Initiated in 1997 by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy the Manager Training Programme has brought more than 13,000 business owners and executives from 19 countries to Germany. Ever since, international delegations have met thousands of companies from various sectors, received intercultural manager and leadership training programmes and built business relationships, in particular with German small and medium sized enterprises. As its newest participant and second country from Latin America, Chile joined the programme in 2017.
Coordinated by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, 22 Chilean participants were selected from different sectors, such as IT, machinery, logistics and food industry for the four-week programme.
Following the introduction of the programme in Santiago de Chile in April by IMAP and some intense weeks of preparation, all participants were welcomed by IMAP and GIZ on Tuesday, 14th of May in Düsseldorf. Founder and CEO of IMAP, Bülent Arslan, emphasised the relevance of the programme particularly for executives: “In my experience, dealing with challenges and changes within a company as a manager succeeds when dealing with these processes as an idea of collective learning. Thus, managers become organisers of the learning process for their entire company. In order to equip you for the future, we have organised several training courses and business visits to maximize the learning impact within the next four weeks.” During the discussion, participants shared their observations of German business culture, challenges as well as intermediary achievements. Resulting from research and initial contacting of companies beforehand, participants had arranged for 40 individual meetings and identified more than 80 further potential contacts for the upcoming weeks to establish own business relationships.
In the afternoon the delegation was invited for an official reception at the Ministry of Economics, Innovation, Digitisation and Energy of North-Rhine Westphalia. Welcomed by the head of the Location Marketing and Development Department as well as a representative of NRW.INVEST, the meeting highlighted the importance and attractiveness of the region as a business hub as well as the potential for an extension of foreign trade with South America. Closing with a cultural programme through the city of Dusseldorf including a river cruise, a city tour and a typical local dinner with Alt beer, the participants received a warm welcome to the region.
On Wednesday the group had the opportunity to meet representatives of the City of Dusseldorf and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. During the meeting the participants received more information on Dusseldorf as a business location for investment and discuss questions related to legal implications of the Chile-EU Association Agreement, international commercial terms in business contracts with German companies and tax related questions, examples for import, export and distributorship contracts as well as instruments to promote local economic development.
The first company visit at the Go-On Group, a sales counselling company in Düsseldorf, focused on challenges related to the internationalisation of companies and potential solutions through an effective international project management.
On Thursday and Friday, Mr. Thomas Starke (Concept and Sales) who has worked with Chilean participants of the programme before, provided a training on the principles of the German economy and business culture as well as searching for business partners. While communicating with German businesses, Starke recommended accentuating the positive development of the Chilean economy and Chile as a doorway to Latin America. The second training day focused on cross-cultural management, the differences between Chilean and German communication as well as potential challenges occurring from intercultural communication. For Starke, the programme provides an advantage for all sides: “The interest in building long-term business relationships and the investment is obviously an added value of the programme. On the other side, joining this trip is a huge learning experience not just through training but also through the communication with companies to get a deeper understanding of the German market.”
Carolina Espinoza, export manager of Agricola Los Orgones SPA, says about the programme: “I applied because I wanted to learn more about the German way of doing business and transfer it to my company. It’s such an interesting programme and a lot to take in. It’s challenging to choose which subjects are the most important for me and which meetings I have to miss while meeting potential business partners. But once the work is done, we can enjoy ourselves in the city. Düsseldorf seems to be a lot more quiet than our cities and I like it here.”
The second week will provide input on innovation management, corporate management, quality management, international negotiations, corporate communication, marketing, and logistics.