Press Release
2012-2-7

Rösler invites innovative SMEs to growth dialogue

Federal Minister of Economics and Technology Dr. Philipp Rösler has invited representatives of innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and their associations to a growth dialogue in the Federal Ministry of Economics entitled "Innovative SMEs".

Federal Minister Rösler said: "Innovative SMEs are essential for Germany's high level of competitiveness. Our German small and medium-sized businesses, which are known by the term "German Mittelstand" and appreciated worldwide, belong to the most innovative enterprises in Europe. We must not, however, rest on these laurels; rather, we must continue working on improving the framework conditions for research, development and innovation. This includes securing the availability of skilled workers and guaranteeing research infrastructures for the future. For this purpose, we intend to promote, for example, the modernisation of the Collective Research Programme (IGF) together with industry and strengthen the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM), which is a successful flagship in the field of the promotion of innovation. We held a constructive dialogue on the resulting challenges and opportunities for SMEs and discussed measures to improve the framework conditions."

In Germany SMEs are the key drivers of innovation and technologies. More than 30,000 businesses doing research and 110,000 innovative small and medium-sized enterprises regularly place new products and procedures on the markets. They are an important pillar of Germany's economic success. The participants of the growth dialogue regarded the shortage of skilled labour in many technical professions as the greatest challenge and called for enhanced efforts to attract qualified staff from abroad.

The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology intends to incorporate the area of promoting the formation of networks in the field of promoting business cooperation within the framework of the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM) and to open the Innovation Programme to larger businesses with up to 500 employees.