A social dimension to entrepreneurship

Professor Pleitner Award

2008 the Steinbeis Career Center at Steinbeis University Berlin awarded for the first time the from now on annual awarded Professor Pleitner Award to an MBA student who has shown particular social engagement during his studies, and who has gone beyond the call of duty to help those less fortunate. In 2008, the award was bestowed to Lutz Frischmann, managing director of plastics firm Frischmann Kunststoffe GmbH. For his degree project, he founded a children’s hospice in the Thuringian Forest.

Lutz Frischmann “[…] is the ideal entrepreneur, embodying the true potential of a social market economy,“ praised Hans Jobst Pleitner at the award ceremony in Berlin in November. Turning to Frischmann, he continued: “As long as we can count on people like you, we needn’t worry about the future of our economy and our society – and the local value of entrepreneurship.“

Both a successful entrepreneur and an upstanding citizen, Lutz Frischmann is characterized by his strong social conscience and sense of responsibility. As well as applying his dynamic personality to managing his company, a traditional middle-sized family firm now in its fourth generation, he’s also a local councilor, a lay judge in the local labor court, and an active member of the German Association for Small and Medium-sized Businesses, the “Made in Germany” academy and the Bertelsmann Foundation.

But it was his commitment to the new children’s hospice in the Thuringian Forest that convinced the jury to honor his efforts with the first ever Professor Pleitner Award. The institute is a “life hospice,“ a home for terminally ill children requiring long-term care. Since no public funds are available, Lutz Frischmann set himself the target of raising five million euros to build the centre and cover running costs for the first few years – and he didn’t limit himself to just asking for donations.

Besides the honor of winning the award, Lutz Frischmann also received 2500 euros and a specially commissioned sculpture made of basalt (black) and olivine (green). Materials typical of the island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, where artist Bastian Widera lives and works. The sculpture shows an abstract figure reaching skywards, locked in a protective embrace around a smaller object. Prof. Dr. Hans Jobst Pleitner was named Director of the Swiss Research Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship in 1975. Ten years later, he was appointed Professor for Business Management with special emphasis on SMEs and entrepreneurship at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. After becoming an emeritus professor in 2000, he took up a new role as Professor for Entrepreneurial Management at Steinbeis University Berlin. Throughout his career, Professor Pleitner has focused on working with entrepreneurs and managers in SMEs, dealing with both theory and practice.


Isabel Lindner
Steinbeis University Berlin Steinbeis Career Center (Berlin/Filderstadt)

SEZ becomes partner in Indian-European “European Business and Technology Center”

The European Business and Technology Center (EBTC) promotes research and business ties between Europe and India and is partly funded by the European Commission. Its focus is on environmentally friendly technologies used in the fields of energy, environment, transportation and biotechnology. The services of the center are provided by 17 partners from ten European countries offering a rich pool of expertise. An office in Delhi acts as a local contact point in India. The Steinbeis- Europa-Zentrum (SEZ) is also a partner in the network.

India has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with annual growth rates of somewhere between eight and ten per cent. If the forecasts are anything to go by, India will have grown to become the world’s third largest economy by 2032. It is already an important trading partner to the EU: European products already account for 20 per cent of the Indian market. With more than one billion inhabitants, India is an attractive location for European companies and research bodies.

Despite this, the country poses a variety of difficulties to companies, especially small and medium-sized ones: from the quagmire of bureaucracy to the difficulty of finding suitable local partners. This is where the newly founded center steps in, acting as the main port of call for companies from Europe – especially SMEs – and research institutes looking to start operating in India. With the help of its office in Delhi, the EBTC is promoting European partnerships in India.

The Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum is involved in setting up the center and running services based on years of experience in international technology transfer and the results of its work in the ‘Enterprise Europe Network’. According to Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum’s Heike Fischer, “Especially for Baden-Württemberg’s small and medium-sized companies and research bodies, the EBTC provides an avenue for forging initial contacts with potential partners in India and benefiting from local support. The Steinbeis-Europa- Zentrum provides practical support in entering new markets, even beyond the borders of Europe.” Over recent years, the Steinbeis- Europa-Zentrum has already run a number of partnership projects with India. T

he center places a particular emphasis on environmental issues: as the Indian economy has boomed, the countryside and people have been subjected to severe pollution. The country is a long way off using environmentally friendly technology. This is an opening for companies; for India, it is an opportunity to counteract climate change with the use of new technology.

How the Steinbeis-MBA Alumni Network came into being

The Ivy League universities have been doing it for years: running organizations for ex-students to keep in touch, forge business relationships, and maintain career momentum. For nearly a year, the GeneralMBA has been following their successful example with its own alumni organization. In the summer of 2007, the School of International Business and Entrepreneurship (SIBE) at Steinbeis University Berlin set up the Alumni GeneralMBA Transfer Institute.

The number of SIBE students and alumni continues to rise rapidly. As past students climb the middle and senior management ranks in Germany, the name Steinbeis University Berlin is becoming a quality endorsement in itself. Which means an alumni portal can play an important role. Rather than list services, the aim of this “digital yearbook” is to allow MBA graduates to shape the platform to match their needs. The project is supported by SMAN, the SteinbeisMBA Alumni Network, that already counts many active alumni among its members. Alongside its social and entertainment value, one of the main aims of SMAN is to enhance commercial use to graduates from a variety of disciplines, areas of expertise, industries, and positions – and the forum helps members pinpoint simple solutions to everyday business problems. Other ideas being worked on include a business register to search for partners, suppliers and service providers, plus a mentoring program for new or current students. Apart from expanding services and encouraging more students to become involved, the network also organizes activities and events. Some examples: the annual university football tournament, discussion forums with leading people from business and politics, and regional evening get-togethers with other people from Steinbeis.

SMAN works on the principle of “for alumni, by alumni” – especially important given the new world of digital networks and the need to be able to trust people. Having all shared the MBA degree experience, this trust is already established – but for a variety of other initiatives to get off the ground, input is needed from alumni to design the website and put it to good use. To support this process and emphasize the exclusivity of the network, a leaf has been taken out of the American book and soon there will be a membership fee. All graduates and students currently studying for a master’s degree are eligible to join the network, after registering at www.steinbeisalumni. de.


Carolin Collmar
School of International Business and Entrepreneurship (SIBE, Berlin/Herrenberg)

Steinbeis recognized for its use of renewable energy

Last October, EUROSOLAR, the European Association for Renewable Energy, awarded its 2008 German Solar Prize in Bonn. The prize was handed over by EUROSOLAR President Hermann Scheer, Alternative Nobel Prize winner. Among the prize winners was Prof. Dr.-Ing. M. Norbert Fisch, Head of the Stuttgart Steinbeis Transfer Center for Energy, Building and Solar Engineering.

The ceremonial speech was held by Ronald Feisel, chief editor at public broadcaster WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk). One of his key points was the example all prize winners provide to others in shifting energy use away from fossil fuels and nuclear energy toward renewable energy. “The fact that this is not only possible but is actually already happening has not just been proved by these award winners, but also by the huge number of applications – people who also found classic and original ways to achieve the energy turnabout,” said EUROSOLAR President Hermann Scheer at the award ceremony. Norbert Fisch attracted particular praise for setting up solar settlements with long-term thermal storage and planning and introducing energy supply systems for housing estates. According to the jury, Fisch’s research and his initiatives in a variety of solar construction areas have significantly aided the shift towards carbon-neutral energy supply systems for buildings and housing estates.

Norbert Fisch started looking into the use of solar energy in buildings as early as 1984, during his doctorate at Stuttgart University. His commitment to the use of renewable energy in building construction has been unbroken ever since. Until 1996, Fisch was the head of department for the Rational Use of Energy and Solar Technology at the Institute for Thermodynamics and Thermal Engineering at Stuttgart University. He was later appointed by the TU (Technical University) in Braunschweig, where he still works today as director in the faculty of architecture at the Institute of Building Services and Energy Design.

Steinbeis Consulting Centers launch updated website

The website of the Steinbeis Consulting Centers (SCC) – spanning a variety of advice centers with an emphasis on business consulting services – has been sporting a new design since October 2008.

The previous website was due for an overhaul – today, the site features all-new programming, content, and navigation. Every element now fits closely with the corporate design of the overall Steinbeis website. The new site – – appeals more to clients, partners and consultants, providing a quicker overview of the services each center offers.

Users can now locate information on individual consulting centers and the SBZ consulting portfolio much more easily. Within a few clicks, you can identify the right specialist consultant with experience in certain industries or a certain consulting field. Apart from information on the centers, visitors can find plenty of details about the services provided through the umbrella organization, such as consultant support in the form of business coaching, short consulting sessions, and Steinbeis Certified Consultant certification – a quality award for qualified professionals. The website also provides access to official forms and documents.


Steinbeis Beratungszentren GmbH (Stuttgart)

Degree in Education Management launched

In the small Black Forest spa-town Bad Duerrheim a new era began in October 2008 with twelve students: By now, unlike other European countries kindergarten teachers in Germany do not need any university degree to be allowed to work with children and youths. In partnership with Steinbeis University Berlin and supported by Permira (Private Equity) the Institute for Pedagogic Management (IfPM) wants to clearly raise this standard in education by offering a part-time undergraduate program for pedagogues without A-level, but with work experience. The students will graduate with a “Bachelor of Business Administration” after three years.

Annette Schavan, Federal Minister for Education and Research, is the patron of the Institute for Pedagogic Management (IfPM). Markus Seidel, the institute’s director, explains its background: “We set up the institute for experienced teachers who want to prepare themselves for future professional challenges by studying ‘Pedagogic Management’ at university level.“ The new degree is one of many offered by Steinbeis University Berlin, allowing people to study alongside their job. The ‘Pedagogic Management’ course accepts students with sufficient job experience, even if they lack a traditional university entrance qualification. The degree covers a range of areas, including educational science, management and communication skills.

At the opening, the scientific director of the IfPM, Professor Dr. Volker Reinhardt, announced a master’s degree course to follow the three-year bachelor’s degree. The students – not all from Black Forest and some from as far away as Cologne and Munich – were happy to be welcomed as a part of this course. The next course group will start next autumn, Markus Seidel announced: “We’ve already had initial enquiries.”


Steinbeis Transfer Institute for Education Management (IfPM) (Berlin/Bad Dürrheim)

Share this page