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Dear Readers,

Medium-sized companies are a key element of the German economy. According to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, they account for around 61% of total net value creation. This makes the German Mittelstand crucial for stability and progress. Small and medium-sized enterprises currently face major challenges, however. These include the skilled worker shortages, the energy revolution, climate change, and digital transformation.

Technological innovations revolving around products and processes are a key factor in this, and at the same time they’re an opportunity not just to master new tasks and challenges, but also to move forward as an economy and thus fuel long-term corporate success. The Mittelstand needs product and technological innovation to safeguard future competitiveness!

It’s particularly difficult for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to bring their innovations to market, be they new products, technologies, or services. They often lack the resources to conduct research and thus drive innovation within the company in parallel to daily business. Innovation – which is generally difficult to gauge in terms of financial implications – competes with the achievement of economic goals.

Last but not least, in Germany a variety of bureaucratic obstacles stand in the way of innovative endeavor. Innovation oftens fails for legal reasons, because hand in hand with normative and statutory restrictions, launching innovative products and technologies is extremely complex – and not something Mittelstand firms can always manage by themselves. This is where SMEs need support through knowledge sharing and technology transfer – innovation through collaboration! This should focus on digital transformation, sustainability, and technology, and this can bolster the innovative power of German SMEs in the long term. Knowledge-sharing builds lasting bridges that span from development and science into business practice – specifically at SMEs – in order to secure the success of business enterprises through innovation.

FiberCrete, a Steinbeis Innovation Center, focuses on the development of sustainable building materials and composites, as well as resource- and energy-efficient technologies used in the construction industry, offering comprehensive support from initial concepts to actual implementation. Accompanying SMEs from research to demonstration units, including front-line use on buildings, offers construction companies the opportunity to outsource innovation processes – in part or in full – and thus successfully position and establish innovations on the market, entailing risk that is entirely manageable. This secures decisive competitive advantage. How this works in practice is explained in our article on functionally integrated carbon concrete furniture (https://transfermagazin.steinbeis.de/?p=13907&lang=en).

The articles in this issue of TRANSFER magazine look at innovative technologies from the German Mittelstand from a number of perspectives, offering a variety of exciting new insights. We wish you interesting reading!

With kind regards,
Sandra Gelbrich


Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Sandra Gelbrich (author)

Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Sandra Gelbrich is a Steinbeis Entrepreneur and is responsible for the Steinbeis Research Center BetoTex and the Steinbeis Innovation Center FiberCrete (FC), with which she received the Steinbeis Foundation Transfer Award – the Löhn Award in 2019. Both enterprises develop and optimize construction materials and building products. Their focus lies in new fiber- and textile-reinforced building materials, composites, and technologies used in their production.

www.steinbeis.de/en/su/1612 | www.fibercrete.de
www.steinbeis.de/en/su/2006 | www.fibercrete.de/SFZ-BetoTex/