Integrated Company Report 2018

How managers acquire new experience and develop ideas for their own business through contacts with German companies.

Elizabeth Rosado from Mexico never actually intended to become a businesswoman. After completing her degree in anthropology, she initially pursued a different career path. She had no idea back then that she would end up taking over the family business – and that she would really love it.

Now in her mid-30s, Rosado runs a flourishing small business called Tropical Honey, which produces both honey and other natural products. And her Yucatán honey can now be found not just in Mexican homes but also on German breakfast tables. Rosado’s success is primarily down to her tireless efforts and enthusiasm but also to some very useful training she received in Germany.

Over many years, she has invested a great deal of time in developing and maintaining her business skills, including through a range of continuing training courses in management. ‘It is important to me always to be up to date and to keep improving my skills,’ she says. ‘I want to have the best strategy for running my company.’

Taking home valuable experience

Among the training courses Rosado has taken is a programme run in Germany for foreign managers. She made a lot of new contacts and also took some invaluable tips and ideas back home to Mexico with her. She was, she says, so impressed by how systematic German business practice is that she commissioned some new software to enable her to optimise her business processes and to plan and manage purchasing and sales better. ‘The programme inspired me to be more organised,’ she recalls.

Rosado and thousands of other managers from around the globe have benefited from seeing Germany’s business world up close. More than 13,000 people have now taken part in the Manager Training Programme run by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), which has given them valuable experience that they can apply to their own business.

More than 20 years of exchange

The programme was launched in 1998 with Russia as its first partner country. It now includes 19 countries, the most recent addition being Chile. The objective is to facilitate access by foreign companies to German markets and by German companies to foreign markets, with both sides benefiting equally. GIZ coordinates the programme on behalf of BMWi.

Managers from abroad spend four weeks in Germany improving their management skills, enhancing their presence in the business world, refining their negotiation techniques and learning about German business practice. The know-how they acquire enables them to make their own companies more competitive and to be attractive and reliable trading partners for Germany and in the global economy. Contacts with alumni associations also enable them to build long-term relationships and economic cooperation arrangements.

Widening horizons around the globe

And visits are no longer one-way traffic, as was the case when the programme began. German managers are now also heading abroad as part of the programme. There are long-standing exchange arrangements with China and Russia, and since 2017, German managers have had the chance to visit Mexico to get to know local business representatives and broaden their horizons. Whichever direction entrepreneurs are travelling in, though, they all report finding the programme rewarding and valuable.

Elizabeth Rosado has used the new software and other innovations inspired by her trip to Germany to increase her workforce. She now employs 20 people, a 50 per cent increase. She has also been able to boost sales of her natural products from Mexico by 30 per cent. Rosado is now a fully fledged businesswoman, and her enthusiasm for continuing to learn is a major driving factor. She has really made the most of her experiences in Germany and the people she met there.