One of the tasks that the legislator has assigned to the chambers of commerce and industry is that of business promotion. This is to be understood as a first professional help for companies. Important: A chamber of commerce and industry may only ever provide information or initial advice—nothing more. However, discussions with CCI specialists can—and should—serve as a basis for further advice from specialised providers such as management advisory services, tax and law firms. The services provided by the CCI cover the entire life cycle of the company and thus many different areas: from the founding of the company to securing skilled workers and company succession. The chapter begins with an interview explaining the idea of business promotion. A portrait then introduces the Information and Service Centre of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Munich, the first point of contact for all questions concerning the entire range of services offered by the Chamber. Then the chapter takes a look at selected service areas. Finally, it describes the regional offices and the work of the CCI Academy.

The theme of this book, practical wisdom, is particularly evident in this chapter. The services respond to the needs of the companies and are created in close cooperation with the company representatives, but they also take up best-practice examples from the companies and pass them on to the companies that are looking for solutions.

  • Interview with Dr. Manfred Gößl: Promoting business—providing first aid to companies

  • Information and Service Centre—ensuring the best customer experience

  • Start-up consulting—strengthening the region with new companies

  • Entrepreneurial consulting—helping members succeed

  • Legal and tax issues—acting as an initial source of key information for businesses

  • Location consulting—offering a full-service package for commercial space

  • Advice on internationalisation—accompanying you abroad with individual support

  • Succession consulting—teaching the art of letting go

  • Securing skilled employees—arming member companies against the threat of skilled labour shortages

  • Energy, environmental and raw materials consulting—side by side with companies for a sustainable future

  • Delivering on regionalisation—creating competent local offices

  • CCI Academy Munich—promoting business and the economy through education.

Promoting Business—Providing First Aid to Companies

Another legal mandate and a decisive pillar of the CCI’s work is business promotion. In this field, the CCIs provide their members with first aid for all company-related issues in a variety of ways and on an individual basis. An interview with: Dr. Manfred Gößl, Managing Director of the CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria.

Dr. Manfred Gößl, Photo Credit: CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria/Goran Gajanin_Das Kraftbild

figure a

According to Paragraph 1 of the CCI Act, the CCIs must also act to promote the economy. What exactly does the legislator mean by this?

The legislator gives the CCIs the mandate to inform, advise and support regional companies. In short: The CCIs provide “first aid for self-help” by providing a wealth of practical information, advice and events. Our customers are our member companies and those who might become members.

This includes future members, too?

Yes. Of course, we also support people who are considering becoming self-employed, either as a full-time or part-time job. This means they are not yet our members, and they will become members only after they have founded their own business.

What does initial assistance actually look like?

We sound out the most important current and fundamental “must know” topics for companies, summarise them as briefly and comprehensibly as possible and publish them on our homepage, which is accessed many times a day. Furthermore, we offer numerous events for all business cycles—from company foundation to company succession. They serve to provide information as well as to exchange experiences and network. Finally, we provide information and advice that serves the concrete, individual interests of our customers. With our information and advice, we want to enable, advance, support and encourage those seeking advice, to keep them efficient, innovative and, generally, future-proof. The information and initial advice that members receive from us are always neutral, free of charge and without any commercial interest. The CCI is therefore not a consulting company, but in a dual sense, the first point of contact for regional companies.

The fact that the CCIs are obliged to promote business at all and that the support services are also unpriced, is this also a legitimation for compulsory membership and even more so the membership fee?

Yes, we can only provide free advice because the principle of solidarity applies through statutory membership. Through the income from membership fees, from which incidentally over 40 percent of our less profitable members are completely exempt, we can offer the free information and advice service for all those seeking advice while also ensuring neutrality. In this respect, the advice is, in fact, one of several services in return for legally binding membership, a form of added value resulting from compulsory membership.

There are many consultancies, which are also CCI members

…that is exactly why our advice is only a form of initial assistance, a kind of the first-round consultation, because otherwise, we would be competing with those members who run commercial consulting companies. Since our consulting services are free of charge due to the fees, it would lead to a distortion of competition if we went beyond an initial consultation. In addition, in more complex cases, we recommend that additional consulting expertise be sought as part of our initial consultation. We do not make a specific recommendation for a particular advisory or financial partner, as we are not a sales platform and treat all our members equally. We always name several candidates, so that the company seeking advice has the choice.

Either way, the legislator has done well to also commission the CCIs with promoting business?

Yes, a well-thought-out decision! The CCIs are very close to the business community, know the problems and challenges of the companies very well indeed and can therefore also tailor the information and consulting services to the needs of our members. This is also a great advantage in terms of the self-organisation and personal responsibility of the business community, which the CCIs stand for. By drawing on the self-financed expertise of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the business community, first of all, helps itself in a spirit of solidarity.

What topics does the CCI cover in its initial consultations?

Our spectrum is very broad. I have already mentioned advising business start-ups. Other areas include vocational training, securing skilled labour, law and taxes, financing, digitalisation, international, innovation, energy, environment, corporate social responsibility, succession and much more. I would also like to mention the numerous services that we implement on behalf of the state as a Chamber of Commerce and Industry because there is always overlap with business support. Anyone requiring a service, such as an examination or a specific permit or certificate, sometimes needs prior consultation. In a word: the combination of business support and tasks that the state has delegated to the CCIs for execution makes the CCI a one-stop shop for the economy.

How do you know exactly what kind of consulting services companies need? How are the services developed?

Here, it is important to act both proactively and reactively. On the one hand, we have to see what topics will occupy the members in the future. This is often the case when new laws are announced—such as the regulations on the introduction of the Euro at the time or, more recently, the new EU general data protection regulation. At the latest when such new regulations are published, it is foreseeable that our members will turn to us with their questions and need answers. This is anticipated by our experts, who follow the political and legal discussions and are always up to date. But even when there is no current reason to do so, they prepare—often in consultation with the members with whom they have contact—advisory services on topics they consider relevant for the future.

In what formats do you provide advice?

We have many different formats. Our first (and probably most important) contact point for members seeking help is the Information and Service Centre, or “ISZ” in German for short, which we set up in 2001. Seventeen employees at the ISZ already answer half of all enquiries per year in full—no less than 130,000. They do this by telephone, by e-mail, via social media and also in face-to-face contact. The ISZ forwards the other 50 percent of the enquiries to the specialised departments. There the experts also help by telephone, answer by e-mail or meet with those seeking help.

From personal to digital—the whole range.

Exactly! I already mentioned our online presence before. People seeking advice and help can already find a great deal of information digitally: leaflets, guidelines, references, best practice, films and now also webinars. Furthermore, our members inform and network at our events. Finally, we provide information and advice on site at the member companies; our experts complete around 3,500 such company visits per year.

Are the events also free of charge?

If we use an event to place new topics in the business community, win over multipliers for a topic, or if the discussion focuses on politics, for example, it is free of charge. Otherwise, we charge an appropriate contribution.

How do you ensure the quality of your advice?

In Munich, we have opted for an entrepreneurial approach. Firstly: Our employees see themselves as professional service providers with a focus on service quality. The fact that around 80 percent of our employees come from the business world is a great help here. In addition, improving the quality of our advisory services is the most important programme of our employee training. Secondly, we operationalise the CCI services through measurable service standards, which in turn is a prerequisite for their control and continuous improvement. Thirdly, we systematically obtain customer feedback on our consulting services. The result in the form of the Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a key performance indicator within the framework of our management objectives.

What do the employees learn during these training sessions? So how do you define service quality?

They train how to conduct a consultation session, what is important to the customer, how to recognise the problem at hand, which questions to ask, how to develop solution-oriented answers, and how to create an appreciative consulting atmosphere.

How much time do the employees need for the consultation?

Giving someone time for good advice is an expression of customer orientation and the appreciation of our members seeking advice. An initial consultation usually lasts 45–60 min, but for more complex topics, it can sometimes take longer. However, our customers want recommendations for action, i.e. recipes rather than scientific elaborations, and are usually geared to short time frames themselves.

At the same time, this is also a great challenge for the managers who have to accompany their employees in this process?

Managers are the key; they must encourage, enable, support and encourage employees to develop professionally and personally so that the service excellence on offer can be further enhanced. At the same time, the managers themselves are also measured by their performance and that of their teams.

Do you also monitor the quality of the advice you provide?

Yes. We have our own quality assurance system. On the one hand, we participate in so-called mystery-man campaigns. Service providers commissioned by us call in, pose as entrepreneurs and check how the employees behave professionally and in their personal service orientation during the consultation. At the same time, we obtain direct customer feedback during consultations and events and now ask for digital evaluations of individual services or parts of certain events. In this way, we have gradually developed parameters and a quality measurement system that serve as a basis for continuous improvement.

The primary office does plenty of leg work during consultations. Does it also get something in return?

On the one hand, we know exactly where the needs of the member companies are developing or where they are feeling the pinch, so to speak. This helps us progress in terms of content and keeps us fit for the future as a progressive organisation. On the other hand, we can also draw conclusions for our statutory task of representing the overall interests of our member companies. The enquiries give us indications as to which problems occur, how often and in what form, where we have to get started in the political sphere and demand improvements to the framework conditions.

The theme of this book is “practical wisdom” and how the CCIs make its dissemination possible. In this sense, business promotion is a central pillar?

For us, the pillar of providing advice is also an exchange platform, information hub, think tank for the members and also for us—the primary office—itself. We help to find solutions for members, but we also benefit from their existing approaches to solutions, which we can pass on to others as examples of best practice.

This makes the economy as a whole more efficient, more innovative, more sustainable—and also more committed? To what extent, then, does the pillar of business promotion contribute to the voluntary commitment of companies in the CCI and beyond?

Many members build up a relationship with the employees of the CCI and the CCI as a self-help organisation of the economy through such a service. This creates a bond and, more often than not, the realisation: “If the CCI did not already exist, we would have to invent it as an entrepreneur”. This also leads time and again to involvement in our examination, regional or technical committees or the general assembly as our highest body. In this sense, the chamber of commerce and industry, with its pillar of business promotion, is also a catalyst for commitment to the common good.

Do you see the services offered by the CCIs as a good argument for promoting a CCI system in our readers’ countries?

Absolutely. With the CCIs, the economy has an authority working in its interest that strengthens it with its objective information and advice, keeps it up to date with the latest economic developments and thus makes it future-proof. On the basis of compulsory membership, CCIs can also offer these consultations free of charge and always in a neutral way. In this way the economy helps itself, supported by the principle of solidarity: this strong community allows the individual to be helped independently and objectively in a short space of time. I recommend our model of self-organisation of the regional economy from a deep conviction on the matter.

Dr. Gößl, thank you very much for the interview.

Information and Service Centre—Ensuring the Best Customer Experience

On the issue of business promotion, which the legislator apportioned to the CCIs, it is above all else the competent and efficient provision of information to members on all relevant questions that is key. In the CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria, the Information and Service Centre or “ISZ” is available as a competent first point of contact. Therefore, all communication channels, whether by telephone, e-mail or a personal visit, are geared towards the ISZ.

Clever entrepreneurs know how important it is to ask questions—including of their CCI again and again. On the one hand, they need very specific information, but on the other hand, they also ask many recurring or seasonal standard questions: from membership fees to training and events. In Munich, the Information and Service Centre—or ISZ for short—takes care of all these enquiries as the first point of contact, quickly, directly and competently. Around 130,000 enquiries are dealt with every year—an enormous amount. The CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria established the ISZ in 2001. From Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Friday until 4 p.m., 17 employees respond to all questions that are put to the CCI by telephone, e-mail, social media or even during a personal visit. In more than 50 percent of the cases, ISZ employees are already able to provide the final answers; all other questions are partly pre-clarified or immediately forwarded to the right contact person in the specialist departments. (Look at Fig. 6.1.)

Fig. 6.1
figure 1

Most of the callers to the Information and Service Centre of the ICC for Munich and Upper Bavaria have questions about vocational and advanced training

Gigantic Knowledge Pool

The ISZ sees itself as the business card of the CCI in terms of content. Above all, however, it is a gigantic knowledge pool upstream of the specialist departments, in which information from all CCI departments flows together. The ISZ employees have (and maintain) an overview of the content and can often immediately meet the most diverse information needs of the CCI members. Only when the enquiries become too specific and detailed do they pass the enquiries on to the specialised departments. This is extremely convenient for the companies, as they usually get their questions answered with just one call. At the same time, the employees of the specialist departments can rely on the competence of the ISZ, while remaining free to fulfil strategic tasks and handle new topics thanks to the ISZ, and only deal with very specific enquiries.

The following points are what make the ISZ successful:

  • Good technical equipment: The technical equipment of the ISZ’s work is a modern telephone system that automatically forwards calls to a free member of staff. This ensures a high level of availability on the central telephone number of the CCI. Incidentally, this also applies to the regions, as the central numbers of the four regional branches are routed to the ISZ. Furthermore, the ISZ uses a software application that enables it to automatically write to the customer, compile the desired information via a shopping basket function and record everything statistically. In addition, all general e-mails addressed to the CCI run to the ISZ via a central e-mail pool.

  • Knowledge management: The basis of ISZ knowledge is an internet-based CCI content management system. Here, all pertinent information created by the CCI departments on relevant topics and the respective contact persons are stored. From this information and in coordination with the specialist departments, the ISZ has also generated its own guidelines, which compress the information into individual topic blocks and summarise it in a target-group-specific manner. Example—vocational training: These guidelines deal in detail with all questions that companies usually ask about the vocational training system in Germany: from registration as a training company to the examination itself. The guidelines are updated continuously. To ensure quality and topicality, there are five knowledge managers who take responsibility for individual topics and ensure that they are kept up to date.

  • Networking: The ISZ employees are well connected with the specialist departments, requesting information, exchanging views on topics with the experts but also passing on information to the specialist departments when new topics come to the fore thanks to the questions they receive. Then the departments can react, create new content and make them available to the ISZ. At the same time, the ISZ also works on external networking, for example, with other chambers of commerce and industry.

  • Forward-looking topic design: Like the departments, the ISZ closely follows the economic policy debate. Both units coordinate their activities at an early stage so that they have sufficient information at their disposal when a topic becomes acute.

  • Education and training on the job: ISZ employees are carefully selected; they must have a commercial education, in addition to further vocational training or studies, foreign language skills and professional experience. Before they are allowed to telephone or e-mail for the first time, they are trained in the topics for 6 weeks, in order to ensure that they give reliable answers.

  • Continuous further education: The ISZ staff’s duty rosters provide for regular individual learning units even after the initial training has been completed. For one and a half hours a week, they receive individual training on relevant topics and update their knowledge. In weekly meetings, ISZ employees share new information with each other that has arisen during the week. In this way, they also deepen their knowledge and keep it up to date.

  • Efficiency: ISZ employees must answer the phone within 15 s and answer questions within 5 min wherever possible.

  • Service orientation: ISZ employees are also trained in service and support. They always give binding and courteous information and remain calm and friendly even when the caller is impatient. Awareness raising is one of their special topics. Again and again, members want to know why they have to pay a membership fee. ISZ employees explain what compulsory membership means and what companies get in return. The aim is to turn compulsory members into regular customers and even fans.

  • Optimisation process: Through mystery-man campaigns, the level of knowledge and the service quality of ISZ employees (but also of the department staff) is thoroughly checked. Specially hired anonymous callers report in and test their quality. The feedback from the Mystery-Man campaigns is evaluated and becomes the basis for a continuous improvement process.

  • Foreign language skills: ISZ employees speak English, French, Greek, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Ukrainian, Russian and Dutch and are therefore able to serve international customers.

Various Additional Tasks

In addition to its information function, the ISZ is also entrusted with many other tasks. For example, it connects callers who want to reach a specific contact person. As a community manager, it operates the social media channels Facebook, Snapchat, Xing and Twitter, posts and responds to posts. Every new CCI employee receives a two-hour introduction to the work of the CCI by the ISZ. Long-term members of staff at the CCI may also attend these introductions. Also, domestic and foreign visitors get an overview of the CCI from the ISZ. For all new CCI-members, the ISZ organises a welcome event every year and explains the CCI offer to these companies. When CCI departments participate in trade fairs or events with an information stand, they can ask for the help of the ISZ; they always appreciate the competent support of ISZ colleagues. And last but not least, the ISZ is the contact for the authentication of further education certificates, professional certificates, digital signatures, EU certificates, selections of company addresses subject to charges or company information subject to charges.

In the future, the Information and Service Centre also intends to focus on artificial intelligence. Intelligent bots will answer standard questions 7 days a week, around the clock, and further, enhance the service for members. There are roughly 60 Information and Service Centres in the 79 chambers of commerce and industry in Germany, each with a completely different structure. The one in Munich is the most developed.

Start-up Consulting—Strengthening the Region with New Companies

Advising and supporting business start-ups is one of the most important tasks of all CCIs, including the CCI Munich. Given that prospective entrepreneurs are pursuing increasingly ambitious projects and good framework conditions are becoming ever more important, the chamber has significantly expanded its start-up service in recent years.

Every year, around 600,000 people in Germany—almost 90,000 in Bavaria and 40,000 in Upper Bavaria alone—dare start their own business. In doing so, it is almost impossible to circumvent the CCIs. All CCIs offer comprehensive free support in the form of initial consultation to founders of new businesses. No matter whether the future entrepreneur wants to manufacture products industrially, enter the trade or offer services—the CCI accompanies them in their project. More and more founders are currently planning challenging projects in the high-tech segment, which often require complicated approval procedures and a lot of capital. Such founders must therefore prepare themselves more thoroughly for an entrepreneurial existence than those in other areas. They also find good sparring partners in the CCIs.

In Bavaria, around 40,400 people wishing to set up a business made use of the CCI start-up service in 2017. Assuming that each of these people also founded a company, more than 45 percent (40,445) of all commercial founders (89,300) in Bavaria would have had an introductory discussion with the CCI. (Look at Fig. 6.2.)

Fig. 6.2
figure 2

Bavaria is an interesting location for founding a company

Comprehensive Information—Also in Cooperation with External Partners

The CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria is also well positioned in the field of start-up consulting. It has even systematically expanded its range of services in recent years, created special consulting formats and hired additional staff. It can now support young entrepreneurs even better and beyond the actual start-up phase. To this end, it also cooperates with the City of Munich, other key institutions, financial service providers and additional partners who also support start-ups. Together with the City of Munich, for example, it set up the Munich Business Start-Up Office (MEB) back in the 1990s and has successfully managed it for almost two and a half decades.

Commitment to Good Start-Up Conditions

Conversely, the CCI also profits from these new companies. The start-ups and new companies provide additional economic momentum and innovations at the CCI’s location—and naturally, they become new CCI members. This is why the CCI has always been committed to good conditions for start-ups, little bureaucracy and simple tax rules. Another important aspect is the broad acceptance of entrepreneurship among the population. The CCI hopes that in future many more people will see entrepreneurship as an option and opportunity for their own professional career. That is why the CCI advocates and works to ensure that the opportunities and values of free entrepreneurship are already conveyed in school lessons.

Wide Range of Consulting Services

In practice, the CCI Munich supports prospective entrepreneurs with a comprehensive range of information and initial advice. All activities at a glance:

  • Range of information

    • Print as well as digital: The CCI makes a lot of information available in print as well as online: leaflets, various brochures, checklists, business plan templates for download or webinars.

    • Information events: The weekly presentation of the start-up phases with question and answer sessions is popular among founders.

  • Advisory services (personal and digital)

    • Munich Business Start-Up Office (MEB): This is where business start-ups can arrange a personal initial consultation. For this offer, the CCI cooperates with the Department of Labour and Economy for the City of Munich. In 2017, 1108 consultations took place. (See also case study below.) In addition to classic start-up content, advice on social entrepreneurship is also provided here.

    • Regional start-up consulting in all administrative districts: The CCI regularly offers consultation hours in its offices in Ingolstadt, Mühldorf am Inn, Rosenheim and Weilheim. In addition, the CCI employees go to regional start-up centres, which now exist in many Upper Bavarian cities. In 2017, 1,301 participants were registered here.

    • Startup-Unit: Here the CCI provides special advice to innovative and growth-oriented start-ups—especially in the areas of e-commerce, information and communication technologies, cleantech, healthcare and life science. The focus is on start-ups, financing, internationalisation and networking. In 2017, 132 consultations took place.

    • Start-up consultation days in the business incubators: The CCI is also present with a consulting service at the Munich business incubators Werk 1 Munich and GATE (Garchinger Technologie—und Gründerzentrum GmbH).

    • LfA financing meetings at the CCI on funding opportunities: Twelve days a year, the Bayerische Landesförderbank LfA comes to the CCI and advises founders on funding opportunities.

    • Founding Consultation Days of the Institute for Freelance Professions (IfB): Twenty-three times a year, the Institute for Freelance Professions (IfB) also visits the CCI and provides special advice on founding opportunities for freelancers.

    • Consultation hour on funding opportunities for innovations: The CCI also has advice on the promotion of innovation and offers a special funding consultation hour.

    • Crowdfunding consultations: Crowdfunding can close a gap in financing by having many interested parties co-fund a project. In 2017, 66 founders sought advice on this.

    • Pre-founding and succession coaching: Founders can be accompanied by coaches for the preparation of business plans or the first business management steps. The CCI experts advised 517 people in 2017.

    • Advice on the BAFA support programme “Promotion of entrepreneurial know-how”: This support programme is implemented by the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA). In 2017, founders sought advice on this programme 104 times at the CCI.

    • Consultation days on company succession. Starting up a business can also mean taking over a company. Ten intensive consultations were held on this subject in 2017.

  • Events:

    • EXISTENZ, the leading trade fair for start-ups: The comprehensive approach of the Munich Chamber of Commerce and Industry to consulting for start-ups is particularly visible at the CCI EXISTENZ trade fair, which it organises every year in November. The fair attracts around 1,500 founders and young entrepreneurs. At the Existenz founders and entrepreneurs can find out everything they need to know about setting up a business and the first few years of running it, in one place and free of charge. Around 50 exhibitors are present—from various institutions, organisations and associations, to development banks and credit institutions and social insurance carriers. There are also around 100 workshops, lectures and seminars. Munich’s CCI EXISTENZ is the largest business start-up fair in all of Bavaria.

    • Regional EXISTENZ start-up fairs: These are smaller spin-offs of the same name in individual regions. There are a total of four regional business start-up fairs per year.

  • Start-up activities and forms of cooperation:

    • Munich Urban Colab: In view of the fact that innovative start-ups and established medium-sized companies can complement each other very well, but rarely come together, the CCI also provides advice on this. In the new Munich Innovation Centre, there is a CCI Lab for the development of concrete cooperation projects between start-ups and medium-sized companies.

    • Munich Startup Portal: This Internet portal provides start-ups with a wide range of information on competitions for start-ups or interesting CCI event offers. The portal also portrays new start-ups or cooperation projects. In addition, start-ups can enter their names on a digital map so that they can be found more easily.

    • Networking events: With this offer, the CCI wants to bring start-ups together with medium-sized companies, which then act as business angels, for example. A new investor evening is also part of this offer. Four start-ups pitch to 50 entrepreneurs at this event (see also the following article in this Chap. 5).

    • Cooperation events: The CCI also supports numerous formats that promote and network start-ups. These include the annual Bits&Pretzels start-up festival, which brings together 5,000 founders, investors and start-up enthusiasts over three days.

    • Internationalisation support: Even if start-ups want to expand abroad, the CCI is the right place for them: country analyses, assistance with sourcing translation providers, participation in trade fairs, on-site support via AHKs in the respective country—all this is part of the service.

Cross-Departmental Internal Consulting Structures

For all these consulting fields, the Munich CCI start-up consultants draw on their own professional know-how but also on the expertise of other CCI colleagues in the company and quickly establish contact with them. For example, the CCI tax and legal experts help with the choice of legal form or with contracts with potential business partners. The CCI location consultants provide information on the extent to which the industrial estates and sites short-listed by the founder are suitable for the future company. And the colleagues in the foreign trade department are happy to point out international sales markets for the envisaged products and services and explain the customs and tax laws that apply there.

Box: Five Fields of Advice for a Successful Business Start-Up

The Munich Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI Munich) advises founders in all phases of the start-up. It distinguishes between these five steps. It has a lot of specific information on all of them.

  • Step 1—the founder and his environment: The CCI recommends that founders first carry out a founder check. This is because every foundation and every start-up has individualist own environment. Before the final foundation, a founder should therefore always check himself, his personal requirements and qualifications, his personal environment or even the team of founders. From this, it can then be deduced which type of company foundation is best suited—for example, a foundation in part-time or full-time employment, in a team or alone, with equity capital or a start-up subsidy.

  • Step 2—Business idea and business model development: Behind every successful company is a good business idea. At best, the business idea is innovative and has a unique selling proposition (USP). A successful start-up can also be based on a business idea that builds on existing business models. Existing business models can be further developed or transferred to other markets.

  • Step 3—Planning the foundation: The conditions are right, the business idea seems promising, and now the foundations should be completed. In the next step, it is therefore important to write a business plan. In the business plan, founders describe their business model in detail and deal intensively with their strategic and economic goals.

  • Step 4—Implementation: The business idea has matured; the business plan has been prepared as a planning tool and financing basis, now the company can start. Now, founders need assistance and information on the most important formalities, contracts, legal and tax aspects, financing, marketing and sales, websites or even the hiring of employees.

  • Step 5—Growth: The company’s start has now been mastered. Now it should grow. The focus of this step is on growth financing, innovation promotion, internationalisation or crisis management.

Case Study 1: Munich Business Start-Up Office (MEB)—Passing on Proven Advice

More than a dozen employees of the Munich Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) advise founders—among others, they do so in the Munich Business Start-up Office (MEB), which the CCI and the City of Munich jointly founded in 1995. It is located on the premises of the CCI. Both the CCI and the City of Munich provide consultants for the MEB. With the MEB, the CCI and the City of Munich offer founders the first point of contact. Every year, more than 10,000 founders and companies from Munich and the surrounding area seek advice from the MEB. The MEB provides competent contacts for all fundamental questions that are important for the development and expansion of their future life’s work. But even founders who are still unsure about their business idea are supported by the MEB. For example, they receive tips on public funding for personal consultations by consultants and coaches. For further detailed questions, for example, about special technologies and financing, the MEB will refer them to other CCI experts.

The MEB experts offer multi-channel consulting. The future entrepreneur can obtain advice and support in a personal conversation, on the phone or via video conferencing. In addition, he can obtain information at regular MEB events on fundamental questions that every founder has to face. Recurring topics are the personality and background of the business founder as well as business plan, marketing and financing concepts.

Case study 2: Crowdfunding—Using the Power of the Swarm

Beautiful ideas, but hardly any capital to realise them? Numerous smaller companies and founders know this problem only too well. They also rarely have enough leeway to launch financing campaigns for their innovations. This is where crowdfunding comes in. Funding is provided by a crowd of Internet users who are called upon to participate financially via personal homepages, professional websites and special platforms. Crowdfunding can close a gap in financing. Nevertheless, it is important to use other instruments in financing and thus to put them on a stable footing. Crowdfunding combines financing, marketing, customer loyalty and is also a market test. After all, the big advantage is that the community of investors decides whether to support a project—and the chances of success for the project naturally play a major role in this. Currently, more and more founders, as well as existing companies, are turning to the crowd. Since 2014, the experts from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria have been providing more advice and information on this topic.

  • Individual advice: Personal advice is particularly important with this form of financing. Because it helps to avoid stumbling blocks and to design the campaigns in such a way that they win over investors. The CCI provides advice on crowdfunding free of charge.

  • Support from the City of Munich: The City of Munich is also the first German municipality to offer the opportunity to receive support in the form of the creative services of crowdfunding campaigns. Since March 2018, founders, start-ups or young companies can apply for a 50 percent subsidy for such services that they purchase from companies in Munich. The CCI experts act as a contact point here, who also offer in-depth information and tools for crowdfunding on their homepage.

Case Study 3: Munich as a Start-Up Location—Increasingly Attractive for Founders

How must a location, indeed an “ecosystem” be like, so that high-tech start-ups can successfully develop and grow? This is the key question of the Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) of the US research institute Startup Genome. The report is based on data from more than 10,000 founders from more than 40 locations around the world. In the Report 2018, Munich was one of the German regions examined for the first time alongside Berlin and Frankfurt am Main. The consortium that coordinated the study on site in Munich included the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria, the City of Munich, Munich Startup, Invest in Bavaria and the Entrepreneurship Centers of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU), the Technische Universität München (TUM) and the Munich University of Applied Sciences: LMU Entrepreneurship Center, UnternehmerTUM, Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship.

Although the report did not carry out a ranking, each individual ecosystem received a very individual description. The state capital proved to be a promising ecosystem for high-tech start-ups. The study attributes a value of around 4.5 billion US dollars to Munich start-ups. In three of the 12 sectors examined, the financial, healthcare and automotive sectors, the city is one of the top locations for start-ups worldwide. It also praises the strong business environment consisting of DAX companies, innovative multinational IT and consulting groups and 45 venture capital firms. One additional trump card is the broad university and research landscape with the Technical University of Munich, the Ludwig Maximilians University or the Munich University of Applied Sciences and its so-called entrepreneurship centres. A quality of life that is among the highest in the world rounds off Munich’s profile.

To the industry results in detail:

  • Fintech sector: Around 11 percent of local venture capital in Munich was invested in the Fintech sector between 2012 and 2017. The study also emphasises the strength of Munich’s insurance industry and its start-up support programmes.

  • Healthcare: Around 350 healthcare companies generate more than 5 billion euros in sales per year in Munich, thus providing a good environment for start-ups. Key institutions include the LMU, which is ranked fifth worldwide in the discipline of medical technology but also the TUM and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

  • Automotive: It almost goes without saying that Munich is also one of the top locations in the automotive sector. Ten percent of all local VC investments flowed into this sector. In addition, the BMW Startup Garage and the corporate VC fund BMW i Ventures are considered important initiatives for cooperation between established industry and start-ups. According to the report, the mobility sector is also driving forward start-up activities in the advanced manufacturing and robotics segment.

Both the Munich Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the other partners were very satisfied with the results—they can score points at home and around the world and motivate start-ups to settle in Munich and Upper Bavaria.

Entrepreneurial Consulting—Helping Members Succeed

With comprehensive information and targeted advice, the CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria provides its member companies with comprehensive support, even after the company has been founded. It provides initial advice for all post-formation phases and along the entire value chain.

How do I set up my company in such a stable way that it is well equipped for the ups and downs that characterise my industry? How do I create room for growth and innovation? How do I recognise potential crises in time and counteract them? How do I succeed in internationalisation? How can I successfully secure my company’s succession? Offering helpful answers to such questions is part of the self-image of every CCI—including the CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria. The CCI Munich offers its members help to help themselves by supporting them in every phase of their business and by providing information and advice on issues relevant to the business along the entire value chain: whether it is founding, growth, internationalisation, innovation, consolidation, crisis or succession. It may only ever provide initial advice. Discussions with the CCI specialists can also serve as a basis for further advice from specialised providers. Business management consulting takes place both at the CCI headquarters in Munich and at the respective offices in the region.

Diverse Consulting Formats

The support essentially ranges from information e-mails, telephone calls and conversations, leaflets, brochures, guidelines, internet services, webinars, participation in trade fairs, seminars, information and networking events, and consultation days up to targeted individual advice. In particular, the tried and tested business management consulting and, since autumn 2017, crisis consulting are among the services that are meeting with a rapidly growing response (see case study on crisis management). If a problem arises that raises further technical questions, such as the legal form or the establishment of contacts in foreign markets, the CCI specialists pass it on to the appropriate in-house experts.

Many impulses for topics come from the member companies themselves. For this reason, the CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria has not only continuously expanded and developed its services in recent years but has also set new focal points. This is shown by the example of financing consulting. Here, the CCI is also increasingly providing advice on alternative financing instruments. Upper Bavarian companies—especially those which are small and medium-sized—have so far preferred internal financing, for example, via equity reserves and long-term bank loans, to finance their projects or investments. However, a balanced financing mix provides more stability, advises the Chamber of Commerce and Industry: Those who use additional instruments such as subsidies, corporate bonds, equity capital or even factoring and leasing strengthen their independence from the banks. This should prove to be a promising strategy, also in view of the increasing German and European regulation of banks.

Consulting Services at a Glance

Today, CCI business consultants provide information and advice predominantly in these fields:

  • Business management consulting: No matter whether start-up, growth, internationalisation, innovation, succession or crisis—in every phase companies can benefit from the business management consulting of the CCI experts. It is the classic option among the CCI consulting formats: A status quo analysis carried out by the CCI experts can first clarify where your company stands. On this basis, it is then easier to discuss the strengths and weaknesses, the next steps and plans with the CCI consultants and make the right strategic decisions. For the status quo analysis, the companies transmit certain data from their bookkeeping or cost accounting to the CCI experts. They prepare the figures in such a way that the companies can use these figures not only for consulting purposes but above all for discussions with investors and banks. The business management consultants always support the companies along the entire value chain, i.e. from supplier management to procurement, production and sales and distribution to customer management. During the free initial consultation, the companies select those topics for which they need support. If desired, the CCI consultants come to the company for the initial consultation—no matter where the company is located. More and more members are taking advantage of this offer, which the CCI also offers in all regional branches.

  • Corporate financing: How do I successfully conduct bank talks? What role does the rating play? What should I bear in mind with regard to credit clauses? How do I use down payment guarantees via insurance companies? What alternatives are there to the house bank? What should I consider if I want to give my employees a share in the company? What support programmes are there in Bavaria? How do I make sensible use of venture capital? The CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria offers detailed information on all these questions on its homepage, especially in the form of leaflets, brochures and tools. Two examples: Recently, the guide “Leading credit negotiations successfully” was published as a PDF download, which contains numerous checklists and helpful information. Since 2018, members have also been able to use another new tool: a specially developed financial analysis that provides a rough picture of the company’s financial situation.

  • Coaching: Anyone seeking expert advice and targeted support on individual topics, for example, when drawing up business plans, in growth or crisis phases, can seek external coaching from an expert. Various institutions provide funding for this. The CCI experts are the contact point for these programmes.

  • Innovation promotion: The federal government and the states support innovative companies in developing their innovations to pilot maturity and bringing them to market. Small and medium-sized companies in particular benefit from the wide range of loans and grants. The CCI experts help to select the right support programme.

  • Internationalisation financing—especially the “Go International” programme: The CCIs also offer information and advice on support programmes that help companies to do business abroad. For example, the “Go International” programme, which the Bavarian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Chambers of Trades and Crafts have set up together with the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, is aimed in particular at small and medium-sized enterprises in Bavaria. There are also numerous EU support programmes.

  • Company succession: With comprehensive information and targeted advice, the CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria helps its member companies to successfully master the generational change. (See also separate article on succession consulting in this chapter).

  • Crisis consulting: Even those who slip into a crisis have been offered support by the experts of the CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria since autumn 2017. (See also case study below).

  • E-mobility support programmes: Not only at federal and state levels but also at local level, politicians support e-mobility with funding activities. Here, CCI experts help to find the appropriate programmes.

New Networking Event: The Investor Evening

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria devotes particular attention to the founders with a specific offer (see also previous article in this chapter). An entirely fresh format, which brings together founders and established companies, and in this sense also fulfils the expectations of the members for networking events, is the Investors’ Evening, which started in 2018. It also responds to the growing interest of companies in cross-sector investments. This annual evening event is offered by the Munich Chamber of Commerce and Industry together with BayStartup, the agency for start-up, financing and growth in Bavaria, which is jointly sponsored by the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs and the business community. The idea: four digital or high-tech start-ups pitch to 50 entrepreneurs who see themselves as business angels. The aim is for the companies to invest a sum of EUR 50,000 or more in the start-ups and give them access to new customers, markets or suppliers. Conversely, the start-ups support the companies in digitalisation and innovation. BayStartUp selects the start-ups, the CCI the Business Angels. Each pitch lasts 10 min plus five minutes for questions. The response to the format is very good. Thus, a doubling of the pitches to eight is in planning.

Case Study 4: Crisis Consulting—Turning the Tide

Those who grow too fast or internationalise too quickly often lose track of how their company is actually developing. But even steadily growing companies sometimes get bogged down. Monitoring the operational figures therefore protects against risks. Because companies that work with key figures exactly know their strengths and weaknesses. In addition, they usually recognise the potential for crisis early enough to take action. For those who nevertheless slide into a crisis, the experts in the area of business analysis, financing and law at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria have been offering intensive and comprehensive support since autumn 2017.

  • The aim of crisis consulting: As an objective third party, the CCI experts obtain a realistic picture of the current situation during the initial consultation and clarify which business management and legal issues cannot be put off. It is precisely this view from the outside that often helps to find solutions and ways out.

  • Comprehensive information: The CCI experts offer this on their website, for example, on crisis phases and ways out. Companies can also find publications and information sheets, for example, on the most important key figures or on liquidity optimisation.

  • Special analysis tool “Crisis traffic light”: With the crisis traffic light, a newly developed CCI analysis tool, companies can use their accounting data to identify crisis potential in advance. This database provides a good basis for internal controlling, for further discussions with CCI consultants and the subsequent talks with management consultants.

  • Extensive consulting sessions: In personal talks, CCI consultants analyse the deeper reasons for prevailing crises. With ideas for targeted crisis management, they then initiate the first steps towards a solution and often act in a trend-setting manner for the companies.

On the one hand, the CCI wants to sensitise the companies with their support to such an extent that they can prepare for crisis situations, recognise them early—and thus react in time. Because crises can be avoided again and again if companies take countermeasures in advance. Warning systems in particular are therefore elementary. It also makes sense to have strategies and plans assessed by an objective body such as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. On the other hand, the CCI wants to show the companies that are already in crisis ways out of it. It feels obliged to its member companies to do so. Often, the prevailing opinion is that companies can restructure themselves due to redundancies, which usually saves costs as a first step, but rarely applies as a holistic restructuring measure. Therefore, the CCI experts warn against rash decisions. After all, employees are the driving force behind every company.

The response to the new crisis consulting service is great and continues to grow. In this way, the CCI helps companies not only to master crises but also to make provisions for future challenges and changes.

Legal and Tax Issues—Acting as an Initial Source of Key Information for Businesses

The CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria supports its members in legal and tax matters with helpful information services.

Especially small and medium-sized companies that do not have their own legal and tax departments know only too well: laws and tax rules are often very complex. And even the larger medium-sized companies often complain about rampant bureaucracy, increasing confusion and barely comprehensible official language. On the one hand, the number of regulations is growing. On the other hand, politicians, ministries and administrations rarely formulate laws, regulations and company-relevant texts in a way that non-experts can understand them. It is a good thing that there are translators: The experts from the Legal and Tax Department of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria see themselves not only as such translators but especially as the first point of contact for member companies, providing important basic information on legal and tax issues.

Information Services on All Channels

In order to provide companies with up-to-date and timely information, the CCI legal and tax experts use all communication channels. Their services range from providing support and basic information to members on all questions in this area via telephone calls, e-mails, conversations, leaflets, information events and virtual workshops, for example, on the topics of tax audits or digital tax. In addition, the experts are constantly developing the information and service offerings, they listen to the members, react to needs or anticipate them. They see themselves as contacts for entrepreneurs on fundamental legal and tax issues, initiate and moderate events, and give lectures.

Broad-Spectrum of Legal Issues

The CCI is broadly versed in the legal field. It provides support especially in these areas of law:

  • Labour law: What rights and obligations do employers and employees have? The CCI offers information on notice periods, part-time work or maternity protection, and provides information on new regulations such as the Pay Transparency Act, the Care Time Act or the women’s quota. At the same time, it also addresses questions about mini-jobs or bogus self-employment.

  • Data protection law: When does a company need a data protection officer? What effects does the new EU general data protection regulation have on companies? Which regulations must be observed? Here too, the CCI provides comprehensive information.

  • Choice of legal form: Do I establish a limited liability company (GmbH) or remain a sole trader? Is a cooperative the right thing or rather a small public corporation (AG)? The choice of the right legal form is of great importance for a company. The CCI provides assistance in decision-making.

  • Competition law: Even in free competition, not everything is allowed that could give a company an advantage. What does the law against unfair competition and the law against restrictions of competition prescribe? The CCI provides information on the legal limits and possibilities of advertising and sales regulations.

  • Trade law: In Germany, there are many trade law regulations that not just the founders of a new business need to be well informed about. The CCI advises on regulations for estate agents, auctioneers, the travel industry or markets. Also on the list: Shop closing times, cosmetics law or the textile labelling law.

  • Contract law: How do I develop General Terms and Conditions (GTC)? What do I need to consider when buying? Are there sample contracts, including for GTCs? The CCI shows all facets of contract law.

  • Internet law: How do I design my website to be legally secure? What role does the legal notice (Impressum) play on the homepage? What do I have to consider when dealing with liability issues on the Internet? Here too, the CCI knows what to do.

  • Insolvency law: What are the duties of managers in case of insolvency or over-indebtedness? What to do with customers and suppliers in the event of insolvency? How does insolvency law help with restructuring? The CCI is well versed in this area and even got the ball rolling for restructuring-oriented insolvency law.

  • Foreigners’ and asylum law: Who is allowed to work in Germany and under what conditions if they come from a so-called third country, i.e. if they do not have German or EU citizenship? What are the residence regulations? And how does the asylum law interact with the law on foreigners?

Useful Tax Information

When it comes to taxes, the CCI’s services today focus on the following areas:

  • Financial administration: How long do companies have to keep their documents and records? What do the principles of electronic accounting (Grundsätze zur elektronischen Buchhaltung—GoBD) govern? Which aspects should companies consider during tax audits? This is where the CCI experts provide initial orientation.

  • VAT: From VAT identification numbers and VAT conversion rates to the new EU proposals for certified taxable persons (CTP)—the CCI also offers competent answers in this area.

  • Income and wage tax: What must entrepreneurs and their employees take into account when taxing company cars? What rules apply to non-cash benefits to business associates and employees? What should an income tax certificate look like? These and similar questions are dealt with intensively by CCI experts.

  • Founders and successors: Anyone who finds or takes over a new business has to deal with numerous tax issues, such as the net income accounting approach or the cash book. The CCI offers valuable tips on all tax issues affecting business start-ups.

  • Trade tax: Cities and municipalities are allowed to levy trade tax on every business enterprise. The CCI summarises the details in an information sheet and on the homepage.

  • Inheritance and gift tax: The federal and state governments agreed on a compromise in 2016. Interested parties can also obtain useful information about the new rules and how they may affect succession.

  • Digital taxation: From electronic balance sheets and digital tax audits to VAT in online commerce and the EU Commission’s proposals on digital taxation—a great deal has been happening here in recent years. The CCI keeps its members continuously informed about the current status.

  • Tax and financial policy: The CCI also deals with tax and financial policy that directly affects companies and develops position papers on this, for example, on modern taxation. (see also legislative work Chap. 7)

Location Consulting—Offering a Full-Service Package for Commercial Space

The CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria is an indispensable contact partner for companies with questions about their company headquarterswhether it is the founding of a new business, the relocation or expansion of existing companies or the securing of the existing location.

It all depends on the location. Anyone who wants to run a flourishing business has to take many factors into account when choosing a company’s headquarters. Which local authorities and industrial sites are actually suitable? Are there sufficient local workers available at the sites that are short-listed? How close is the motorway access or the nearest airport? How high is the trade tax rate? What is the current status of the building development plan? How many competitors have already established businesses? Where are suppliers or companies located with whom synergies can be used in the vicinity? Founders can also contact their chambers of commerce and industry with all these questions. And even established entrepreneurs, who want to expand or modernise their existing location or are planning further branches or are considering a complete relocation have come to the right place with the CCI. They have a lot of location information at their fingertips and assist in the search for, selection or securing of a location.

Subject Areas from Building Law to Fire Protection

At the same time, however, the need for advice increasingly goes beyond these classic questions. After all, space is a significant location factor for a region. In order to continue to secure prosperity and the existing locational advantages, a qualitative and quantitative supply of land and its responsible and efficient use are indispensable for the economy. Those interested in setting up a business and investors can obtain comprehensive information on topics such as land development from their chamber of commerce and industry. The CCI also knows all about questions of building law or fire protection, about changes in use or about the special features of a location: such as building on contaminated sites that first have to be removed with the help of additional investment, or requirements that local authorities have decided on, for example, for emission and noise protection. In view of the many requirements that the legislator has imposed, especially in the areas of construction and fire protection, small and medium-sized companies in particular make use of the CCI’s services.

Location Consulting for Founders and Established Companies

Over the past few years, the Bavarian Chambers of Commerce and Industry have systematically expanded their range of advisory services, thereby anticipating the growing needs of their members. In addition to the individual initial consultation, they have above all established an online portal for the whole of Bavaria. This provides companies with a tried and tested marketing platform for industrial estates, listing more than 1,000 industrial estates of all Bavarian municipalities. The Bavarian Chambers of Commerce and Industry always recommend this Bavarian location portal as a starting point. If there is a need for further advice, employees are also available for personal consultations.

Digital Core Offering: CCI Location Portal—Bavaria

This is how the CCI-Location Portal (Standortportal Bayern) works: The requirements for a new company domicile can be easily integrated into the search as parameters, and numerous service functions help with the evaluation and selection of locations. A suggestion list points out potentially suitable sites to searchers. A comparison list makes it possible to compare locations with each other and thus quickly identify plus and minus points. In addition to industrial estates, users can also find commercial properties as well as business incubators and technology centres. The location of the sites can be seen at a glance on a digital map. The contents of the location portal at a glance:

  • Basic information: For each location, the classic types of information including the number of floor areas, area sizes with and without building rights or property divisibility are clearly noted.

  • Information on infrastructure: In addition, there are details on the infrastructure such as transport connections, traffic development, energy or fibre optic lines.

  • Trade structures and company locations: Existing CCI companies show the local mix of competitors and suppliers.

  • Information on the development of the region: Users can also find out about population and employment trends, the trade tax rates, the local potential for skilled workers and current urban land use planning procedures.

  • Contact person at the location: For each location that a user decides to add to the shortlist, the portal names a municipal contact person.

The nine Bavarian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, local authorities and administrative districts update the portal continuously, so the user is always up to date. However, the portal is no substitute for personal advice.

Influence on Urban Land Use Planning in Dialogue with Cities and Municipalities

The CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria not only advises its members on location issues, it also maintains regular contact with cities and municipalities, especially when they are planning new business parks or want to restructure existing ones. This is because the legislator has assigned the CCIs important tasks in urban land use planning. Without this planning instrument for land use and development, no commercial area can be newly built or developed. Consequently, if a local authority wants to draw up new land use or development plans for planned or existing industrial estates, the respective chamber of commerce and industry is consulted as the body responsible for public affairs. The municipalities appreciate this know-how of the chamber. Many of them therefore also wish to receive comments on mixed areas in which both commercial buildings and residential buildings are being built, or on purely residential areas in which retail businesses and service providers are only allowed to establish themselves selectively. In this way, the chambers of commerce and industry can regularly use their position papers to ward off exaggerated conditions, which companies could not have realised or only with excessive investment. (see also the article on urban land use planning in Chap. 5)

Box: Underestimated Fire Protection

Up to 20 percent of the investment in a new commercial building can be spent on fire protection. The legislator places high demands on the hotel and catering industry in particular in this area. In this often underestimated topic, the advice of the chambers of commerce and industry is therefore particularly sought after. Safe building materials, escape route construction, fire protection regulations, alarm systems: These and other preventive measures cost a lot of money. The CCIs’ unanimous experience: the earlier a company tackles the subject of fire protection, the lower the costs.

Advice on Internationalisation—Accompanying You Abroad with Individual Support

The services offered by the CCIs always include advice on internationalisation. The CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria observes that the questions from entrepreneurs are becoming more and more individual and specific.

On the Isar, Iller and Lech rivers, one export record chases another. In 2017, Bavarian companies achieved a full EUR 192 billion in sales abroad—5.4 percent more than the year before. Almost a third of these exports were vehicles, followed by electronic products and machinery. Companies from the city and district of Munich were particularly successful abroad. At 62.4 and 70 percent respectively, their export ratio was well above the Bavarian average of 53.2 percent. The export successes are offset by globally networked supply chains. In 2017, Bavarian companies purchased goods and services worth EUR 179.7 billion abroad—especially from the Czech Republic and Hungary. From the Czech Republic, they imported EUR 8 billion more goods than they exported to that country. In Hungary, they spent EUR 5.3 billion more than they turned over there. In total, Bavarian companies abroad generate a surplus of EUR 12.2 billion. (Look at Fig. 6.3.)

Fig. 6.3
figure 3

Increasingly international: The development of imports and exports of the Bavarian economy

CCI as the First Point of Contact for All Internationalisation Issues

For small and medium-sized companies, this export-dynamic is a great challenge. On the one hand, and especially in Munich and Upper Bavaria, they are closely integrated into the value-added chains of large international companies. On the other hand, they often cannot afford their own export department. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria has therefore become an irreplaceable contact partner for them in all questions of foreign business. The 18 employees of the departments “Europe and EU Policy” and “America, Africa, Middle East, CIS, Asia-Pacific and Foreign Trade Finance” held around 250,000 advisory meetings with member companies in 2017. In addition, they organised 160 events in which around 6,500 entrepreneurs took part. About one third of the colleagues in the foreign trade department are also involved in issuing certificates of origin, A.T.A. carnets and other foreign trade documents. Customs and foreign trade law, as well as export control regulations, are the core competence of the department, in addition to its advisory tasks.

Specific Consulting Needs: From Intercultural Issues to Export Control Regimes

The advisory meetings are all about motivating small and young companies to become active abroad as well as providing very specific information to companies already enjoying success in exporting. Whereas 15 years ago events were regularly overbooked when they offered general information on the market situation and location conditions of a particular country, today entrepreneurs need much more specific information: They want to know what particular intercultural differences they will encounter in e-commerce in the People’s Republic of China, what data protection regulations they have to observe in the USA or what tax regulations they have to comply with in Poland or Latvia. They need information on which certification regulations apply in certain countries, how digitalisation affects exports and how they can deal with increasing protectionism worldwide. Given that this topic is becoming increasingly important in view of the trade policy of the USA, the sanctions against Iran (and Russia), the Munich Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI Munich) organised a theme day on the export control regimes to be observed worldwide for the first time in 2018. The event was fully booked well in advance. The “Trade&Connect” export event, which takes place every autumn in Munich, is of similar importance for the member companies (see box below).

Diverse Formats

However, as the questions and concerns of companies become more and more specific, the trend in event formats in foreign trade consulting is increasingly moving away from all-day events and towards half-day events, workshops, business breakfasts or webinars. At such events, experts provide information on clearly defined individual aspects of internationalisation in two to three hours.

Close Cooperation with the AHKs and Other Specialist Departments

The increasingly specific information needs of the member companies also require the staff of the foreign trade department to have an increasingly comprehensive knowledge of the markets they serve. In order to be able to answer questions and keep their knowledge up to date, the speakers therefore work closely with their colleagues in the foreign chambers of commerce around the world. The CCI also regularly sends members of the foreign trade department to the AHKs in the countries they serve. This gives the CCI speakers a better understanding of how their colleagues in the AHKs work and creates close contact networks. Since there is hardly any area of business management that foreign business would not have to deal with, it is also becoming increasingly important for the chamber’s foreign trade experts to network with colleagues in other departments and units of the CCI.

Only through close networking can the demands that the chamber places on its own service quality be met. If a member company contacts the foreign trade department with an enquiry, it receives an answer within 48 h—often with a solution to the problem at hand, but at least with a confirmation of receipt if the responsible employee first has to activate his or her contact network to answer the question asked.

Intensive Exchange with the Members

As with many other topics, beyond the advice provided by the CCI, the direct exchange between member companies in the field of foreign trade is a first step towards success. This is because often other members have already solved a problem. In their foreign trade committees, working groups and events, the chambers, including the CCI Munich, therefore regularly offer their members the opportunity to exchange their experiences. In times of digitalisation, the Chamber also organises this framework online via the Open CCI platform. There it regularly initiates discussions on foreign trade issues—for example, what entrepreneurs want when exporting services in the EU internal market.

Case study 1: Trade and Connect—All you can export

Every year in autumn, the Trade&Connect event (formerly known as Export Day) turns the Munich Chamber of Commerce and Industry into a globalisation hub. This is because experts from AHKs from over 60 countries come together in the metropolis on the river Isar. Trade&Connect is the largest foreign trade consultancy fair in Germany. In one-on-one meetings, entrepreneurs learn all the essentials about market entry, business expansion but also about purchasing in the respective countries. Visitors can arrange meetings with the AHK speakers of their choice online when they register. Although not all questions can be answered conclusively in the 15 min available, important contacts are made. Individual follow-ups will also be arranged. Parallel to the individual consultations, the chamber organises a lecture programme. Experts will give lectures on all foreign trade topics that entrepreneurs deal with in the respective year—for example, in 2018 on Brexit, China’s project for a New Silk Road between Asia and Europe, foreign trade financing, security on business trips and US trade policy. As part of Trade&Connect, the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, together with the Association of Bavarian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Association of Bavarian Chambers of Trades and Crafts and the investment promotion agency “Bayern International”, has also been awarding the Bavarian Export Prize since 2007. With this award, the institutions honour entrepreneurs who have successfully conquered foreign markets through particularly innovative products and strategies—provided that the candidates do not employ more than 50 people.

Case study 2: Enterprise Europe Network—Helping to succeed in the EU

Innovation and internationalisation make small businesses competitive and successful. The European Union is certain of this. That is why it has set up the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) in its member states. Its members include 600 chambers of commerce, universities, technology centres and agencies. The EEN contact points in the respective member states help companies to find business and innovation partners in other EU countries, jointly develop new products and open up foreign markets in Europe. In addition, the EEN provides advice on intellectual property, patent law, EU standards and funding opportunities and public procurement in the European Community, and organises country workshops, cooperation exchanges and business trips. In Bavaria, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria coordinates the partners from the Free State who are involved in the network—among them, in addition to the Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Chamber of Trades and Crafts for Munich and Upper Bavaria, the Bavarian Research Alliance (Bayerische Forschungsallianz) or the Technology Agency “Bayern Innovativ”.

Succession Consulting—Teaching the Art of Letting Go

With comprehensive information and targeted advice, the CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria helps its member companies to successfully master the generational change.

Successions can become real ordeals: Numerous family businesses suffer from poorly planned succession processes, some of them perishing in the process. Particularly in small and medium-sized companies, senior owners often have difficulty letting go—with the result that they deal with the handover much too late. On the other hand, those who plan with foresight have a good chance of successfully mastering this difficult process. This then means there is enough time to solve even complex problems in such a way that the company’s competitiveness and creditworthiness are maintained. This is why many banks today appreciate it when companies have already arranged their succession at an early stage.

The chambers of commerce and industry are also aware of the challenges of a generational change and have therefore developed a special advisory service for their members. They have already accompanied numerous changes of leadership with great success.

Timely Start of the Handover Planning

Above all, the CCI succession experts recommend far-sighted planning. About 10 years before the planned handover, or no later than 3 years before, the senior decision-maker should start to think about concrete ideas. An appropriate amount of time in advance must be planned not only by the person handing over the business but also by the successor. On both sides, there are not only legal, tax and business issues to be clarified but also many personal questions.

Consulting in All Formats

In order to facilitate such processes for its members, the CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria also offers comprehensive support for succession, especially in the form of help for self-help. Its services range from telephone calls and conversations to checklists, guidelines, Internet services, tools, trade fair participation, information events, consultation days and personal advice. The CCI experts for Upper Bavaria regularly develop their offers further and always remain closely oriented to the wishes of their members.

Extensive Offer

In the meantime, the following focal points in particular have emerged:

  • Information services: What do those handing over (and those receiving) have to pay particular attention to in the succession process? Where do they receive support and advice? What funding opportunities are available? The CCI has a wide range of support, brochures and information material available on its homepage to answer such questions.

  • Checklists: How do I prepare my company for the handover? How do I proceed with the company valuation? How does the financing of a succession work? Numerous checklists support those handing over and receiving control during the planning phase.

  • Telephone consultation days: Anyone seeking expert advice and targeted support can register for the telephone consultation days. Experienced CCI succession experts will help and give impulses (see case study below).

  • Bavaria-initiative: Under the title “Unternehmensnachfolge.Bayern” (Business Succession Bavaria), the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Association of Bavarian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the working group of the Bavarian Chambers of Commerce and Industry launched an initiative to raise awareness of the issue of succession among companies and to support them in this process. The initiative is supported by numerous other partners from industry. The CCI experts see themselves as the contact point for this campaign.

  • Action Days Company Succession: Getting the right information, exchanging experiences but also networking—this is what those handing over and receiving control can do on such action days and other events, which take place regularly in all CCI districts.

  • Personal consultation: For the person transferring control, it means giving up their life’s work; for the transferee, it means founding a sustainable existence. For this to succeed, strategically well-thought-out planning is necessary. This is because, in addition to the personal aspects, many businesses, tax and legal questions need to be clarified. Here, the CCI experts are personally available to support their members.

  • Succession exchanges: If no suitable candidate is found in the business family, the senior members should consider looking for a successor among external interested parties. Not only the nationwide succession exchange next-change but also a CCI’s own exchange platform can be of help. Anyone looking for a successor from the region can find one here. Cross-border exchanges are also part of the service. Companies can find further information and an overview of the succession exchanges on the homepage.

  • Emergency handbook: By now, entrepreneurs have long known how important it is to take precautions against their own failure. Nevertheless, the willingness to deal with this topic is low. In order to avert additional damage to the business in such cases, however, it is particularly important for all companies to draw up an emergency manual. It answers questions like Who can and should take care of the company in case of illness or accident experienced by the owner? Who will temporarily or permanently take on the most important tasks? What powers of attorney are required for this? What further measures are necessary to ensure that the company remains capable of acting in financial, legal, tax and business management terms? Which access codes and passwords must be passed on? A contingency plan therefore defines the urgently required steps to ensure the company’s ability to act. The CCI’s emergency manual, which can be found on the CCI’s website and which is intended to be a source of stimulus, orientation and a useful tool, tells companies what they should take into account.

A few years ago, the CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria significantly increased its services for company handovers and successors. The most important reason for this is the demographic change. The average age of the entrepreneurs is increasing; a circumstance that shapes not only the German but also the Bavarian economy. According to the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, almost 30,000 companies with just over 500,000 employees in Bavaria alone are facing a generational change between 2017 and 2021. Companies are finding it increasingly difficult to find suitable successors. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry therefore sees it as one of its most important tasks to help its members with often complex and stressful processes such as the handover—with valuable and useful tools. (Look at Fig. 6.4.)

Fig. 6.4
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In the years 2017–2021, these sectors are facing the most transfers from one generation to the next in Bavaria

Case study 1: Telephone Consultation Days—Advancing the Handover Process

The telephone consultation days have proved to be a hit. Only recently, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria introduced this targeted telephone consultation on succession issues for all members. Company bosses seeking competent advice can register for the telephone consultation days. CCI succession experts, who have a lot of experience, help even with difficult problems—and are again pleased about the great response: The experts count 40–50 calls on such consultation days.

The knowledge requirements of the callers range from simple questions, such as which preparation time companies should best allow for, to complex corporate law or tax issues. In such cases, the succession experts refer members to the appropriate CCI expert colleagues. Emotional and psychological issues are also raised, addressed and discussed time and again.

The special advantage of the telephone consultation days: Whoever wants can remain anonymous. This makes it easier for many entrepreneurs to talk not only about the major hurdles they still face but also about their own fears and concerns. In most cases, the CCI succession experts are able to provide appropriate impulses even in such delicate cases, which will help to move the handover process a step further.

Case Study 2: Portrait of the Successor Laura Sasse, Dr. Sasse AG—“Holding On to the Opportunities for the Company”

Dr. Laura Sasse, Photo Credit: Dr. Sasse AG

figure b

Digitalisation? Let the young people do it… In wide circles of the economy this form of “ignoring by delegating” is still common: This ominous Generation Y, grown up with a smartphone in their hands—let them take care of the internet and the like, if they enjoy it so much! It is more than a generational conflict or a “clash of cultures” that is reflected in this attitude. It is one of the many symptoms that make efficient succession planning in German companies difficult.

From this scenario, only the following applies to Laura Sasse: She is “the young one” who is concerned with “the new”. In her case, this means dealing with a sustainable corporate strategy. “We are a family business. And in a family, everyone takes on the tasks that suit them best”, says the 29-year-old. “In my case that’s digitalisation. We have recognised that it is a key function for the future of our company, in which I will take on management responsibility. So let me do the groundwork… in the knowledge that the changes we are initiating today will have the desired impact on the state of our business, which we must shape and position in the market in the future as the corporate management body”.

After graduating with a Masters in International Management and a PhD in Business Ethics and after spending several years in controlling and sales within the family business, she is now the “Chief Digital Officer” of Dr. Sasse AG, a large medium-sized company in the otherwise very small-scale structured German facility management industry. Her parents, who built up the company and still run it as board members, did not force her to take on this position. “I decided for myself, just as I decided of my own volition to take over responsibility for succession at the top of the company”, says Laura Sasse, before confirming the following: “As a family, we want to hold on to the opportunities for our company in future”.

We—that includes her sister Clara, who is currently gaining her own experience at an international management consultancy. Both will move up to the board of directors of the AG in the foreseeable future and then take over responsibility for more than 6,000 employees. A role for which they feel well prepared. Not only because they were both allowed to get a taste of their employees’ real working lives for a few months. Clara gained experience cleaning buses in England and Laura cleaned the sanitary facilities at Munich Airport. With a mop and bucket. “This knowledge is one of a manager’s most valuable tools”, says the young future entrepreneur. “It is the basis for all decisions”.

For example, for the decision to equip all managers with tablets. There are quite a few. This is because in flat hierarchies with autonomous teams, their number reaches a high three-digit figure. “Not everyone may realise it at first glance, but facility management is a people’s business”, explains Laura Sasse. “We make sure that people can rely on their workplace, and that they feel comfortable because it is clean and all the facilities function smoothly. Technology helps us bring this about. But all processes, all measures are driven by communication between the people involved”.

And what does that have to do with the tablets? They facilitate and speed up this communication because they help to capture and process all key data with unprecedented speed and accuracy. “Instead of spending a lot of time and effort on creating documentation, our employees now have time to talk to customers in detail about the data and the messages it contains. This is added value that takes us further than a cleaning robot”, affirms the Chief Digital Officer.

She moves extremely confidently across the terrain of facility management, which has long since meant more than just cleaning equipment and buildings. Facility Management today is a holistic task for maintaining the value of all mobile and immobile capital goods of companies and derives its quality from the fact that service providers and clients meet on equal footing. The term “value-added partnership” is deeply rooted in Sasse’s family vocabulary.

The same applies to the awareness of a life as an entrepreneur. Whereby Laura Sasse attaches importance to the fact that she “was not born an entrepreneur and was not brought up to be one”. But she “grew up in the middle of an entrepreneurial family”. The subtle difference lies in the freedom in which she was able to make her personal decision as to where her career path should lead her. “I was able to observe from an early age what it is like when both parents are active as entrepreneurs. How they think, how they act, what matters to them, what they keep their distance from—all this was always in front of my and my sister’s eyes. At the kitchen table, we talked about what happened in the company and about our experiences at school—that was normal everyday life”. In her view, the inestimable value of this immediacy: “We had insight into simply everything—including how our parents felt as entrepreneurs”.

Sometimes this normality also generated strange consequences. On the way to their holidays, the family regularly visited customers or business partners. “Mr. and Mrs. Sasse and their daughters” were on the list of visitors, although many a host did not realise from the outset that the daughters were four and eight. “So often things were improvised”, Laura Sasse remembers with a smile—as well as the fact that she sometimes held short speeches in front of guests or employees. “My parents’ trust in my ability and that nothing could go wrong had an effect on me. I thought it was good to be there for my company”. Thus, it was not a big step to the model of the honourable merchant, who sees himself or herself not only as an entrepreneur but also as a role model in society.

Which is why Laura Sasse, who is now a member of the “Corporate Responsibility” committee of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, agrees with the work of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in several aspects—even as a representative of the “New School” on management issues. “The level of cooperation within the Chamber of Commerce and Industry reminds me of the strengths of a classic British club: space for an open network in which, in a pleasant atmosphere and at eye level, you can gain knowledge and insight that you cannot buy from a consultant”, she summarises in her assessment. “The rules are transparent and binding, the willingness to stand up for one another is something that goes without saying and the values that unite us are non-negotiable”.

Among the many networks vying for the next generation of entrepreneurs, the CCI stands out as a democratically structured, neutral institution. “As young executives, for whom independence is a great asset, we react very sensitively to this difference”.

Especially for successors in their own family business or as a start-up, the open access to the broad-based wealth of experience of the companies in a region is extremely valuable, “especially since we receive this advice without the self-interest of the advisors”.

What she also observes in the generations of entrepreneurs gathered there is that they do not see “corporate social responsibility” as a fashionable term, but take it at its word. She has a keen sense of serious commitment. She herself, who spent a large part of her training period in the UK and learned that “litter picking” is just as much a matter of course as mentoring other young people. She, who after graduating from senior school spent a quarter of a year in Tanzania helping to build schools and supporting women in starting their own small businesses. “You have to see yourself as a role model for social commitment” she says, “then you can anchor such responsibility within the company”.

Box: Dr. Sasse AG

Sasse Group is an internationally active family business and one of the leading German facility management providers. Founded in 1976, the Group of companies has its headquarters in Munich. As a family business, Dr. Sasse AG is primarily concerned with personal responsibility for employees, customers and partners. With its name, the Sasse family stands for the high quality of services and for a responsible, people-oriented management style. It exemplifies an understanding of closeness and mindfulness, which permeates the entire company. The company employs about 6,000 people. Laura Sasse will take over the family business with her sister Clara.

CCI commitment: Laura Sasse is a member of the committee “Corporate Responsibility” of the CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria.

Securing Skilled Employees—Arming Member Companies Against the Threat of Skilled Labour Shortages

In Bavaria, a growing number of jobs cannot be filled. The Bavarian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and especially the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria, have developed comprehensive proposals here to help companies secure skilled workers.

The economic strength of many companies and the flourishing economy that has been going strong for years have brought great success to the Free State—but also a problem that is constantly worsening: skilled workers are becoming scarce. As the latest CCI “Fachkräftereport” (Chamber of Commerce and Industry Report on Skilled Workers) revealed, two out of three Bavarian companies now see a shortage of skilled workers as a major risk to their business. In 2012, only one in three Bavarian companies expressed concern that they would not be able to fill every job.

Almost Half a Million Skilled Workers Will Be Missing by 2030

The bottom line is that about five percent of all jobs require a professional qualification and are currently unfilled in Bavaria. In absolute figures, this totals roughly 260,000 jobs. This is nearly equivalent to the population of Augsburg, the third largest city in Bavaria. Above all, IT experts, industrial clerks, office clerks, technicians of all kinds, as well as educators and other social professions are urgently sought after. In view of the fact that companies have to postpone or refuse orders due to lack of capacity, the Bavarian economy will suffer losses in added value of an estimated EUR 23 billion in 2018 alone. The problem will intensify further in the coming years. By 2030, there will probably be a shortage of 450,000 skilled workers, which means that the economy will probably lose around 51 EUR billion in added value. (Look at Figs. 6.5, 6.6 and 6.7.)

Fig. 6.5
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Gap between supply and demand: In Bavaria, fewer skilled workers are available than are needed—compared with 2018 and 2030 (forecast)

Fig. 6.6
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Bavaria has a lack of these specialists in particular–comparison of the occupational groups in 2019 and 2030 (forecast)

Fig. 6.7
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Which industries in Bavaria are particularly affected by the shortage of skilled workers—comparison of 2019 and 2030 (forecast)

Practical Tips for Companies

The Bavarian Chambers of Commerce and Industry have therefore declared the securing of skilled workers to be one of their main topics of concern. With great commitment, they point out to companies the potential of individual target groups that still need to be exploited, they present measures for greater employer attractiveness, and they lobby the legislator for better framework conditions. They regularly communicate the escalating problem and practical solutions in practice-oriented brochures, on their home pages, in their print media, in their press and public relations work and at events. For example, once a year the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria organises a so-called “Future Congress”, which constantly presents new aspects of securing skilled workers and gives the HR Managers and entrepreneurs—typically around 150 in participant numbers—many practical impulses. The CCI speakers also organise visits and viewings for their members to companies that set a good example of securing skilled workers with successful personnel strategies. Such appointments are in great demand because companies prefer to learn from other companies. In addition, CCI employees are also happy to advise company owners and HR managers in individual discussions or visit them at their location. And last but not least, the CCIs network in supra-regional alliances and work in close cooperation with other players to secure skilled labour.

These are the most important measures that the CCIs communicate in order to secure skilled labour:

  • Dual vocational training: The first undisputed way to secure skilled labour is always dual vocational training: Some employers can already alleviate the shortage of skilled workers with a higher training quota. If it takes on additional young people as trainees today, it can bind them to the company permanently in 3 years. The CCI training department in particular provides companies with numerous ideas (see also the article on training in Chap. 5).

  • Greater employee diversity: It is at least as important to tap into additional employee target groups. Target groups with potential, but which HR departments often dedicate far too little attention to, are women or mothers, older employees over 50 or people with disabilities. Recruiting these high-potential employees is easier if employers take their special needs into account, such as part-time work, company childcare or specially equipped workplaces.

  • Recruitment of foreign specialists: The German labour market alone is not sufficient to cover the current demand for specialists. This is why the Bavarian economy also needs the immigration of skilled workers from abroad. The Munich Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI München) is actively involved in promoting immigration. It informs companies in events, the CCI media and brochures about the possibilities of recruitment, promotion and integration and has also had the renowned Munich Ifo Institute conduct a study to develop approaches to improve the framework conditions for immigration. A central, nationwide review of foreign qualifications for their equivalence with German qualifications is carried out by the CCI Foreign Skills Approval (CCI-FOSA) in Nuremberg (see also article Chap. 5). At the same time, the CCI promotes the integration of refugees into the labour market by providing information and concrete advice (see also article in Chap. 7).

  • Employer attractiveness: Some skilled workers attach importance to canteen food produced from fair trade products. Others are pleased if their employer offers company health management, a good work-life balance or more equal opportunities for women. With such measures, an employer lets his employees know that he values them and their work and wants to create jobs with a feel-good factor. At the same time, he or she builds up his or her image as an attractive employer. Here are a few concrete ideas that the CCI suggests:

    • Family friendliness: The compatibility of family and career is probably the greatest asset with which companies can grow when recruiting specialists. A Germany-wide survey shows that around 90 percent of employees with children would even change employers to achieve a good work–life balance. Measures such as flexible working hours, home office or company childcare and holiday care have been tried and tested. Since more and more employees—especially women—are looking after relatives in need of care, the compatibility of work and care is becoming more and more important. Here, in addition to flexible working hours or home office, companies can also score points with so-called “care pilots” who support employees in organising care at home.

    • Occupational Health Management (OHM): With this, employers voluntarily go beyond the legally required occupational health and safety standards—and this is something well received by their employees. Proven measures include free drinks or fruit at the workplace, free or discounted visits to fitness studios, sports activities during working hours, anti-smoking courses and much more. The special focus on keeping older employees healthy is also an important aspect of the company’s health strategy. A new field in OHM and thus also for companies is the mental health of employees.

    • Equal opportunities: In terms of careers, women fall behind men in terms of family work, which in Germany is still mostly a woman’s job. The higher the position, the fewer the women. Apart from the fact that mixed teams are more creative and innovative, especially at the top, and make companies more successful, special career offers for women also increase the attractiveness of employers. These include mentoring approaches, an internal women’s quota or offers to balance family and career. Conversely, it is also important to allow fathers more family time and support.

    • Working world of the future: The working world is becoming increasingly digital. However, companies must not only provide their employees with technical qualifications for these new working environments. The new working environment also includes new forms of work such as agile working, more flexibility, a move away from the culture of presenteeism, and working hours and places of trust. Positioning oneself here also makes companies attractive for skilled workers.

Commitment to Better Conditions

However, securing skilled workers is not only the task of the companies, they also need political support in many areas. The CCI therefore not only provides information and advice but also advocates for appropriate framework conditions: comprehensive, flexible state childcare, all-day schools, the expansion of state care centres, less bureaucracy, better additional income opportunities for older people who already receive a pension, easier needs-based immigration through immigration law, better integration of refugees into the labour market, easier tax accounting for health measures. The proposal for an immigration law, which the Munich Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) presented together with the Ifo Institute, has also been included in part in the federal government’s draft bill.

Networking in Supra-Regional Alliances

And last but not least, the CCI is looking to advance all these goals together with others. This is because many things are easier together. Three alliances in particular should be mentioned: On a national level, the Alliance for Skilled Workers (Allianz für Fachkräfte) and the company network “Erfolgsfaktor Familie” have existed for many years. Both were co-founded by the CCI organisation. They are characterised by events and useful information on the topic of family and career. Since 2015, there is also the Bavarian Family Pact (see case study below).

Box: The CCI’s Specialist Employee Monitor for Bavaria: The “Fachkräftemonitor”—Managing the Shortage of Skilled Workers

For years, different, even contradictory figures were circulating about the shortage of skilled workers in Bavaria. With the “Fachkräftemonitor”, the Association of Bavarian Chambers of Commerce and Industry has a reliable market research tool that provides precise data on the supply and demand for skilled workers in Bavaria based on sound statistics. The monitor, developed by the economic research institute WifOR in Darmstadt, measures the shortage of labour for occupational groups, industries and chamber districts. It can also break the issue down to individual professions and regions, thus providing many companies with a precise picture of how strongly they are actually affected by the shortage of skilled workers and how this problem could become even more acute in the coming years. This tool has also met with lively interest from those chambers of commerce and industry outside Bavaria; chambers of commerce and industry in nine German states now offer this tool.

Case study: The Bavarian Family Pact—Making It Easier to Reconcile Family and Career and Thus Attract More Skilled Workers

The chambers of commerce and industry regularly seek to close ranks with other players in order to support companies in securing skilled labour. One such example is the Bavarian Family Pact, which the Bavarian state government launched in 2015 with the Association of Bavarian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Bavarian Association of Skilled Crafts (BHT) and the Bavarian Business Association (vbw). The initiative aims to promote and communicate solutions for a better work-life balance. Lectures and information events are held regularly for companies. Employers who are planning appropriate measures can obtain advice from a service centre in Munich. Any company can join the Family Pact as a member and then advertise with the Family Pact logo. By joining, the company becomes part of a network that exchanges information about family-friendly measures in the company and thus continuously develops its own benchmarks. The pact now has almost 900 companies and network partners. Every 2 years, the initiative holds a competition to which particularly family-friendly companies can apply. Twenty winners are selected and awarded for their commitment at a ceremony. The spectrum ranges from global players to small and medium-sized companies, to local inns.

Energy, Environmental and Raw Materials Consulting—Side by Side with Companies into a Sustainable Future

Rising prices and new legal requirements present many companies with significant hurdles in the supply of energy and raw materials and in the implementation of environmental and climate protection. The CCI advises and supports companies on how they can make their contribution to climate and environmental protection with voluntary measures. Such voluntary measures can also be more efficient than legal regulations. In addition, the CCI is committed to removing unnecessary hurdles.

When it comes to the challenges of the future, energy, the environment and raw materials are at the top of the agenda for many companies. The companies have to modernise their energy supply, make their production as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible and ensure their raw material supply in the long term. They need creative and forward-looking concepts and technological solutions

  • for their contribution to the implementation of the “Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development”—worldwide as well as locally,

  • to handle the long-term consequences of the so-called energy transition, with which Germany will manage to phase out nuclear energy by 2022 and will progressively switch its energy supply to fossil and renewable energy sources,

  • for the current (and constant rising) electricity prices,

  • for environmental legislation on recycling, product returns and packaging, among other things, and

  • for impending bottlenecks or price explosions affecting important raw materials.

Cooperation of the Bavarian Chambers of Commerce and Industry with Other Stakeholders and Politics

The CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria recognises and anticipates these challenges in discussions with its members and offers companies numerous services such as initial advice, events or publications as well as projects, forms of cooperation and initiatives. In most cases, it joins forces with the other Bavarian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Together they then seek—usually with other business organisations and associations—to close ranks with the Bavarian state government. After all, environmental protection and energy issues do not stop at the CCI district border. Close coordination between business and politics has repeatedly enabled sensational projects, which have often attracted attention far beyond the borders of the Free State.

Exemplary “Bavarian Environmental Pact”

One example of such successful cooperation between business and politics is the Bavarian Environmental Pact, which was first negotiated in 1995 by the Association of Bavarian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Bavarian Association of Skilled Crafts (BHT) and the Bavarian Business Association (vbw) with the State Chancellery and several State Ministries and has since been renewed every 5 years. In each pact phase, all pact members—i.e. companies—define individual projects that reconcile ecology and economy and save costs, resources and administrative work. At the same time, the pact sets important overarching milestones. In the case of the latest Environmental Pact 2015, this was the Resource Efficiency Centre of Bavaria (REZ).

The vast majority of those individually planned projects are successfully implemented by the pact members and confirm the CCIs in their conviction that, on balance, voluntary measures by companies can be significantly more effective than statutory state regulations. Compared to other German states, Bavaria has, in fact, passed far fewer laws and regulations on energy, environmental and raw materials issues.

Energy Efficiency Network Initiative

The Chambers of Commerce and Industry also achieved a major success in the field of energy efficiency. In 2014, the Chambers of Commerce and Industry, other trade associations and the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs founded the Bavarian Energy Efficiency Network Initiative (BEEN-I). The BEEN-I is the Bavarian implementation of the nationwide Energy Efficiency Network Initiative. It supports cooperation between 5 and 12 companies with above-average energy consumption. These companies work together for 2–4 years and agree on a joint savings target based on individual savings that each participant has defined for his or her locations. This target is reported to a coordination office in2 the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Qualified energy consultants, who are co-financed by a federal subsidy programme, help to implement the targets and achieve the goals.

The successes are considerable. In the first 4 years, Bavarian companies founded more than 30 networks, in some of which the CO2 emissions of the network members fell by multiples of 10,000 tonnes. Global players such as Allianz, BMW and Siemens were just as successful in this project as many small and medium-sized companies. Compared with other German states that had launched similar projects in Berlin as part of the federal government’s nationwide initiative, Bavaria scored significantly higher. Bavaria is thus also contributing to the global 2-degree target, the goal of international climate policy to limit global warming to less than two degrees Celsius by the year 2100, and is thus supporting the Paris Climate Protection Agreement. (Look at Fig. 6.8.)

Fig. 6.8
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Committed to environmental and climate protection: How Bavarian companies are increasing energy efficiency

Advocacy Regarding Power Lines from the North

Despite all these joint projects and successes, the Bavarian Chambers of Commerce and Industry does not shy away from conflict with the Bavarian state government, if necessary. When, for example, new power lines were to be built from northern Germany to Bavaria to transport electricity from the wind turbines in northern Germany to southern Germany, there were clear differences between politics and industry. Industry wanted the power lines as quickly as possible and saw them as a guarantee for long-term energy security without nuclear power after the energy transition. However, the politicians wanted to give into massive resistance from the population, who did not want the power lines in the form of the planned overhead lines. In the end, a compromise was reached. With the construction of underground power lines, politics and the economy are taking into account the concerns of the population, while also securing the supply of electricity. But the next conflict is already simmering: With regard to the power supply of the future, the Chambers of Commerce and Industry are arguing for hydroelectric power, which has a long tradition in Bavaria. Here, however, politicians are once again confronted with resistance from the regional population, which rejects the construction of reservoirs. Here, too, the CCIs will work towards a compromise.

Further Challenges for Environment, Energy, Raw Materials

Despite all the great steps taken, there is no lack of challenges for the future. Following are three essential topics on which the Bavarian Chambers of Commerce and Industry will continue to work together in the fields of environment, energy and raw materials:

  • Plastic waste: Over the next few years, Bavarian companies will have to find solutions to the growing problem of plastic waste; the European Union wants to contain the use with bans and other measures. In addition, the waste management industry is to increase its (already high) plastic recycling rates of around 75 percent without having to landfill additional waste contaminated with pollutants.

  • Energy efficiency: A great deal has already been achieved in this area through the Energy Efficiency Network Initiative, but the challenges of saving more energy still remain.

  • Raw material extraction: The bavarian industry is currently facing unprecedented hurdles in the extraction of raw materials. New legal requirements for environmental protection and nature conservation as well as resistance in local politics and among the population are making it more difficult to develop raw material deposits and extract raw materials. The raw materials concerned include, for example, the stones and earth needed for the construction of new rail and road routes. Simply digging a gravel pit, mining the raw materials and later converting them into a quarry pond is no longer possible today. In a guideline for securing raw materials, the Association of Bavarian Chambers of Commerce and Industry provides recommendations on what entrepreneurs have to take into account when it comes to licensing law and specialist legislation, how they can make mining as environmentally friendly as possible and what has to be taken into account when re-cultivating a mining area.

Case study 1: Bavarian Environmental Pact—Protecting the Environment with Individual Measures

The Bavarian Environmental Pact is a true gem: when the Bavarian Chambers of Commerce, trade associations and the state government decided to reissue it in 2015, it was already 20 years old. The first Environmental Pact was concluded in 1995, followed by four extensions. The current environmental pact was signed in 2015 and is set to run until 2020. Several thousand companies have participated in all environmental pacts. Targeted measures are being taken to conserve resources, save energy, avoid waste, reduce CO2 emissions and make supply chains sustainable: These are the main goals of the Environmental Pact. For small and medium-sized companies, in particular, the pact opens up a wide range of opportunities to get their consumption and costs under control with simple means. Each participant undertakes to exceed legal requirements for environmental protection and sustainability with voluntary individual measures. The results are sometimes surprising product and process innovations or helpful practical tools:

  • In recent years, the participating companies have developed, among other things, resource-saving repairs of electronic assemblies, oil products from waste sludge, mechanical processes for the reduction of packaging or environmentally friendly concepts for wood treatment.

  • Experience has shown that the fastest way to protect the environment is to separate waste. Corresponding measures are easy to implement, and there is no shortage of disposal service providers who accept and pay for secondary raw materials such as waste paper, waste metals or waste grease in Bavaria. Through the Environmental Pact, companies have worked on a range of new solutions.

  • The use of transport bikes and e-cars in commercial transport, the replacement of raw materials with recycled materials in production and investment in energy-saving technologies also help. Here, too, many companies have set out on the road laid out by the Environmental Pact and have found new solutions. Incidentally, the Munich Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been strongly committed to the use of cargo bikes as an alternative means of transport for many years and advises its members accordingly.

  • In a further pilot project under the Environmental Pact, practical guidelines were developed for anchoring ecological, economic and social issues in the entire supply chain. This practical tool for sustainable supply chain management, which has already been tested in many companies, is available on the pages of the Bavarian Environmental Pact.

High Success Rate in Project Implementation

According to previous experience, 98 percent of the participants spare no effort in achieving the promised goals. In many cases, they are helped by training selected employees to become energy managers who support them in implementing the measures that have been decided upon. With the help of measurement data and key figures, these employees then keep records of energy consumption and help their companies increase energy efficiency and reduce electricity costs. The CCI Academy, among others, train energy managers. As a further building block for efficient energy management, the CCI organisation offers a qualification measure for trainees/apprentices to become energy scouts within the framework of the SME initiative “Energiewende und Klimaschutz” (“Energy Transition and Climate Protection”). In this way, the trainees can contribute to identifying and documenting energy-saving potential in their training companies and to stimulating effective improvements. The CCI Academy also offers seminars in this area.

The Bavarian CCIs themselves also support the participants in implementing their projects.

Image Gain Through the Use of the Environmental Pact Logo

In addition to saving resources and costs, the participants also benefit from using the eye-catching design of the Environmental Pact logo, which they are allowed to use in all their advertising work. Companies regularly report that they are approached by customers about their participation in this endeavour.

Extension of the Environmental Pact Every 5 Years

The Environmental Pact is adopted for 5 years at a time. Companies looking to join again in a new edition must decide on a new individual package of measures for their membership, so they cannot rest on their laurels from the past. This contributes to the fact that especially companies with above-average environmental awareness are continuously improving. They often discover further potential for saving energy consumption when they re-examine long-standing processes or use new technologies, or come across other issues such as biodiversity. This is because when it comes to sustainability and energy efficiency, there is always room for improvement.

Case Study 2: A Look Inside the Companies—Gearing Up Climate Protection

Bavarian companies contribute to climate protection with good ideas. The following Bavarian examples show how it can be done practically and how much CO2 they saved.

Schreiner Group: The climate - neutral building.

Schreiner Group in Oberschleissheim, an international high-tech company for innovative functional labels, has wholeheartedly embraced a green building concept: An energy-efficient office complex for 230 employees was to be developed according to the motto “zero CO2 emissions” by installing

  • air conditioning systems that use groundwater: heat pumps that operate heating and cooling ceilings

  • air conditioning systems with ionised air: These save 25 percent air exchange

  • triple-glazed windows and internal slats

  • automatic lighting control through light sensors, motion detectors and LED lights

  • Green electricity

The result: 0.0 t CO2 emissions from the new company building VI.

Irlbacher: Energy efficiency at all levels

As part of an overall resource-saving concept—for renewable energy systems, with highly efficient heat recovery as well as utilisation—the special glass manufacturer Irlbacher constructed an additional production hall in Schönsee in 2012, which does entirely without fossil energies for heating technology. In the new production hall, CO2 emissions were reduced by 300 tonnes per year. An energy management system was introduced in 2015 to continuously expand these and other energy and resource efficiency measures.

Since 1997, the continuously improved water treatment systems have been cleaning approximately 1.2 million litres of grinding emulsion per hour, which is then returned to the machines. From this treated water, a heat output of approximately 260 kW is extracted with the help of heat pumps, which does not need to be generated elsewhere. This corresponds to a saving of about 117 tons of CO2.

In addition, a central vacuum supply system was set up in 2016 and extended across the entire plant in 2017, which will save around 68 tonnes of CO2 per year. By further optimising the current heat supply via heat pumps that utilise geothermal probes (heating and passive cooling), a further 24 tonnes of CO2 has been saved since 2018.

In 2020, Irlbacher will build an energy supply centre with three combined heat and power (CHP) units—including an absorption chiller and the extraction of exhaust gas heat on a thermal oil basis. In summer, the heat from the engines will be used to generate cold in an absorption refrigeration machine and the waste heat from the exhaust gas will be used to transfer heat to thermal oil as a heat transfer medium. The current cold supply via the heat pumps is replaced by the highly efficient cold generation from the absorption chiller, which means a saving of about 240 tons of CO2. In order to make even more use of the exhaust gases from the CHPs, new dryers are being developed which use the heat from the thermal oil for the drying processes. The conversion to the new highly efficient dryers will save approximately another 249 tons of CO2. The heat in winter from the engines replaces the heat from the heat pumps with a CO2 saving of around 300 tonnes. The electricity generated by the co-generation units is used entirely in the plant, which means that less electricity has to be purchased. In order to realise this saving in electricity purchasing, natural gas must be purchased. Due to the changeover from electricity to natural gas, a further CO2 saving of around 371 tonnes is achieved. This means that the energy centre alone will save around 1,160 tonnes of CO2 annually from 2020 onwards.

VP Group: Energy Scouts and their success story.

The manufacturer’s idea for innovative packaging solutions in Munich: Trainees learn to detect energy weaknesses. As part of an additional CCI training course, they become young professionals in the use of measuring instruments, communication, organisation and carry out their own efficiency project in the company. This means that packaging specialists benefit from three effects at once: The environmental benefits. The company also benefits—think of cost savings through reduced energy consumption—and the trainees benefit even more: To carry out a meaningful and responsible project independently is extremely motivating. The figures: roughly 340,000 kWh energy savings per year

ebm papst: Setting the wheels firmly in motion

For companies, too, the question of how individual mobility can be ensured without a car is essential. The world’s leading manufacturer of fans and motors has not only motivated its employees to cycle but has also done something to keep them on the pedals. From the introduction of the “Dienstrad” or “service bicycle” to spring inspections and cycling tours such as “Landshuter Stadtradeln”, all this effort led to

  • the award as a “bicycle-friendly company”

  • a lot of exercise per person

  • and about 35,600 kilograms less CO2 per year.

CHMS: A stunningly clean performance

The family-run CHMS is a laundry for towel rolls, dirty mats and mops in the Franconian district of Coburg. It has implemented innovative energy and water-saving concept that covers the entire laundry. This was implemented in cooperation with the Technical University of Nuremberg at the Rödental site (Upper Franconia).

  • The networking of all water circuits in the laundry resulted in considerable water savings. In addition to the use of rainwater and the treatment of wastewater, the water from the washing and rinsing processes is used several times.

  • Among other things, the energy savings are achieved by using the waste heat from wastewater, the exhaust air from dryers and part of the energy from a newly installed gas turbine-based combined heat and power plant in other processes. The dryer concept is also highly innovative. Here, residual heat from the washing process is used in a pilot plant for complete textile drying. Whereas previous dryers still required 700 to 800 watts per kilogram of laundry, the new development of cascade drying will probably manage with 130 watts.

As a result, twelve million litres of water, 2677 megawatt hours of electricity and 657 tonnes of CO2 will be saved each year. At the same time, the amount of washing chemicals used will be reduced by around 1.2 tons per year—while maintaining the same washing quality.

Delivering on Regionalisation—Creating Competent Local Offices

More regional proximity: The Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria has brought its services closer to its members with efficient offices at central locations in Upper Bavaria. The strong presence of local employees has also improved the transfer of knowledge and information as well as increased networking.

In dealing with Europeanisation and globalisation, it can be particularly important to bring district perspectives to bear…. The expertise and experience of all tradespeople working in the region are also in demand with regard to the tasks assigned, namely to conduct examinations and issue certificates. In 2017, for example, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled on the chambers of commerce and industry—and thus simultaneously formulated their traditional self-conception of looking after their chamber district as a whole, as well as the next smaller regional units within the district with the same care. The CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria had already cast this into new structures in 2010. It established five offices in the region. This was also in response to the wishes of members outside Munich. These members had to accept long distances to the state capital for many services until the offices were opened. The chamber district of Upper Bavaria is very large, covering an area of more than 17,000 square kilometres. With well-equipped local offices, both in terms of staff and expertise, the distances for non-Munich residents became shorter, so they felt better served. As a positive side effect, local networking was also strengthened.

Strategic Branch Office Instead of a Regional Office

Of the two possible options for regionalisation, one was quickly discarded: It would have been conceivable to duplicate the CCI offices that already existed in some places in the past to handle organisational and administrative tasks. Each district would then have been given its own corresponding unit. However, this would have brought little in terms of efficiency gains and the benefits for the members would have been limited. In the public perception, the offices would have had the function of a “managed mailbox” rather than a noticeable presence.

Tasks of the Local Offices

The second option was to establish strategically placed regional offices on site. This was chosen. With locations in Rosenheim, Ingolstadt, Weilheim and Mühldorf, the offices are now spread over a large area in the economic region of Upper Bavaria and ensure short distances between members, committees and the representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. An additional, fifth branch office takes care of the regional committees in the administrative districts located around the state capital Munich. This ensures that their topics and concerns are not just seen as a side effect of Munich but also enjoy their own status.

The offices are active in these fields:

  • Public and service tasks assigned by the state: The teams at the branch offices make many functions and services available to the business community close to the location, which were previously only available at headquarters. For example, the branch offices provide entrepreneurs with start-up, business management and educational advice. Examinations in commercial and technical fields are also held locally. If members previously had to travel to Munich, they now often only need to visit the neighbourhood.

  • Representation of interests: The managers of the new offices, together with their staff, can now also take up the needs and impulses from the administrative districts more comprehensively and with greater frequency than before—the bottom line is a significantly increased transfer of knowledge from the companies and locations into the overall organisation and real added value for the efficiency and design capability of the CCI.

  • Information hub: The offices see themselves as hubs in the flow of information:

    Collect—distribute—deliver back, paying attention to efficiency and speed. This is also reflected in the growing number of own events with which the offices cover the needs of local entrepreneurs.

The management of the CCI offices is in the hands of executives who are familiar with entrepreneurial thought and action. This ensures that the CCI contact persons can communicate and act on an equal footing with the members and that the anchoring of the branch offices (and thus of the CCI) in the regional business-related networks continues to progress.

Similarities but also Many Differences

The direct and frequent contact with members from the region as well as with local representatives undertaking volunteer work is an important asset of the new offices. Especially since another aspect plays an important role in the work of the full-time staff, which is now being talked about primarily on a global level: diversity. After all, even in a comparatively small area, the cultural uniqueness of the individual administrative districts should not be underestimated, which manifests itself in their own structure, in a specific corporate landscapebut also in the language and culture of each region. The employees in the branch offices move in direct proximity to this environment, both organisationally and culturally. This enables them to recognise the very specific needs of the regional entrepreneurs for whom (and with whom) they work and to take them into account more effectively.

Box: This is How the Upper Bavarian Districts are Distributed Among the Branch Offices

Ingolstadt office




Pfaffenhofen a.d. Ilm

Mühldorf office



Munich region office







München Landkreis

Rosenheim office

Berchtesgadener Land




Weilheim office

Bad Tölz



Landsberg am Lech



CCI Academy Munich—Promoting Business and the Economy Through Education

In order for a location to remain competitive, it needs not only good general education schools and universities but also vocational further education and training opportunities that meet the needs of the population. The CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria realises this in its own CCI Academy.

If you ask people on the street what they actually associate with a chamber of commerce and industry, the first thing that comes to mind is training and further education. This is not only due to the dual vocational training system supported by the chambers but also due to the CCI’s own academies, which the CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria and other CCIs founded and have continuously expanded.

Reaction to the Educational Discussion of the 1960s

The founding of CCI academies began in the 1970s—as a reaction to an educational policy outcry that had passed through the Federal Republic of Germany a few years earlier, in the mid-1960s. Educational policy-makers, companies, trade unions, teachers and parents feared that West Germany at the time would be left behind in terms of education. Above all, continuing vocational training seemed to be inadequate. This was also complained about by companies everywhere. Although the adult education centres offered courses in shorthand and typing, was this really enough to keep Germany innovative and competitive? All this led to a broad debate on education not only in society and politics but also in the economy and the chambers of commerce and industry.

Start of the CCI Academy in 1977 in Feldkirchen-Westerham

In Munich and Upper Bavaria, too, primary and honorary positions discussed the importance of vocational education and training in depth. The members demanded that the Munich Chamber of Commerce and Industry should become more strongly and systematically involved in continuing education. The result was the foundation of the CCI Academy in 1977, initially at the CCI’s location in Feldkirchen-Westerham. Contemplatively situated in the forest, with a hotel business linked to it and excellent food, it enables the students to concentrate completely on learning. In the 80 s, Munich was added as a further academy location. The Munich CCI Academy was the first CCI Academy in the old Federal Republic of Germany. Today it is the largest CCI academy in Germany. Its legal form is the gGmbH (non-profit limited liability company). It works with a core of around 1300 trainers and offers more than 1100 courses and seminars.

Role and Tasks of the CCI in Further Education

A brief recap of the German system of vocational education and training is provided here (see also Chap. 5):

  • Dual vocational training stands for the entry into a profession, which usually consists of a 3-year dual training programme in companies and vocational schools together. This is the famous dual vocational system.

  • Further training in the sense of a higher qualification under public law (also higher vocational training under the Vocational Training Act) means obtaining the next higher further training qualification recognised under public law in a three-stage system after dual vocational training: These are known in German as “Fachwirte”, “technische Fachwirte”, “Industriefachwirte” and “Meister”, and at the next higher level “Betriebswirte” or “technische Industriemanager”.

  • Further training without examinations under public law means to attain a specific level of vocational further qualification and to be examined not under public law, but nevertheless with a respected, nationwide valid certificate or even just a certificate of participation.

These are the roles of the CCI and CCI Academy:

  • Tasks of the CCI: The CCI itself is responsible for all public tasks related to training and further education in trade, industry and the service sector that are delegated by the state, namely: the registration of trainees and training companies, the appointment of examiners, organising the final examinations for trainees, the final examinations for higher vocational training or even for special professional licences.

  • Tasks of the CCI Academy: The CCI Academy offers preparatory courses in the field of higher vocational training in its programme. However, interested parties can also take these courses at other training providers. The examinations for higher vocational training (for CCI professions), on the other hand—and this is important—can only be taken at the CCI (see above). In addition, the CCI Academy offers an extensive programme of special further training courses, which are not subject to public law, with which companies can support their trainees or employees and which culminate in a certificate of participation or similar.

Offers of the CCI Academy

Just which offers the CCI Academy makes to entrepreneurship is determined by the public education system in the case of higher vocational training. Otherwise the academy orients itself with the organisation of its offering to the market—above all, however, to the needs of the entrepreneurs and other business leaders. Here the close co-operation of primary and honorary offices also plays a key role for the CCI Academy. Topics, which the honorary office brings to the CCI primary office, or in reverse, topics, which the primary office would like to bring into the enterprises, can also become offers of the CCI Academy.

The contents are extremely diverse. A small insight:

  • Higher vocational training: Higher vocational training follows the dual vocational training and ends with an examination under public law. In the end, the employees are then specialists, business economists or master craftsmen. The Academy offers a wide range of preparatory courses here.

  • Further training courses which continuously accompany everyday business life: The topics range from foreign trade, customs, purchasing, marketing, logistics, sales, event management, to accounting and much more. The participants stay up to date in their specialist areas or are made ready for new tasks.

  • Further training courses that pick up on current trends: For example the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) manager, the social media manager or the business mediator. The CCI Academy thus reacts to new needs in the economy and develops a qualified offer—or it places a new offer in order to push a new topic that is important to it through the further vocational training structure.

  • Training support: This is where future trainers are qualified. Companies can also promote and support their trainees with additional knowledge: from apprenticeship telephone training to special apprenticeship mathematics courses.

  • Business start-up: This is a very wide range of services, offering all the subjects that founders need: Basic know-how for founders, preparation of business plans, setting up a sideline business, setting up a business for women or basic knowledge about taxes and legal forms.

  • Personality development and soft skills: This is about communication techniques for managers, new agile working methods, mastering difficult customer conversations, time and self-management, presentation techniques or public speaking—in other words, everything that helps entrepreneurs, managers and employees personally.

Not only in terms of content but also in terms of formats, the CCI Academy is constantly evolving. Blended learning, which combines face-to-face and online learning accounts for a growing share of the offerings. And in-house seminars, which the trainers from the Academy implement directly in the companies, have also been added over the years.

Empowering CCI Employees

At the same time, the Academy is used to make (and keep) the CCI’s own employees fit for business. Further training of its own employees is a high priority for the CCI, which sees it as an important expression of its responsibility and care towards its employees. Newly employed experts learn exactly what the CCI is, how it works and meet twice for three days in Westerham. Employees can also receive further training here for new tasks—for example if event management is added to their job profile. Then the Academy offers the suitable seminar and the CCI finances this further training in full or subsidises it accordingly.

Nationwide Cooperation with DIHK-Bildungs-GmbH

And, last but not least, despite the autonomy of the individual CCIs and their educational institutions, there are also joint educational efforts. DIHK-Bildungs-GmbH in Bonn was founded specifically for this purpose. Together with experts from the field, this company develops educational products and services for the CCIs—especially those that lead to a recognised qualification under public law or certificate and must therefore be valid and uniform throughout Germany. The fact that there are, for example, nationwide uniform further education examinations is thanks to DIHK-Bildungs-GmbH. The products are then used by the regional CCIs and can be offered to companies. The lecturers of the CCI Academies can also use the products of DIHK-Bildungs-GmbH. At the same time, DIHK-Bildungs-GmbH also serves the CCI employees themselves and provides them with further training—incidentally, also in the AHKs across the globe.

Box: Selected Further Training Offers

  • Technical business economist CCI: This in-service training is the third level of higher vocational training according to the Vocational Training Act. It concludes with a nationally-recognised qualification and is aimed at master craftsmen, technicians, technical business economists CCI, engineers with professional experience and media business economists. The course of study lasts 670 h and is completed within 2 years. The aim is to prepare the participants for managerial tasks. To this end, they learn the basics of economic activity (aspects of general economics and business administration, accounting, financing and investment as well as materials, production and sales management) and the subject area of management and leadership (organisation and corporate management, personnel management as well as information and communication technologies).

  • Social Media Manager: This 6-day further training course is aimed at managers and employees from the fields of marketing, advertising, sales, product management and IT. It is deliberately designed for social media beginners and provides specialist knowledge. Participants receive a foundation understanding of all measures and platforms and an overview of important legal aspects. The content includes, for example, the development of a social media strategy, fan and follower development, budget and resource planning, social media marketing, content management or data protection.

  • CSR Manager: The CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Manager training course at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry provides compact knowledge on the integration of Corporate Social Responsibility in the company. It is aimed at managers and decision-makers, employees who are tasked with developing CSR management, as well as other interested parties. The training and qualification as a CSR Manager CCI comprises four modules, which are completed in 1 year. The topics covered are the social, legal and corporate prerequisites of CSR, CSR management processes, CSR instruments and CSR initiatives. The further training concludes with a recognised certificate.

  • AzubiFit—the programme for apprentices: Apprentices encounter an increasingly complex working world. And with the title AzubiFit, the CCI Academy offers various seminars that enable trainees to go beyond their actual training. These include courses such as “Etiquette for Telephone Dialogue”, “Communication”, “Presentation Techniques”, English for everyday office life, training as an Energy Scout or specific preparation for the final examination. The seminars are usually financed by the training companies for the trainees.

  • Time management and self-management: This two-day practical topic presents the essential factors for professional time and work organisation. It is suitable for managers and executives, project leaders and team leaders, employees with initial project and leadership responsibility and for all those who want to optimise their personal time management and individual self-management. The participants analyse their own time situation and sharpen their sense of awareness to ensure the effective handling of time as a key factor in business. They learn to optimise their time and self-management system with the help of specific tools, simple methods, practical instruments and proven application strategies.