenty of support. The state is already offering companies 160 million Euros to train staff currently working “short time” – as long as the instructors have AZWV certification issued by the Federal Ministry of Economy and Employment. The TQU Akademie GmbH does – in fact 96 of its courses are AZWV-certified.
Business and managers are currently under a great deal of pressure to “think solution” in order to overcome the challenges posed by plummeting orders and turnover. Change is a must. Companies have to gear themselves to new market conditions, motivate staff and engender loyalty to the company – even if wages are dipping and lots of people are on short time.
One useful tool: state support, in the form of training. Since February 2009, AZWV support – in the form of a up to 80% subsidy – has been available for all staff on short time. The WeGebAU program, funds courses for workers who have had no training for four years and have not been in state education during this time. It’s a classic training voucher, available to the unemployed or people under threat of unemployment.
Almost all courses offered by the TQU Akademie are now AZWV-certified. It was a highly complex process gaining certification, but having ISO 9000 certification since 1993 and previous AZWV accreditation helped. The approved seminars meet the quality, curriculum, method and duration standards required for the courses.
Out of the 160 million euros made available for courses, according to the Federal Employment Agency only 6.5 million euros has been used until now. The reason for this is clear: negotiating your way through the labyrinth of funding programs is a laborious task. Many providers fall foul at the first hurdle when trying to fulfill subsidy conditions. Not only is the system horrendously bureaucratic, you need intimate knowledge of the infrastructure and working methods of public and political bodies. Having already familiarized itself with the system during certification, the TQU Akademie therefore also provides support on such issues to help companies seek funding.
Around 95 per cent of the money made available for training is still waiting to be used, so it is certainly worth arranging an appointment with the Employment Agency. It should not be underestimated what this could do to improve your company’s chances of returning to profitable growth.
Online portals for entrepreneurs provide information on special-interest topics – useful for certain types of entrepreneurs as a supportive companion during start-ups or when taking over a business. Consumer test organization Stiftung Warentest took a close look at 14 start-up portals throughout Germany. Among the front runners: Newcome.de, a website run by the Pforzheimbased Steinbeis Transfer Center for Business Development by order of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Entrepreneurs and recently appointed CEOs will find a wealth of regional content and services on the Baden-Württemberg portal, covering a diversity of industries, special interests and audiences. Newcome.de is thus becoming a pivotal point of online interest for the target group, not only because it provides timely and independent advice on start-ups and management succession, it is also an excellent point of reference.
The quality of the content on the website received particular praise from Stiftung Warentest, notching up the highest possible score for its “exemplary support for startups, comprehensive coverage of current issues, and excellent content”.
The website offers much more than conventional editorial content. For instance there is current news, a regional events calendar, new project lists, useful addresses, and other interesting media such as vodcasts, podcasts, downloads, and an online poll for “entrepreneur of the month”. Newcome.de was also the only website in the review with an example of Web 2.0 solutions in the form of a entrepreneurs’ wiki, a fountain of knowledge pool that can even be topped up by users.
The “from entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs” network officially went live in late 2001. Since then, it has become a flagship for all entrepreneurial and management succession activity, in a state already known as a hotbed of German start-ups.
On 1 June 2009, the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Economics appointed the Steinbeis-Europa- Zentrum (SEZ) as a regional advisory body for the European INTERREG programs of the European Territorial Cooperation
As part of the project, the SEZ will advise and supervise prospective applicants, and update expert audiences on INTERREG issues in Baden-Württemberg. One of the Ministry of Economics’ aims is to make EU grants more accessible to companies, local authorities, towns and cities, regional development sponsors, universities and research institutes. The focus of the INTERREG programs:
A central priority of SEZ on all of the programs is the fostering of innovation. Innovation projects can relate to anything from setting up and expanding science and technology networks, to enhancing regional research, technology development, and innovation capacity. “Innovation” is also pivotal to fostering development in three other key areas – sustainable transportation and ICT solutions, environmental protection and energy efficiency – as well as stronger cities and regions.