Arriving in Germany
As of Monday, September 2, 2019, 14 Ukrainian managers and one manager from Azerbaijan have come to Düsseldorf as part of the manager training programme of GIZ and BMWi. For many of the managers, traveling abroad is part of business and personal life; however, being part of a fellowship and exploring trade and business with Germany as part of a chosen cohort is a novelty for the group. A team of five IMAP tutors will be assisting them during their stay regarding business strategy as well as cooperation with German enterprises. While individual business profiles and motivations to participate in the program vary strongly, the group as a whole has begun the joint journey of getting to know Düsseldorf and local businesses more intentionally.
Starting the program
During the first week, we at IMAP focused on two aspects of the manager training program: Firstly, we built in sessions each day to strengthen the relationship between tutors and managers as well as within the cohort. During the first introduction, for instance, the managers chose three hashtags with which they presented themselves to the group. Business hashtags encompassed #vineyards, #handmade, #petproducts, and #honey. Personal hashtags—just as diverse—included hobbies like #skiing, #musicandwriting and #football. This brief yet effective and humorous introduction resulted in easy conversation starters between participants. Additionally, a simulation session served the incorporation of cultural differences. In groups of three, the roles of German manager, Ukrainian manager as well as observer were distributed. The managers’ task was to get to know one another, express individual interests and come to an agreement of cooperation. The observer was on the lookout for cultural differences, which can help or hinder in the task. Sharing observations in the group, all participants agreed that cultural finesse is a vital part of a manger’s toolkit.
Setting goals for the weeks ahead
All managers have by now set SMART goals for their four weeks here in Düsseldorf. While business development in Ukraine and cooperation with German enterprises lie at the heart of these goals, personal growth is also a focus point for each participant. In order to reach these goals, participants grasp new knowledge during training sessions on various business related topics, explore a variety of small and medium-sized businesses in the Nordrhein-Westfalen business landscape and set up individual meetings with potential cooperation partners. Of course, some managers are farther along than others in their planning, but with the assistance from tutors and cohort members, everyone has a shot at making these four weeks useful and memorable.
If you want to find out more about the program in general, please visit this website.
If you are member of a German business enterprise interested in getting to know the Ukrainian cohort, please contact the IMAP project leader Rimma Kadyrbayeva: firstname.lastname@example.org.