International congress of VIU and BMWi in Berlin

VIU chairman Dr.-Ing. Ralf-Uwe Bauer, BMWi representatives Dr. Ole Janssen and Claus Bueren, Viktoria Cvetković, Gabriele Seitz and Dr. Petra Oberhagemann (f.l.t.r.)

On 20 November 2017, the Association of Innovative Companies (Verband Innovativer Unternehmen e.V., in short: VIU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) invited to a joint congress in Berlin featuring the motto “With innovations on international markets – SME promotion opens doors to the world”.

An increasing international focus is important for SMEs

Internationalisation is the key to high innovative and economical strength. Dr. Ole Janssen, Deputy Director General from the Innovation Policy Department of the BMWi, emphasised the importance of international cooperation for SMEs who, in times of globalisation, are facing growing competition with multicorporate enterprises. As the BMWi strongly supports international cooperation activities of SMEs, Mr. Janssen referred to CORNET as a transnational network that brings together SMEs, SME organisations and research institutions from different countries in order to realise joint innovation projects.

CORNET coordinator Viktoria Cvetković

Network coordinator Viktoria Cvetković presented CORNET and its pre-competitive character since the research results are accessible for all SMEs improving their innovative capability. In addition to that, Claus Bueren (BMWi) informed about the market-oriented Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (Zentrales Innovationsprogramm Mittelstand, in short: ZIM) which helps SMEs and their research partners to conquer international markets.

A boost for fast company growth and market-creating innovations is also made possible on EU level: Dr. Petra Oberhagemann from the National Contact Point for SMEs (Nationale Kontaktstelle KMU, in short: NKS KMU) and SME coach Gabriele Seitz from EurA AG introduced the “SME instrument” and underlined its importance in business practice.

The speeches were rounded off by VIU chairman Dr.-Ing. Ralf-Uwe Bauer who showed the extent of the VIU members’ international activities very vividly on a world map.

A colorful bouquet of successful examples for international cooperation activities

Viktoria Cvetković and Dr.-Ing. Petra Franitza from STFI Chemnitz who pitched a successfully running CORNET project

As a highlight of the congress, illustrative examples of international projects were pitched including an EU project about phosphor recycling, a German-US ZIM cooperation project in the field of biotechnology and two German-Flemish CORNET projects in the textile and healthcare sector. The CORNET project “EnCoMed”, for instance, deals with enzymatic functionalisation of collagens for medical applications.

On top of that, German cooperation activities with Pakistan, Russia, El Salvador and Costa Rica were accented. In El Salvador and Costa Rica, technology centres in terms of additive manufacturing are mutually being established.

Several different funding programmes made these international projects and activities possible. Besides the BMWi and the European Commission, the respective funding programmes are provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Pictures: © VIU