Innovation and Cooperation
For more than 50 years the label "Made in Germany" has been standing for highest quality and reliability worldwide. The most important building block of this success story are medium-sized companies with approximately six million companies and 40 million employees. They are the drivers of the German economy and have a decisive influence on the corporate landscape in Germany. Four out of five trainees come from the SME sector, which includes not only manufacturing industrial companies but also the self-employed and craft businesses. Despite their regional ties, German SMEs are world market leaders in many sectors as well as niche markets and, as hidden champions, often make a significant contribution to the economic success of Germany as an export nation.
However, the current economic strength of small and medium-sized businesses at home and abroad can by no means be taken for granted. Securing competitiveness in the coming years and decades requires continuous and targeted further development of small and medium-sized enterprises, particularly through innovative products and processes as well as new business models. Many SMEs rely on the strength of national and international company and research networks to meet current challenges such as digitisation, globalisation and the increasing shortage of skilled workers by actively transferring knowledge and tapping synergies through cooperation with companies and research institutions.
We support small and medium-sized companies in their efforts to implement innovative ideas and put them into practice. In doing so, we advise companies on suitable federal or state funding measures, support the federal ministries in organising and implementing appropriate funding programmes and analyse the effects on the economy and society. We focus in particular on national and international innovation networks and clusters as well as cooperation projects between companies and research institutions with the aim of product or process innovation and the development of new, also non-technical, business models.