Cooperation between German and Austrian entrepreneurs fosters synergies and innovations

Through joint trainings and exchanges of experience, the “Erfolgsmotor 2020” (“Power Drive to Success 2020”) project supports small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to become more competitive.

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" In our region we must continue to learn to cooperate on a high level. This remains an important competitive advantage in the border region. Through the project a wide range of cooperation between enterprises in Lower Bavaria and Upper Austria were established. "

Peter Sonnleitner, Department Head of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Lower Bavaria in Passau

The project aims at strengthening SMEs in the Lower Bavarian-Upper Austrian border region, by providing training courses on innovation competences, entrepreneur capacities and social skills. Among the 1 400 participants, 93 % indicated a high level of satisfaction with the trainings, and stated that at least 20 new long-term cooperation agreements were established through the exchanges triggered by the project.


Lower Bavaria and Upper Austria are not only neighbouring regions, but also regions with similar socio-economic structures. About 99 % of the regions’ companies are SMEs, and altogether the SMEs employ about 64 % of the region’s working population. Such identical background provides ideal conditions for the cooperation project “Erfolgsmotor 2020”, conducted by the Upper Austrian Economic Chamber and Chamber of Industry and Commerce for Lower Bavaria.

In total, around 130 events took place during the project duration from 2009 to 2012. These included 29 training courses, 25 workshops and 68 information seminars. The participating SMEs were active in the sectors of trade, industry, services, hospitality and transport.

Innovation, social skills and entrepreneurial competence

The training measures mainly focused on three elements in order to strengthen the competitiveness of SMEs. The ability to innovate was enhanced by measures to develop entrepreneurial concepts, as well as networks for innovation, tools for product development, the management of ideas and the professional marketing of innovations.

Workshops on conflict management and on communication have also been organised, so as to improve the intercultural skills of the participants. Finally, debate around the concept of entrepreneurial competence has addressed issues such as leadership, resource management and goal-setting.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Erfolgsmotor 2020” is EUR 1 064 947, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) contributing EUR 638 968, through the “Interreg IV-A Germany (Bavaria) - Austria” Operational Programme, for the 2007-2013 programming period.

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