Partnering in Business with Germany, formerly known as the Manager Training Programme, is a programme developed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action and designed to foster international b2b cooperation. For 25 years, this tool for promoting foreign trade and investment has brought together decision-makers from business for long-term crossborder economic cooperation.

The goal of Partnering in Business with Germany is to initiate business between medium-sized companies from developing and emerging countries and Germany.

The programme now offers new sectorspecific cooperation formats, also for certain fields such as energy efficiency in the industrial sector, renewables, the circular economy, Industrie 4.0, smart farming and the food industry, healthcare, construction and textiles. In this way, the programme plays its part in decarbonisation and climate action, the supply with raw materials and energy, and the diversification of supply chains.

Speaking at the expert conference at which the newly reoriented programme was launched on 25 and 26 October 2023, Federal Minister Habeck said: “The newly reoriented programme targets companies that want to become more broad-based and resilient through diversification and also companies that have so far had little experience with foreign markets and now want to internationalise. What seems most important to me, however, are the personal contacts fostered by the programme between managers from different countries. Across the globe, company networks are known for their economic rationality and for their good sense in political matters”.

As an instrument of Germany’s promotion of foreign trade an investment, the programme brings together decision-makers from businesses in Germany and abroad for long-term cross-border economic cooperation. Partnering in Business with Germany is guided by the needs of German business and open to all SMEs from all industries and sectors, and for all types of cooperation. Since the beginning of the war on Ukraine, a special programme for Ukraine has been in force to support the country through flexible instant measures and a direct and needs-based Special Programme for Ukraine.

Every year, the programme in its previous format saw some 1,000 business executives from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe prepare for entering the German market and foster individual B2B contacts with German companies interested in accessing markets outside Germany.

Over time, this has resulted in long-term business relations and the formation of a global network of internationalised SMEs. Following its reorientation, the programme can now build on this further.

The idea behind the programme

Anyone who wants to be successful on a foreign market needs not only a good product, but also knowledge of their target market, an acceptable level of financial risks and reliable local business partners. Differences in business culture and in the business environment often stand in the way of economic cooperation and long-term success. Partnering in Business with Germany addresses these challenges by

  • imparting skills required for international business relations. Potential foreign business partners can ‘shape up’ in preparation for cooperation with Germany.
  • supporting business initiation with German companies. The work to access the market begins right on business premises in Germany.
  • offering access to markets that are not necessarily in the focus of Ger-man SMEs, where the business environment might be difficult or that merely have yet to be developed by German companies. The services provided under the programme reduce risks and transaction costs for German companies.
  • fostering the establishment of networks in the partner countries. This lays the foundation for a global network of businesses with Germany at its centre; a network that will remain and be available for German SMEs and their long-term foreign trade and investment activities.

Partnering in Business with Germany opens up potential for scaling up business: thanks to a highly standardised approach that has proven itself over many years, the approach can easily be extended to other countries – all depending on the Ministry’s regional focus. In the interest of diversifying Germany’s foreign trade and investment relations, the idea is to find new partner countries across the globe.

The programme is implemented by GIZ, which works closely with government offices in the target countries. Together they are responsible for marketing the programme on the ground, for identifying companies for participation in the programme and for preparing them for it.