"Gaining new strength through cooperation" – this was the motto of the first alumni event on 11 and 12 May in Cape Town, South Africa. The theme was not only on paper but was lived by the former Programme participants on both days. The focus was on networking among themselves as well as on cooperation with German institutions.
The almost 80 South African alumni of the Manager Training Programme were full of enthusiasm from the very first minute. The atmosphere was great, and there was not only a joyful reunion, but also lively interest and openness for all participants from the other groups. "I have never seen a conference at 8:30 in the morning where the atmosphere was already so positive," Timo Pleyer from the AHK South Africa expressed enthusiastically.
In a panel discussion, some of the alumni presented their success stories and described how the Manager Training Programme had helped them to establish their cooperation with Germany. “We got recognized globally after the Programme” summarised Dianne Bormann, owner of Brand Analytics, an international consulting firm in the field of management and internationalisation, who was successful in her search for investors in Germany.
Christine Masaiti, Managing Director of Grandstage Trading Pty Ltd, a company specialising in the production of LED lights and off-grid solar solutions, reached a similar conclusion: The training helped her to reposition herself and her company. "After the training, we were able to position ourselves," she sums up. In the run-up to her stay in Germany, she had already received addresses for B2B from the AHK South Africa and had contacted German companies. In Germany, she then met with an engineering company that offers off-grid power generation solutions for rural regions - exactly what she was looking for. During the talks, they agreed on the implementation of a pilot project and the first virtual training for Grandstage's engineers for October this year.
The participants showed great interest in the input from Dirk Berg, Head of the Economic and Energy Section of the German Embassy in South Africa, on the current state of German-South African political and economic cooperation. The offers made by the AHK to South African companies seeking cooperation with German firms in South Africa were more concrete and equally informative. Mr. Timo Pleyer, Business Scout of the AHK, answered the participants’ numerous questions.
Barcamp provides exciting impetuss
Workshops on management topics such as "Sustainable management as an asset", "Digital business development" and "Empowering diverse leaders: strategies for success in an international business environment" rounded off the first day. At the AHK workshop, many executives from mainly manufacturing companies learned about the new Supply Chain Due Diligence Act, which all exporters have to comply with as from this year.
The collaborative "Barcamp" format on the second day – an open discussion forum in which the participants themselves and their topics take centre stage – received special attention. The participants worked intensively in smaller groups on a wide range of topics, which included almost everything from "How social media can impact your business growth" to certifications, "Modern leadership" and the "African Free Trade Agreement". The first steps towards an own alumni structure in South Africa were also discussed and envisaged.
The two days flew by and there was not enough time for all the topics and discussions. The conclusion: An inspiring event that was a lot of fun, and many of the participants are already asking about the next alumni meeting. With this in mind – see you soon!