Family Businesses Inspire

Dirk Gropp, head of the family-run Saxonian Bernhard Werner Nahrungsmittel Produktions- und Handels GmbH, is assessing the supplies in the company’s warehouse. He‘s sifting the potato flour through his fingers: the raw material for the company's products comes from carefully selected agricultural areas,which he regularly travels to perform personal inspections. That‘s the only way he can make sure there are no “surprises“ – just quality from cultivation to packaging. The 16 MP Azerbaijani participants visiting the production sites in Freital can see for themselves at every step the standard to which these final products, mainly quick-prep dry potato products for home use, are held, and be reassured.

Although the company – which has been in business for over 115 years – is well known in the region, up to a third of its sales are now online. They not only have customers all over Germany now, but also deliver to the USA, South Africa and other countries. And all this from a quiet town of Freital, near Dresden.

For the executives from Azerbaijan, for whom Dresden was the last stop in Germany after completing the BMWi Manager Training Program in October and November 2017, family businesses were of particular interest. This was because they are usually eloquent proof of how a concept can outlast various upheavals, transforming, developing and always taking new circumstances into account. There was a lot to look at, but even more, a lot of inspiration to be had.

But to turn inspiration into reality requires tools of the trade. In the course of their one-month stay in Germany, executives are given a wealth of information from the rich experience of German entrepreneurs. Competencies in management and international cooperation are improved with training, workshops and company visits. "Best practice" is the motto. Intercultural competence is the alpha and omega, and both sides always benefit. Thus, the last day of training fell on Azerbaijan‘s National Flag Day, which the leaders were able to celebrate in Germany this year.

"We are already benefiting from our new experiences in Germany: it is much easier now to contact German entrepreneurs, we can effectively convey our proposals, and we can also come to mutual agreements about future cooperation," says Varsar Samadov from Azersun, who was able to arrange food deliveries from Azerbaijan with a German importer.

ARGE Konsortium Neue Bundesländer, Dresden